St Carmen of the Main

Visually stunning production is not enough to overcome a weak play. If I were not already a fan of Michel Tremblay, this play would not encourage me to become one.
The story is sparse – Carmen comes back from the States and wants to sing new songs about the lives of her firends – the hookers and junkies who inhabit the Main. The boss and boyfriend says no – she has to sing the old stuff. When she refuses, she is killed.
If the play is an allegory about Quebec and the cultural domination by the Anglos, it is merely very dated. And if the denizens of the Main represent Quebecers, they should feel insulted.
The use of the chorus allows the director (Peter Hinton) to pretend that this is a Greek trageedy, but I think it isn only fair to say that Tremblay was influened by Greek tragedy – he certainly did not write one here. Hinton has had great success directing real Greek tragedies, so this is a surprising lapse.
In spite of my complaints, there were strong performances by Diane D’Aquila as Harelip, Jean Leclerc as Maurice, Robert Persichini as Sandra and Karen Robinson as Rose Beef. JOey Tremblay as Toothpick was an odd menacing figure throughout the play, but came into his own for his big speech explaining the “story ” of Carmen’s death.
Laara Sadiq was the weakest of the principal characters, but she was not helped by her costume and wig, both of which were extremely distracting.

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About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
This entry was posted in Diane D'Aquila, Karen Robinson, Michel Tremblay, Peter Hinton. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to St Carmen of the Main

  1. Keith says:

    The play is preachy and Sadiq had the preachiest speeches, which is probably what bothered Cathy. I did not have a problem with her performance. Her costume was not what I expect for a C&W singer, but what do I know about that scene in '70s Quebec?The cast was strong; I don't think there is a performance to complain about.If the play is not an allegory, there's not much left as the characters don't get developed much. If it is, I agree it is rather insulting to Quebecers to be personified as the denizens of The Main.I thought the production was visually interesting – but I would not go as far as stunning. (That would be Imaginary Number or the Maebridge piece.)I think the play is one very much of its time and place and this makes me nervous about seeing Hosanna again this summer; it's such a great memory and I don't wan't to spoil it.

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