June 9, 10 & 11 at 8 p.m.
Duration: 1 h 40
In Russian with English and French surtitles
June 10: Meet the artists after the performance
Regular Price: 38$
25 and under, 65 and over: 31$
A lonely, ageless woman lives in a modest home in Leningrad in the 1930s. With a heart of gold and the soul of a child, she has an innate sense of beauty and an immoderate appetite for life. Sonia sews with care, cooks to perfection, dreams excessively. She has everything going for her, except that she is ugly. Through sheer spitefulness, her entourage convinces her that a certain Nikolai is languishing with love for her, sending her passionate letters for many years. Sonia becomes infatuated with the suitor and discovers, through this lie, the greatest happiness of her life. This poignant tale taken from a short story by the contemporary Russian writer Tatiana Tolstaia is brilliantly recounted by Alvis Hermanis, the inspired director who presented The Sound of Silence at the FTA last year. With the complicity of two male actors who are very moving, shifting from tragedy to burlesque and from hyperrealism to the poetic, combining the pathetic with the comic and savagery with tenderness, Alvis Hermanis recreates an intimate drama tinged with immense compassion for human nature. An unforgettable moment of theatre.
The 42-year-old Alvis Hermanis has been the artistic director of the New Riga Theatre in Latvia for the past ten years. This state institution has a permanent troupe of 25 actors, and focuses mainly on the classic German and Russian repertoire but also stages contemporary works and plays inspired by elements of daily life, such as Long Life, which was a suite of melancholy variations on the lives of the elderly and their particular view of life. The companyâ€™s plays draw from different sources of inspiration, from literature (Ice was based on a novel by Vladimir Sorokin) to pop music (The Sound of Silence, inspired by the Simon and Garfunkle album of the same name). The theatre of Alvis Hermanis provides an inventive form of a synthesis of two contradictory styles â€“ the structured, abstract and well thought-out German tradition, and the playful, quirky, unfettered and reckless (at times with a tinge of madness) Russian tradition. Over the years the New Riga Theatre has established an international reputation, performing to much critical and popular acclaim.
Â« Si bien que Sonia offre le prĂ©sent rare dâ€™un spectacle autonome, qui se suffit Ă lui-mĂŞme : tout sâ€™engendre sans artifice extĂ©rieur ni coup de thĂ©Ă˘tre forcĂ©. Comme si, par emboĂ®tement des histoires, intrication des destins, mĂ©lange des registres, lâ€™existence pĂ©trifiĂ©e de ces deux hommes pouvait soudain reprendre vie sur scĂ¨ne. Avec rigueur, selon un joyeux bricolage de gestes et dâ€™objets, tout sâ€™enchaĂ®ne dans lâ€™invention dâ€™une figure imaginaire, qui semble Ă la fois la clĂ© et la malĂ©diction du spectacle. Â»
Antoine de Baecque (pour le Festival dâ€™Avignon)
Â« Tout y est, dans ce spectacle : lâ€™amour et la mesquinerie, le dĂ©sir et la dĂ©sillusion, exprimĂ©s simplement et minutieusement, avec un humour dĂ©licat, une Ă©motion permanente. Â»
Michel Caspary, 24 Heures
Â« En adaptant Ă la scĂ¨ne cette nouvelle de la romanciĂ¨re Tatiana Tolstaia, Alvis Hermanis entre-tisse finement rĂ©alisme et fantaisie avec un sens de lâ€™humour teintĂ© de tendresse et de mĂ©lancolie. [â€¦] MĂ©lodramatique, mais aussi terriblement drĂ´le et poĂ©tique, ce spectacle doit beaucoup au jeu des deux excellents comĂ©diens Gundars Abolins et Jevgenijs Isajevs. Â»
Produced by Nouveau ThĂ©Ă˘tre de Riga
Written by Tatiana Tolstaia
Directed by Alvis Hermanis
Performers: Gundars Abolins + Jevgenijs Isajevs
Set and Costume Design: Kristine Jurjane
Sound Design: Andris Jarans
Lighting Design: KriĹˇjanis Strazdits
Presented by Festival TransAmĂ©riques
In Collaboration with Maison ThĂ©Ă˘tre
Redaction: Martin Faucher
Traduction: Neil Kroetsch