Idiot: Second part
of a Stunning Trilogy

Famed Rocker Iggy Pop inspires choreography

By Luc Archambault

Since life brings me back to contemporary dance, I’ve decided to adopt a more systematic approach in my reviews. So, for dance shows, I’ll evaluate the performances based on five criteria: the narrative frame, the choreography, the music and sound environment, the scenography, and finally, the oomph factor (the subjective contribution of your humble servant).

So, concerning the show entitled Idiot, by Helen Simard, we have four dancers, three musicians, a minimalist stage setting, and one subject – Iggy Pop. Unfortunately, having missed the first part of this trilogy titled No fun (2015), I cannot offer any frame of reference to evaluate this opus within the confines of this format. Nonetheless, an entry on the programme mentions that this show is “part dance, part rock concert, and part hallucination”.

Helen Simard is not without previous experience in contemporary dance. She has been working in this field since 2000 as a choreographer, dancer, dance coach and also a theoretical scholar (she is currently completing her PhD at UQAM in the department of Arts Studies and Practice).

Idiot, d’Helen Simard, photo: Claudia Chan Tak -

Narrative frame: the story is fragmented, although highly logical. There is very little break in tone, very few digressions. Everything holds together pretty well – 17/20.

Choreography and dancers: all the dancers are excellent. Especially Sébastien Provencher, who sets himself apart from the others by his Iggy Pop demeanour, his junkie appearance, his scragginess and his whacked out gait. The choreographies are very interesting – 18/20.

Music (sound accompaniment): here, the three musicians play loud rock, and this is fully justified. During the rare moments of silence, the dancers recite texts (among others, the Bowie text of China Girl translated into French). The music is thus noisy, even disturbing for sensitive eardrums (earplugs were provided at the door) – 17/20.

Scenography: an efficient use of the whole stage. Even a scaffold at the rear was used – 17/20.

Idiot, d’Helen Simard, photo: Claudia Chan Tak -

Oomph factor: The use of a flashlight, when the whole theatre was plunged into darkness, as the only source of light, held and projected in circles at arm’s length, at a moment when a translucent smoke filled the air. The resulting effect was absolutely magnificent. On the whole, a very beautiful show, combined with a devilish musical score. For all this and the punkish character of the choreography, a well-deserved 19/20.

Just one minor downside, a small glitch in the preliminary research: Helene Simard, in her special thanks, mentioned Dostoevsky. What is sad is the omission of Andrzej Zulawski, who directed L’amour braque in 1985, also an adaptation of The Idiot with a strong choreographic makeup.

Images: Claudia Chan Tak

Luc Archambault

Luc Archambault
Writer and journalist, globe-trotter at heart, passionate about movies, music, literature and contemporary dance, came back to Montreal to pursue his unrelenting quest for artistic meaning.


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