jeudi 8 juillet 2010

Madeleine remains

The Side Project Theatre de Chicago présente depuis le 2 juillet et jusqu'au 17 une courte pièce de Michael Martin intitulée Madeleine remains : in Memory, A Wife of Genius. Ce monologue inspiré par Madeleine Gide a été écrit tout spécialement par Michael Martin pour l'actrice Ariel Brenner. La présentation de cette pièce sur Facebook, les photographies de cette fragile incarnation et la critique de la Chicago Stage Review donnent très envie d'en savoir davantage sur cette création...

Ariel Brenner incarne Madeleine Gide
dans un monologue de Michael Martin
(photo Jordan Scrivner)

« Sometimes, combining two completely unrelated flavors creates a magical delicacy. Such is the case with Clove Productions’ remarkable presentation of Fruit Tree Backpack and Madeleine Remains: In Memory, A Wife of Genius. Both extraordinary new works completely transport you to suspended realities that are fascinating, provocative, entertaining, and yet are totally and contrastingly different.

In Madeleine Remains: In Memory, A Wife of Genius, playwright Michael Martin creates a detailed and delicate portrait of Madeleine. She is the unassuming wife of Nobel Prize-winning writer André Gide. Charming, soft-spoken, articulate and subtly devious, Madeleine shares her post-mortem (as both she and André are long gone by the time we meet her) revelations on life with the accomplished writer.

Martin imagines a life lost in the shadows of the fame that surrounded it. Madeleine was sweetly loved and simultaneously scorned by André. She was his platonic muse, floating above his homosexual indulgences. She is bothered but not bitter, loving but not naive. Madeleine does not wish to shame Gide’s reputation, usurp his place in history, or even stake out her own spot, but rather share the emotional interactions and isolations of the unconventional partnership.
Shannon Evans beautifully directs this enchanting monologue with great depth. She shines a restrained light on the emotion, as one would curate a fragile masterpiece in a museum.
Ariel Brenner takes on this dauntingly complex character with impressive nuance and splendidly soft strength. So many moments could go painfully wrong in the hands of a lesser actor, but Brenner not only makes these moments compelling, she also makes them magical. She is a single woman, in a simple parlor, telling a sweetly somber story with staggering effect. She brilliantly weaves as rare and resplendent a tale as Martin elegantly writes.
Madeleine tells us that, “Of all of the geniuses running about this poor good world, writers must be the worst… the urge to write is unnatural… Even acting is less perverse.”
If this be true, viva Martin’s profound and poignant perversions. »

Venus Zarris pour la Chicago Stage Review

Ajout du 9 juillet : une autre critique dans le Chicago Tribune.

"Madeleine Remains: In Memory, a Wife of Genius" ✭✭1/2

The early 20th century French writer Andre Gide spent his adult years traveling through North Africa and Russia and palling around with a group that included Oscar Wilde. His wife and muse, however, lived a far more colorless existence, and their marriage was more of a "spiritual union" owing to Gide's homosexuality.

What this prim woman may have thought of her husband's exploits is the subject of Michael Martin's one-woman show. "I inspired many of those works that I declined to read," she says of her husband's writing as she sits in a fusty wing-backed chair, absently smoothing the fabric. (Shannon Evans is the director.)

Homely and ill-at-ease, Madeleine (Ariel Brenner) describes herself as a woman who "put away any desire to be interesting" — in part, you surmise, because she neither had the instinct for it nor the invitation from her husband to be otherwise. Naturally, she is highly theatrical in her dullness, which makes her dissatisfied mien all the more intriguing.

What does it mean to be the spouse of a larger-than-life artiste?

A little more context about this relatively obscure writer (obscure despite a 1947 Nobel Prize for literature) would go a long way, but the play works an eccentric bit of magic as a character study of someone you might easily catch a glimpse of on the street in the course of your daily routine."

Nina Metz pour le Chicago Tribune

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