Les Chiens de Navarre
The French theatrical troop: Les Chiens de Navarre is currently presenting at L'Usine C, a play so blatantly wild and raw, but at the same time so close to revealing certain aspects of basic human nature.
To my immense pleasure, I recently discovered a new theatrical troop from France: Les Chiens de Navarre, that presented a play so blatantly wild and raw, but at the same time so close to revealing certain aspects of basic human nature.
From the 21st to 27th of November, eight French comedians led by director Jean-Christophe Meurisse presented the piece Quand je pense qu'on va vieillir ensemble ( When I think we will grow old together ) inspired by an original piece written by Stig Dagerman, a Swedish journalist and writer. This unique and talented troop presented their piece as part of a grand North American premiere at L’ Usine C.
I found that the play efficiently covered several aspect of human nature such as: general misery, social disorder and innate sexual desires while revealing the pure truth about our repetitive and cyclical love lives and our inner modern solitudes.
When the doors to the auditorium first opened, guests all heard the blazing cacophony of kettle drums and trumpets set in a repetitive fanfare. As I walked to my seat, I was surprised to see the eight comedians completely covered in fake blood running around frantically on a dirt covered stage. Together they made wild gestures, threw soccer balls at the audience and competitively played lawn bowling. Their actions came in vast contrast to the audience members who were relatively tame while quietly trying to locate their seats while also taking in this chaotic scene. To further add to the confusion some of the actors would yell out: “Take any seat!” I found it rather amusing that some of the attendees actually took it to heart and had to get up more than once to finally find their initial ticketed seat.
The goal of all this chaos was to emphasize that as humans, we try to hang on to every norm and rule of modern society. The actors were more than happy to break normal, polite conventions and they spectacularly illustrated the confusion we feel when someone steps out of line. Collectively they tried to reconciliate whatever strands of humanity we knit together and interrogate the sad child that lies dormant in each of us.
I was extremely impressed by the way the actors used their bodies to improvise, lip-synch, dance, move and even fiercely play lawn bowling all in an attempt to parody and pulverize the conventions of society and our representations of general life. We walk away with a different appreciation of what happiness mean to different people.
As audience members, I found that at moments we felt general unease as the actors used grotesque and uncensored imagery to both stun and shock us. At moments we would also feel sadness, tenderness as well as hilarity as we recognize ourselves in the play of the actors. I can ascertain that never was there a dull moment during this play.
In only 10 years, Les Chiens de Navarre has managed to captivate the imaginations of audiences worldwide. This creative and innovative troop shouldn’t be missed in their North American Premiere at L’Usine C.
The play is presented in French with English subtitles overhead. I really enjoyed the fact that no two shows are ever alike as most of the acting and scenarios are improvised on the spot but the overall brutal energy that comes out of it remains the same.
Les Chiens de Navarre present : Quand je pense qu'on va vieillir ensemble at l’Usine C
From the 21st to 27th of November 2014
For more info please consult: