Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Madwoman of Chaillot a great performance

November 10, 2017 by Leslie Do, contributing writer

The Madwoman of Chaillot takes place in a Parisian cafe; the story starts with a group of businessmen who have discovered oil in that area and want to exploit it. Countess Aurelia, an eccentric aristocrat, gathers a group of local artists and dreamers to stand against the men.

In the beginning, I thought the play was slightly difficult to understand; however, the more I watched, the more interesting it became. The play was smooth and colourful; I like the perspective the stage is set from, the outfits, and the humour the play brings to the audience, and the action was perfect.

Nicholas Guerreiro (left) shines in The Madwoman of Chaillot (photo by David Lowes).

The Madwoman of Chaillot registers on a deeply human level. However, it was a bit slow-moving, and, at least on this night, I found the light to be too bright, which made it hard to focus on the play.

The actors fulfilled their roles perfectly and were particularly skilled at performing well-exaggerated facial expressions. I was especially impressed by the outstanding performance by Nicholas Guerreiro in his role as the company president—his voice, his attitude, and his acting were absolutely incredible.

There weren’t any recorded sounds; everything the audience hears was made by cast members. The supporting cast didn’t have much dialogue, but they were the soul—and the sounds—of the play. The way they worked together, played with their toys, and moved on the stage made for plenty of enjoyable and interesting moments.

It would be useful for acting students to see The Madwoman of Chaillot to see some different acting methods, such as the Michael Chekhov acting technique.

Director Conrad Alexandrowicz brings a great performance to the audience with this play; even if it is a bit slow at times, The Madwoman of Chaillot is definitely worth two hours of your attention.

The Madwoman of Chaillot
Various times, until Saturday, November 25
$15 student tickets, UVic Phoenix Theatre

A previous version of this story identified playwright Jean Giraudoux as the director. We apologize for the mistake.

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