Molly Bloom at Théâtre ESPACE GO
Regarding the French language, my listening comprehension skills are non-existent. I possess the basic ear of most anglophone Ontarians with 5-or-so years of rudimentary French courses. Although I knew I would understand almost nothing of Anne-Marie Cadieux’s performance of Molly Bloom’s monologue I craved it with that basic, eager ear.
Entering the theatre in the dark I saw on stage what looked like one of Vito Acconci’s tubular belles, the curvature of a woman’s hips in smooth wood exploding from the floor that was covered in beach sand. There atop laid mme Cadieux as Molly Bloom, waiting for us to file in and take our seats.
I read Ulysses in full three years ago and still dip in intermittently. I know Joyce, but I could not know Jean Marc Dalpé’s translation. So I sat and listened blindly to Cadieux’s cadence and paired it with what I read of that soliloquiy and what I saw in those pages. I had a body and a voice to attach to memory, and that in itself was enjoyable to a certain extent. Sometimes she would sing beautifully a few lines of English and pull me from my strange daze, then it would be back into Québécois and memories of my dusty green Bodley Head.
The lighting and ambient background audio-video accompaniment was hardly noticeable throughout but well played and timed perfectly. Toward the end of the show the lights began to brighten, slowly and steadily. I heard oui and another oui and the backlighting went full bright and she threw back her arms and her body on that belle for the one word I showed up for, the final and emphatic oui.
Then it was dark, and there was a standing ovation, and I was glad to have seen the show.
Brigitte Haentjens’ Molly Bloom runs until May 31 at Théâtre ESPACE GO in Montréal.