The Logic of the Worst
and 1, 2, Maybe 3
Reviews of two recent live theatre performances at the Centaur
By Faith Langston
March 16, 2022
The Logic of the Worst
Written by Étienne Lepage in collaboration with Frédérick Gravel
Played at the Centaur on March 3, 4 and 5
What is the worst thing you have ever experienced? The worst thing you have ever done? Does the face you show to the world reveal your true feelings? Is politeness a beautiful thing or simply a thin veneer, which lies on top of rage? Are you aware that latent cruelty hides in the shadows waiting to pounce into your life?
Actors Jon Lachlan Stewart, Yannick Chapdelaine, Marie Bernier, Marilyn Perreault and Philippe Boutin… effortlessly switch from the original French version of the play, Logique du Pire, to a premiere of the English text. A feat nothing short of extraordinary!
Logic of the Worst starts on original footing. We arrive (masked and socially distanced, of course) find our seats in the theatre to find five actors already lounging onstage. Are we going to be allowed to eavesdrop on a casual get-together? The play is built on small stories and the actors who use their own names tell of their experiences of ‘the worst,’ ranging from mundane social uneasiness to gruelling hyper-sexuality, wild fantasies to poignant questions about friendship and loyalty. Why is it so difficult to be a good person? Is it so surprising that rage can barge unexpectedly into our lives and lead us to a wild rampage in a hotel room? If the worst is going to happen, perhaps it is better to simply wait for it.
Lepage’s work was inspired by Logique du pire by Clément Rosset. He sees his creative work as a “really free and really personal reaction to this Nietzschean vision of the world that we are all dancers, people who need to find absurd answers to an absurd world.”
While the performers do not dance on stage, they interact with objects and music. Frédérick Gravel‘s choreography, Romain Fabre’s costumes, lighting by Alexandre Pilon-Guay, and music by both Frédérick Gravel and Robert M. Lepage work together to make this play a highly original addition to the growing number of excellent Quebec plays.
Actors Jon Lachlan Stewart, Yannick Chapdelaine, Marie Bernier, Marilyn Perreault and Philippe Boutin not only use their own names but effortlessly switch from the original French version of the play, Logique du Pire, to a premiere of the English text. A feat nothing short of extraordinary!
I, 2, Maybe 3
Presented in partnership with LA SERRE – arts vivants, the Wildside Festival and the Centaur Theatre
Played at the Centaur March 9, 11 and 12
On Saturday night March 12 at the Centaur, spirits were high. Lockdown had almost come to an end and judging from appearances, a new dance production, 1, 2, Maybe 3, was going to be the start of a perfect evening. However, I had to wonder if the people in the crowd knew more than I did. The stated goals of the production – to consider, to weigh up, assess the ordinary, the humdrum – hadn’t sounded very exciting.
‘It seemed to me that Jean Bui and Sydney McManus had created a no-frills performance… Then the performance came to life! Agile bodies seem to speak to each other, colourful sweatshirts miraculously intertwine and untangle, unite and divide.’
It seemed to me that Jean Bui and Sydney McManus had created a no-frills performance. No text, no tights or tutus, not even any music. Even parts of the set, created by Pénélope et Chloë (no family names given), still had to be completed by the stagehands. But no. The dancers Sydney McManus and Keanu Uchida are doing the job.
Then the performance came to life! Agile bodies seem to speak to each other, colourful sweatshirts miraculously intertwine and untangle, unite and divide. A beautiful sheet seems to appear out of nowhere. With it are endless possibilities. A regal costume, even a swimming pool! Roxanne Bédard’s lavish use of lighting rounds out this window into the beauty of the world.
Feature image: The Logic of the Worst, Denis Farley
Read also: other articles by Faith Langston
Faith Langston is a Concordia graduate with a long-standing interest in theatre. For the last ten years, she has worked as a literacy tutor with the Jamaican Association.