Director Guillaume Bernardi knows all the right moves for imbuing non-dramatic texts with theatrical life. He scored big with a movement-based version of Alice Munro's story The Progress Of Love and also staged a striking version of Luigi Pirandello's play Six Characters In Search Of An Author, in which the stage directions became part of the actors' lines and the spooky tale enveloped the audience. In Duos (see theatre listings, this page), he sets five French poems by poet Anne Nenarokoff-Van Burek that are in effect a dialogue between the masculine and the feminine.
"The verse is sparse, minimalistic, like much of my own work, and the actions we're playing with are everyday movements stylized and shaped by repetition and amplification," says the director.
And the appeal for non-francophones? "There's a translation of the poems in the program, but the texts use an uncomplicated vocabulary and talk about common things. We're working with simple narrative and striking visuals, so it's easy to understand what's going on."
Bernardi's clean but suggestive work goes to the heart of a production, whether it's based in text or music, like the cantatas he stages next month for the baroque ensemble I Furiosi or the operas he's been acclaimed for in Europe. Opera Atelier and Canadian Opera Company -- why aren't you hiring this man?