Montparnasse – Players Theatre – Review – DGTF
Theatre Outre, Canada – Drama – 2nd -6th May at Players Theatre @ Trinity College
Dublin Gay Theatre Festival – May 1st to 14th
As you enter the theatre, one of the cast is already on stage. She makes a series of poses as an accordion players sits and lazily plays in the front row of the audience. This is the story of two young Canadians, Margaret and her friend Amelia, and it is set in the roaring twenties. Margaret is the first to arrive in Paris. She struggles in a succession of odd jobs before she falls in with a woman known simply as the Queen! Margaret is introduced to the great and the good of the artistic community and starts to pose for some of the most famous artists of the time. Her friend Amelia arrives shortly after and shares Margaret’s small apartment. She has a different set of aspirations, as she intends to make it as an artist herself. The two friends struggle to achieve their goals in this cosmopolitan city.
The play is produced by a Canadian theatre company called Theatre Outre. It was originally produced by another Canadian theatre company; Groundwater in 2009. The work explores the bohemian lifestyle of the artistic scene in Paris during this period with artists such as Marc Chagall, Henry Miller, Jules Pascin, James Joyce and Sylvia Beach all playing parts. It is a fascinating period as there was so much talent in one city and this play aims to explore it through the eyes of these two young women.
Katherine Zaborsky plays the role of Margaret, and also briefly Sylvia Beach. Margaret is an engaging young woman, fearless and filled with life. She is fascinated by the great artists she meets and uses her sexuality and god given talents to climb the social ladder. Carolyn Ruether plays Amelia, who is the more earnest of the two. She is a talented artist and bright, but less willing to follow Margaret’s career path!
Many scenes are accompanied by simple guitar, played by the third member of the cast, Nicolas Bohle, who also plays many of the male artists and writers required by the script. There is a warning that this play contains nudity, but it is probably closer to the truth to say they are occasionally clothed! It’s not for the faint of heart by any means. This play shows the bright and effervescent life of Paris, but does not shy away from the darker side of the subject. The production is filled with playful touches and bubbles along at a good pace. It’s a very enjoyable flight of fancy.
Created by Erin Shields, Maev Beaty, & Andrea Donaldson
Directed by Jay Whitehead
WARNING: Contains nudity.