Ce qu’on attend de moi dares us to imagine alternate lives

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Ce qu’on attend de moi | 2par4 and L'Homme Allumette | Théâtre la Seizième | Performance Works | May 21 – 25, 2019

A play with no actors and no script that has the audience watching from outside the walls of the theatre — it doesn’t get much more innovative than that. In Ce qu’on attend de moi, an audience member becomes the protagonist of an improvised journey to explore an alternate life they could have lead.

In a tent just outside Performance Works, we watched live on screen as our fellow audience member turned hero created a unique narrative with the help of a few crew members. Chosen by process of elimination and an audience vote, Luce, who was the lucky audience member on opening night, already had our support as she went backstage to prepare for her big debut.  

While fitting her up with a microphone, earpiece, and costume pieces, one of the crew members in the tent with us asked her a series of questions to determine the direction of the narrative. After only those first few moments, we felt like we knew Luce and were invested in her story once she entered the stage and looked out over the empty seats.

We learn that she wanted to be a ballerina; about her family; and about her fears, passions, and desires. She tells the story of how she met her husband, and we’re hanging on to her every word. These moments in Ce qu’on attend de moi demonstrate the power and universal appeal of everyday human stories. We love hearing about the triumphs and struggles of people who are much like us.

The quiet, lonely stage was arranged with set pieces in distinct areas such as forest, office, and home. The same crew member directs her with suggestions to help guide the action of the narrative, but she contributes much of the content. The most striking moment when she swings back and forth on an old-fashioned rope swing, telling us, teary eyed, about why she loves each of her family members.

Through taking Luce on this journey through an alternate life, we’re prompted to consider the question, “Is it possible to imagine things other than what we know?” Testing her imagination, her convictions, and her morals, Luce emerged from side door of the stage to reflect on her experience and tell us that is had been transformative.

There were poetic moments, and the theme of imagining other possibilities and then pursuing them left us with a lot to think about. I’m sure some evenings would turn out better than others, but, on opening night, I don’t think it was quite as transformative as it could have been for the audience.  

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