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"Beast On The Moon" in Quebec City: Second Review
March 9, 2018
Critics agree that the Quebec City production of Richard's famed play is a smash hit! Richard is delighted to share a second review of the production of Beast on the Moon in Quebec City, this time from Normand Provencher of Le Soleil. Read on to read his review roughly translated into English, and click here to read it in its entirety in the native French:
The Butchery has killed 1.2 to 1.5 million people, leaving behind a deluge of orphans. Among them, Aram and Seta, the two fictional protagonists of La Bordée's disturbing play, Beast on the Moon, written in 1995 by American playwright Richard Kalinoski, himself of Armenian origin.
A survivor of the genocide, Aram Tomasian arrives in Milwaukee in 1921 to forget the past, if it is possible, and to find a family to replace the one he lost. However, the one he chose on photo to become his wife, Seta, is not the one he was waiting for. Never mind, the couple will have to deal with it.
The atmosphere, already heavy in the house, will fade more with time, according to irreconcilable differences. Aram will accuse his wife of being sterile and of not being able to give him the children he desperately wants, as if the fault could not come back to him.
Encompassed in silence and indifference, always quick to draw an excerpt from the Bible to dominate his spouse, Aram will turn into a ball of pain extinguished. Until the arrival in the life of the couple, about ten years later, a young beggar (Rosalie Daoust), called to become the key element for a saving grace.
Translated into 19 languages and presented for the first time in Quebec, Beast on the Moon approaches with great sensitivity and appropriateness the universal themes of mourning and resilience, through the fate of two exiles unable to join otherwise than by pain.
Mustapha Aramis, a rigid and obstinate husband, and Ariane Bellavance-Fafard, an understanding and fragile wife who will find the strength to assert herself and shout loudly her dismay, are a moving pair, especially in the last third of the performance, while the unspoken give way to the cruel game of truth.
To a husband clinging to the pain of losing his family - represented symbolically by an omnipresent family photograph with absent heads - Seta will have the courage to open her eyes. "Who wins the palm of the most horrible death?" She asks. "Who makes the best cult to death? [...] Your pain is so great that you make me wear it."
The staging of Amélie Bergeron changes the couple in a kitchen, adjoined with translucent walls leading to other rooms. In the foreground, a tripod camera plays a vital role in the story.
The transition between paintings and eras is ensured by an anonymous character (Jack Robitaille), this narrator being, we will learn, the young vagabond who has become old. His explanations fit in effectively with the delicate music of the doudouk, a typically Armenian instrument.
At a time when global conflicts are constantly giving birth to bruised beings like Aram and Seta, who are desperate to escape their past, Beast on the Moon is a powerful invitation to welcome them in their grief and hope a better life, beyond differences.
Beast on the Moon is playing at La Bordée until March 24th.