Monday, December 11, 2017

Les Belles-Soeurs hilarious, impactful

November 20, 2017 by Elias Orrego, contributing writer

Les Belles-Soeurs is Langham Court Theatre’s finale to a year of plays celebrating the greatest Canadian playwrights. I was new to the material of playwright Michel Tremblay, and also to Langham; I was impressed with both.

The play is set in the ’60s, in a kitchen and living area of a Montreal tenement, where an all-woman cast engages in a stamp-pasting party. The set is accurate for the time period and brings with it a lot of nostalgia; the costumes, make-up, and hairstyles are amusing and indicative of the setting. Authentic Quebecois accents and the French-Canadian pride and provocativeness of each character make for an enjoyable experience. Wit, slapstick, and dramatic irony keep the laughs rolling from start to finish.

Les Belles-Soeurs runs until December 2 (photo provided).

Judging by the moans and hisses throughout the evening from many seniors (who made up the majority of the audience members), the depiction of life and family dynamics in the ’60s hit uncomfortably close to home. All in good fun, the play explores timeless female struggles, such as disobedient kids, deadbeat husbands, and identity crises. The chemistry of the actors humorously and impressively depicts the complexity of the female psyche in a male-dominated community.

A few of the actresses are older than the characters they play, but the appearance and acting style of each fits well with the woman she portrays. There are a couple of times when there’s too much going on to focus on everything, but this is likely to emphasize the chaotic aspects of society and of family dynamics.

As each woman expresses her unique opinions and struggles, lighting is effectively used to hone in on the speaker; the actresses themselves create the majority of the entertainment, as sound effect is intentionally minimal.

Although it was written in 1965, the play is entertaining, funny, and relevant for a contemporary audience. I was glad to see quite a few other student-aged people enter the theatre with excitement, laugh and remain engaged during the performance, and walk away with thoughtful smiles afterwards.

Les Belles-Soeurs
Various times, to Saturday, December 2
$17 student tickets, Langham Court Theatre

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