Balls: Je suis un vidéoclip is a one-woman show par-excellence in la marquise of La Nouvelle Scène. Aside from the obvious draw of being the venue with the best view in the festival, this show makes full use of the rather odd space that it has set itself in, and the long developmental process that this piece has undergone shows through in the coherent balancing of sexuality, morality, privacy, exhibitionism, and popular culture.
First, the practical bits. The program description isn’t lying; it is really hot in the space, but this is also a sort of bonding experience, since the audience gets hand-held fans, juice, and a lollipop. The “ladder” is really a lot like that scary staircase down into the basement of your lower-town century home in terms of steepness, though likely more structurally sound.
Now, the good bits. The show begins with an exuberant lip-synched pop video that introduces the piece’s themes in a single beautiful continuous shot. Creator/Performer Marie-Eve Fortier appears from the ladder at the back of the room right on cue, and magnetizes the audience’s attention as she exhumes her own past behaviour and the societal narratives that inform it. Questions about what turns us on, what turns us off, and why we make and maintain the kinds of relationships that we do come bubbling out of an unmistakably genuine performance. This is not that tired old story about how our society makes life oh so very difficult, (clichés of bad childhood springing to mind), but rather a personal exploration of coming to terms with our own mistakes in context.
Spoken in a rapid-fire swirl of French, internet-era slang, and a smattering of English phrases, getting the most out of this show requires a strong grasp of all the means contemporary Canadian youth use to express themselves. Quite honestly, some of the French text flew right past me, but something about the rest of Fortier’s physical presence on the small stage carried the nuanced discussion of her story across the language barrier in those isolated moments. The text itself was poetic, tightly packed with linguistic tricks that at once ensnare you and upset your expectations.
The show’s impeccable technical elements heighten the story-telling, and reflect the constant bombardment we all experience from screens, sounds, and one another. Even the windows that occupy the entire stage left wall of the space play into the thematics and narrative of the piece, simultaneously transforming the audience into voyeurs peering out over the happening on King-Edward Street below, and a spectacle to be gazed upon.
This is a unique theatrical experience, and if you can secure one of the limited seats, you’ll be treated to an inspired, thought-provoking performance.
Created & Performed by Marie-Eve Fortier
Produced by MMVC Productions (Gatineau, QC)
Creative Team: Marie-Eve Fortier, Julie Grethen, Benoit Roy
BYOV G (La Marquise de LNS)
Tuesday, 13 june 9:30pm
Wednesday, 14 june 9:30pm
Thursday, 15 june 9:30pm
Friday, 16 june 10:00pm
Saturday, 17 June 10:00pm