A few days before the beginning of the First Act of the play <em>displayed</em>, the actor Patrick Emmanuel Abellard and the stage director Angelique Patterson were in their element in this room of the cinema Cartier.
February 22, 2020 4: 00
To the poster : In the shadow of the guys views
With his adaptation of the play The Flick to the American Annie Baker, Angelique Patterson brings the cinema on the boards of the First Act. Far from the hollywood personalities that we expect to see shine on the big screen, the show shines the spotlight on the employees-paid a small room, between two strokes of the broom, and a bunch of references to movies-cult, live in something that looks like a (little or great…) existential crisis.
They call Avery, Sam and Rose. They are the ones that we would cross without much notice when we go to the cinema. They ripped our ticket, operate the projector and go behind us to pick up the remnants of popcorn. They speak, sometimes seemingly to say nothing. But inside, they seethe. The writer Annie Baker has chosen for the subjects in his piece, The Flick, winner of a Pulitzer prize in 2014. The Quebec Angelique Patterson was completely fascinated by the result, it was adapted under the title On the poster.
“There is something so true in the writing of Annie Baker. She is a tail-coat on the quest for the authenticity of these young people and about the discomfort that they can live together”, summarizes the one who signs the translation and the staging of the show, already the subject of adaptations in several countries.
“These three employees spend their days to be witnesses of the great stories on the screen, she adds. Immediately after, the lights come on and they collect waste which has been left in the room. They wonder, undoubtedly, they should be like these people they see on the screen. Is this is how they should interact? This hue also their relationships between them. It happens that they wonder if the others are genuine or if they play a role. There is always that question : is what I am pretty?”
Don’t go looking for epic narrative in the displays. Concretely, there are activities mundane, while two of the characters spend a large part of the room to sweep the aisles of the hall, recreated on stage for an audience that is installed where the screen would be in a real movie. The protagonists reveal themselves little by little into their discussions, sometimes awkward, who are all a bit at a crossroads. In this establishment, almost dilapidated, the whole is symbolized by a new buyer looking to modernise equipment and replace the good old reels of 35 mm by a digital projector.
Nurturing a passion for cinema that borders on obsession, the character of Avery, performed here by the Montreal-Patrick Emmanuel Abellard, will live the difficulty of this change perspective. Newly hired, socially awkwardly, and visibly neurotic, the young man will serve as the focal point of a plot rooted in the non-dits, where each character will have to make its choice.
“The interpersonal relationships, it has never been his cup of tea. He has an intelligence outside the norm, it has a capacity of retention of information extreme. Especially the things for which he has a profound interest. That brings us to ask the question : is he is a little autistic or Asperger? It explores the profiles of neurological atypical, which is quite topical these days,” describes Patrick Emmanuel Abellard about his character of Avery.
“It is as if society was telling him : “It is necessary that you advance more quickly. You would like it to stay in the past and in this kind of tradition in the cinema, but now it is made elsewhere,” adds Angelique Patterson. Each character decides if he will embark in the train of the digital transition, but also in the hectic pace of our society. Or if, like Avery, they are going to stay more authentic to themselves in a pace that suits their needs. It is a constant battle.”
To the poster highlights, in particular, in opposition to the instantaneity of the digital, and the maneuvers almost ritual that come with the manipulation of a projector and film reels. For the stage director, the image is a carrier, in an age where culture is consumed, often individually, each on our screens.
“It is a question of gathering together, she notes. There is something that makes you feel the soul of a place. The Flick, it is really an ode to the theatre. Increasingly, people listen to Netflix and they will text at the same time instead of talking. There has to be a medium of technology that changes the relationship. While there, it’s just the pleasure of being together to tell a story. We saw him less and less.”
The piece shown is presented in the First Act of 25 February to 14 march.
ENJOY THE LENGTHS
At its inception in 2013, The Flick had met some criticism about its length and certain lengths that invite. For the actor Patrick Emmanuel Abellard, they are part of the experience in a concern for authenticity. “I think this is what Annie Baker has wanted to do live to the people : “I want people to wonder what is going to happen. I want them to be confronted with their need of always accelerating and all the time to push the drama.” The life, this is not it. Life, it’s slow, it’s ordinary. It is to be sitting at a red light and does not do absolutely nothing. But you live, there is something going on in your head!” Geneviève Bouchard