Rock’n’Pencils

Alexandra Milman (age 12)

Even though I am not the biggest fan of music, I couldn’t help but dance in my seat when the performers hit a good beat.

Le Projet Pupitre, directed by Michel Lefebvre, is about two boys, Yann and Guillome (played by Yann Godbout and Guillaume Lévesque), who have just come back from recess and start to write dictes (in French it means a sort of spelling test) when they notice that their pencils start to make unusual noises.

This play turned out quite different from what I had initially expected. I thought that the noises that came from the pencils would be more natural and realistic sounding, but as the play progressed I was definitely wrong. The pencils began to sound like violins and electric guitars, drums, dubstep etc.

This play is well organized and every movement of the performers is sharp and on time. The actors do a good job creating different atmospheres. When they are playing orchestra music the actors sit up tall and straight and when playing rock and roll they dance completely crazy and let loose. The actors show their feelings effectively through both their gestures and facial expressions.

An area for improvement would be when the teacher discovers that the pencils can make noises and asks Yann to create some more music with his stapler. I think this was a weak area because I was not convinced that the teacher actually liked the music that Yann was creating with his stapler. She should have sounded more encouraging and as if she actually wanted him to continue making the music. Not to mention the stapler itself – I am unsure if they had a malfunction as the sound was very quiet and I could hear the physical stapler over the sound effects.

Furthermore, the stapler seemed out of place because the pencils were real and you could see the pencil marks on the paper so it felt more convincing when the pencils made those amplified sounds, but the stapler left no staples in the paper and I felt this broke the continuity of the universe created by Yann and Guillaume.      `

I also felt that this moment seemed inconsistent with the rest of the piece because the music happens in their imagination – so when they let the music enter reality it was a little confusing and unnecessary.

Moreover, I found that this play was very repetitive as all the tunes were quite similar. The jokes were very funny at the start but after they kept repeating them it became a little boring to watch. I think they should have discovered the pencil noises a little later in the show, as opposed to at the very beginning, so that the audience gets a better feel of their personalities and to break up the repetition of the sounds It would have also helped if the sounds had progressed more gradually into some sort of climax rather than being the same level of loudness throughout.

Despite these few criticisms I overall really enjoyed this performance. So If you are a lover of music, sound manipulation, and repetition then this is the show for you!