THE DRAGONFLY OF CHICOUTIMI by Larry Tremblay, directed by Kevin Orr, with Dennis O'Connor. Presented by Odonata, Solar Stage and Factory at the Factory Studio (125 Bathurst). Runs to January 27, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $18-$25, Sunday pwyc. 416-504-9971. Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
gaston talbot, the sole figure inLarry Tremblay's superb The Dragonfly Of Chicoutimi, has a language problem. After not speaking for decades, the francophone Gaston finds English words rolling around in his mouth as awkwardly as burrs he can't wait to expel. The tale he tells with them is uncomfortable, bloody and unsettling.Moving from past to present, from dream to reality, from love to hate -- in fact, the play is constructed on a series of contrasts, among them English and French -- Gaston tells us of a childhood episode with a friend and a disturbing homoerotic dream involving white popsicles, a chocolate cake and a monstrous dragonfly.
In the hands of actor Dennis O'Connor and director Kevin Orr, Gaston's revelations, which we understand more than Gaston does, are engrossing theatre, a horror tale on a number of levels.
An apologetic, nervous, shambling figure at the play's start, O'Connor changes into a mesmerizing, self-lacerating storyteller raised to such a pitch by his narrative that at times he has to turn away from viewers to collect himself. Orr arranges the mood shifts so delicately that a falling chair has the force of a gunshot.
Tremblay's poetic, layered writing mixes English words with French syntax, giving an off-centre feel to the text. The production beautifully captures and builds on this not-quite-real quality, and the result is a rich, haunting experience.