Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Robert Lepage meets The Blue Dragon

"Set in the effervescent paradox that is modern China, this new instalment focuses on Lamontagne’s encounters with a former student classmate and a young Chinese conceptual artist. As the lives of these individuals collide, unexpected doors open, bringing about fundamental changes for each of them".

Packed with high expectations of Robert Lepage's current sequel to his earlier acclaimed The Dragon's Trilogy, I was not disappointed.
Lepage, playing the lead role of Pierre Lamontagne, opened with a soft narrative to the artistic creation of Chinese calligraphy, and how the symbols used create more than a thousands words for merely one image. This introduction to Lepage's character set the tone to the warmth of dialogue that was about to unfold over the next 120 minutes.
The relationships between the three characters was compelling to watch, and felt more like three friends on stage, which reveals the long lasting collaboration between Lepage and Marie Michaud. Their ease of dialogue and constant switching between dialects made the script drift through naturalistic story lines that hooked and drew you into the verging darkness of the story that was about to be approached.
At times I felt compassion, hope and fear for all three, which is a credit to the director and the movement direction given over to them. Not to mention the beautiful movement pieces by Tai Wei Foo, who played the girlfriend in this triangle love affair. Her effortless movements left you spellbound and captured the innocence of her part in this story.

Flawless and magical were the projections and visual media that linked and illustrated the story, in which the 'technicals' and live performance blurred, that I didn't realise the awkwardness that the use of projections can have on performances. Including the use of the new modernisation through the sense of a mandarin KFC advert, which was a pleasant surprise and quite amusing!
The swift transitions between scenes elevated the progression of the story and didn't labour too much on once scene ending and another slowly beginning.

Unfortunately there were parts which did have a tendency to be weighted and drag, which I felt wasn't needed as much. As an audience member I felt the pain and indecision of these characters without having the need for the action to become too static and laboured.

On saying that I very much enjoyed the conclusion, which replayed the last couple of minutes three times, with alternative endings. This left me with the sense of enjoyment and audience power to decipher their own conclusions, and uplifted the story from becoming too dark.
Lepage's performance work cleverly mixes collaborations and media together to present a solid, clear and creative piece of work. Much enjoyed!

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