“The party at Sophie:” the misfortunes of Sophie

«La fête à Sophie»: les malheurs de Sophie

Photo: Daniel Marleau
Simone Latour Bellevance sang the role of Sophie.

Despite its title, the festive, the new creation of Serge Mandeville (Also, 2008) tackles serious subjects : suicide, psychological distress, a quest for identity, the legacy of suffering of the past, conflict of mother and daughter. Inspired, among other elements, by means of exchanges with teenagers as well as mothers attending the community organization Crossroads Parenfants, The party at Sophie search with a concern of truth the difficult family relationships in an environment marked by the drama, and where money is scarce.

Sophie is a gifted who is about to enter the university, while it has not yet blown his fifteen candles. A birthday that his family does not celebrate over the past eight years. At least not on the same day, the fateful date that Cassandra, the elder sister, was hanging. But this year, the mother (Marie-Eve Bertrand, the frenzy is palpable) began to organize a feast to his junior. Where does this sudden boost of energy in a woman usually so catatonic ? This single mother of four, including triplets ! (Frédérick Tremblay interpreter with conviction of the two brothers), has cracked a day. But Sophie is going to make a discovery on this parent absent : a space secret and valuable that it will be allowed to survive.

The story begins with the point of view of the protagonist, who speaks directly to the spectators, expressing the desire to ” be able to trust them “. This narration is one of the strengths of the piece. The writing of Serge Mandeville highlights the sensitive eye, lucid, and to the staff of a teenager, brilliant but troubled, that his singularity isolates. And narration, flexible, allows the flashbacks and the scenes are not realistic, such as the interactions with the dead (Veronica Merchant), the tone rather sardonic. The young Simone Latour Bellavance, freshly graduated from the Conservatoire, plays Sophie with aplomb.

When the room moves away from this vision, it seems to become more cumbersome, unfortunately. A heavy psychological drama. The narrative converges on a scene of revelation terribly explanatory, where Sophie will lance the abscess and give themselves the gift of the truth. A final confrontation that seems a bit long despite the emotional charge, and which repeats some of the things that we, the viewers, already knew.

The director put on very simple means to embody his piece in the tiny room of Prospero. And in general, it works. I think of this illustration, very eloquently, of the multiple neural connections in the brain hyperactive, Sophie, over-stimulation, which takes the form of a network of threads stretched. We would have gladly taken more, such scenes evocative.

The party at Sophie

Written and directed by : Serge Mandeville. With Simone Latour Bellavance, Marie-Ève Bertrand, Vicky Bertrand and Frédérick Tremblay. A production of the Absolute Theatre. In the intimate venue of the theatre Prospero, until 9 February.

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