Raoul – Savannah Victor
The theatrical performance, Raoul, is designed, directed and performed by James Thiéréé and his company La Compagnie du Hanneton. I will be reviewing the performance given on the 22nd of February 2012 at the Regal Theatre, Subiaco, Perth.
The stage design for this show was very interesting. It consisted of a hut constructed from metal poles, which sat on the right of the stage. There were ragged-looking curtains hung strategically around it and when the show started they flew back to reveal the hut and frame the space. The hut’s walls were rigged to fall on cue, so as to reveal the interior to the audience. The interior was decorated with a carpet, a chair, a barrel, a phonograph and various wall-hangings. The stage was large enough to support the show that revolved around this simple design. Thiéréé incorporated dance into his performance and the open space on the left of the stage was well placed so that he could simply step out of the hut. There were also times when Raoul needed to fly in on a trapeze.
In the beginning, Raoul is attacked by himself. After this, many strange and physically impossible things happen to him,his legs refuse to work, he can communicate with the walls of his hut through dance and he speaks to himself without his consent. Slowly, the set is destroyed until he leaves his hut and flies away.
The technical aspects of this play were so well used and controlled I could not stop thinking about how skilled the technician/s must be. For example when Raoul was thinking or reflecting on something, the lighting would be low and change to a cool colour such as blue, but when he was feeling happy it would become bright and change to a warmer colour like yellow.
There is little verbal communication in this play other than a few shouts of joy, grunts of pain, laughter and the word “Raoul”. He used facial expressions often to convey his emotions, such as a smile when he was happy, or wide eyes when he was afraid. When he performed dances they were also communicative of the character’s emotional state. For example, he would dance almost statically when afraid and energetically when happy. Thiéréé also gave the impression of Raoul being boyish and playful, despite his physical appearance as a man of 38.
This play’s message can be interpreted in many ways. I think it is about breaking out if our “roles” that we play around other people and learning to be ourselves. I am not sure if I totally agree with this idea but it was well represented in the show. This play is also unique in the fact that there is only one character, although there are physically two Raouls.
This show seemed to keep the entire audience captivated because of its unique concept. This captivation could easily be seen as the audience laughed frequently at the comedy and clapped for nearly ten minutes during curtain call. The dramatic tension in this show was generated by the fact that you did not know what would happen next. Altogether this was an extremely interesting and thought-provoking play, that was easy for me to fall in love with. It showcases great examples of acting, drama, the technical aspects of theatre and intrigue. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.