Saint Carmen of The Main-Canadian Stage Company
I went to see Saint Carmen of The Main
with some trepidation;it got bad reviews and has no intermission to allow for escape. I'm glad I did go.
The play, written by Michel Tremblay,
translated by Linda Gaboriau
, is set in 1970's Montreal, in the run-down, sleazy area known as The Main. Carmen, the saint of the title, has just returned from Nashville, where she has been perfecting her country and western singing style; her "yodel" as it were. The hookers, drunks and drug addicts, welcome her with open arms and more than a little awe; she got out. She's a success. But something happened on the way to Nashville; Carmen has found her voice, and wants to use it to sing about the people she knows, to wake them from their misery.
Allusions to Greek tragedy abound; there's a chorus made up of the hookers, drunks and drug addicts that alternate between characters delivering what is more often then not, a monologue. And what characters they are! Hairlip (Diane D'Aquila
), Carmen's lesbian dresser, Gloria (Jackie Richardson)
Carmen's one-time mentor, now an enemy, Rose Beef (Karen Robinson
), Maurice (Jean Leclerc)
manager, boyfriend, bastard;there are nineteen actors in the cast. It can't be a coincidence that Carmen looks more like Lady Gaga than Dolly Parton; the damaged, misfits of The Main are her "little monsters" and she is going to give them voice, hope. She tells them they're beautiful. What they feel is beautiful. But, this is a tragedy, and maybe the only "saints" we can appreciate (or endure) are dead ones.
Very slick, stylized costumes and set; the chorus does sometimes gets too "chorusy" but, man, this didn't deserve the drubbing it got in the papers. I loved it.
Ends March 5
one act, no intermission
Post Script: On my way to the theatre, I was caught up in a crowd; Some were going to the hockey game at the Air Canada Centre, some were going to see "Swan Lake" at the Sony Centre, and some were going to see the play. Across the street from the theatre there was a crew on a movie shoot. A Toronto Moment; so many different things to see and do!