Prostrate and dishevelled, Margaret is surrounded by hundreds of Mason jars containing childhood secrets. She slowly opens them one by one, gradually letting go of the chaos that haunts her. Exhausted by grief, she clings to fragments of memories that evoke a family that has disappeared. She must go back in time, into the panic and terror of memory, and try to recall moments of lost innocence.
This broken woman is played by the actress and director Ann-Marie Kerr. Her mind founders, sorrow sets her adrift, but speech saves her from drowning. Both amusing and heartrending, she invites the audience to a ceremony full of sound and fury, distress and delight.
A powerful soliloquy that takes place in a room full of mementos symbolizing a life under glass that suddenly shatters, The Debacle draws up an inventory of fleeting moments and intense emotions. Very much alive, despite a death foretold.
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The Debacle was created by actress-playwright Susan Leblanc Crawford and actress-director Ann-Marie Kerr, both of whom's innovative work has been seen in many Canadian cities. Their backgrounds include physical theatre work and although they have done classics as well as contemporary plays, their main interest is in creating new works that turn conventional thinking upside down. Ann-Marie directed 2b theatre company's Invisible Atom that has toured to 6 countries and continues to tour worldwide and she recently won the national Gina Wilkinson Prize for Female Director. She is a graduate of the Jacques Lecoq school in Paris and teaches Lecoq technique at the National Theatre School of Canada.
The Halifax theatre company Zuppa Theatre (formerly Zuppa Circus Theatre) was founded in 1998 by Susan Leblanc-Crawford, Alex McLean and Ben Stone. Its collective creations give pride of place to the physical energy of the performers. The dramatic structure consists of excerpts of texts, and the memories and desires of the actors. Five Easy Steps to the End of the World, the company’s first collaboration with Ann-Marie Kerr, received three Robert Merritt Awards in Nova Scotia. Created in 2011, The Debacle has been presented in Halifax and Toronto.
“Continuing the more personal-feeling trend set by last fall's 5 Easy Steps (to the end of the world), a whirlwind pre-apocalyptic song-and-dance epic for which Leblanc-Crawford won the Best Actress Merritt, The Debacle is itself a departure from the ultra-physical Zuppa show.”
Tara Throne, The Coast, November 17, 2011
“With its touches of humour and skirted discussions of tragedy, The Debacle – its title relates, unexpectedly, to a famous painter’s work – is a sensitive piece of theatre, highlighted by Leblanc-Crawford’s moving performance and some surprising visual moments that involve the work of set designer Andrew Cull and lighting designer Jess Lewis.”
Jon Kaplan, Toronto’s NOW, December 8, 2011
“The Debacle is a finely tuned, traumatic, walk on the tightrope of human despair […]…a masterful solo performance. […] Leblanc’s performance is raw, subtle and at the same time mammoth. The packed Plutonium Theatre was stunned to silence, save for the sniffles and the sound of jaws dropping open. I rarely am speechless after a show, but Zuppa shut me up”
Jeremy Webb, The Chronicle Herald
PRODUCED BY Zuppa Theatre Co.
CREATED AND WRITTEN BY Ann-Marie Kerr + Susan Leblanc Crawford
DIRECTED AND PERFORMED BY Ann-Marie Kerr
SET DESIGN Andrew Cull
LIGHTING DESIGN Jess Lewis + Ingrid Risk
WRITTEN BY Diane Jean
TRANSLATED BY Neil Kroetsch
Premiered at Plutonium Playhouse, Halifax, April 12, 2011
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED / FESTIVAL TRANSAMÉRIQUES