Le Projet Pupitre: Noise or Music?

Aliza Itskovich (age 14)

Walking in to the studio at the National Arts Centre I was excited to see a show based on movement and sound, but my opinion quickly changed once I saw the actual performance.

Le Projet Pupitre, directed by Michel Lefebvre, is about two boys, Yannn et Guillame, played by Yann Godbout and Guillaume Levesque. The characters, Yann and Guillaume, return from recess and begin to write a dictee. They quickly get distracted and start making music with their school supplies.

The staging of Le Projet Pupitre, is very simple, starting with a hardwood floor. On top of the hardwood floor are two wooden desks and chairs facing each other. This is where Yann and Guillame, sit and perform the entire show.

Reading the description of the show I was initially intrigued by the fact that the actors were going to make music with everyday items. I found that my assumption was a little off. The actors didn’t just use normal pencils, they started manipulating and transforming the sounds of the pencils into sounds of other instruments. It began to sound too fake and recorded for my taste. I enjoyed it much better when they used raw pencil noises.

The music started becoming a mesh of random sounds that didn’t match the actors’ movements, which made me really confused. At one point I even felt tired. My eyelids started feeling heavy and all I wanted to do was sleep. I was woken up by flashing lights and loud, upbeat rock music pounding on my ears. The volume level was very irritating and this made it difficult to enjoy the performance. After about halfway through the performance I started getting bored. I felt that the performance was just droning on and on, I stopped paying attention to the performers. The actors’ created different atmospheres and genres in their music but their were just too much.

There was a lot of mystery in the performance, specifically in regards to how the performers created the music. However, the magic was ruined when the actors explained to the audience how all the sounds were created and manipulated. It was like a magician revealing his secrets. It takes all the mystery and magic away from the show and makes the audience quickly disinterested in the performance.

Throughout the performance the enjoyment factor had faded away and I found myself glancing at my watch instead of paying attention to the performance.