Plastic: a material holding the secret of eternal life

Plastic: a material holding the secret of eternal life

Masked play is what the Plastic theater piece offers.

Imagine a world where oil no longer exists. From our perspective, this utopia is enviable, but can we really do without plastic? It seems not, if we rely on the quest of the characters in Plastique, the new science-fiction play presented at Salle Fred-Barry at Théâtre Denise-Pelletier. 

Located in 2122, Plasticdepicts a world where this material is highly coveted for its “imperishable” virtues. Wishing at all costs to obtain it, an elderly woman – nicknamed La Gercée – and his two employees go in search of a continent of plastic lost in the middle of the ocean where lives a woman dumped there by mistake and holding the secret of “plastic surgery”, a bygone science that would allow La Gercée to fight against his greatest fears: old age and death. 

With this piece, author and director Félix Emmanuel – who co-signs the texts with Zoé Girard – wishes to propose an inverted world where plastic, which is currently a disposable material and without any value, becomes a mythical resource holding the secret of eternal life. 

Masked game

Inspired by commedia dell’arte, the actors of Plastique are all masked. 

< p>“It's associated with an old-fashioned art, a bit outdated, recognizes Félix Emmanuel in an interview with Métro. But it's theatrical and there really is a richness to be found in the masked game. I love commedia dell’arte, but we are going to look for a more current angle on the approach to the genre”.  

Masked acting is the specialty that the Theater du Portage – who produced the play – famous since its founding in 2015. Having developed contemporary archetypes, the actors of this troupe embody the same character from one project to another.

In addition to Madeleine (Agathe Foucault), the solitary wanderer, and La Gercée (Zoé Girard), the woman refusing to age, Plastiquefeatures Gilles (Zoé Lajeunesse-Guy), a prankish old mononcle, as well as Le Cracheux (Yann Aspirot), a narcissistic being who wishes to become rich. 

Our creative material at Le Portage, given that the characters are recurrent, it is necessarily their quest and their greatest fear. 

Félix Emmanuel, director

The masks – which no, are not plastic, but rather leather – were molded on the faces of the comedians. 

If a good part of the emotion expressed thus passes through body play, the eyes and the mouth – visible despite the mask – also make it possible to perceive facial expressions. A particular effort has also been made on the lighting in order to clearly see the eyes of the performers. 

“There is the notion of a living mask and a dead mask, evokes Félix Emmanuel. A mask is said to be dead if it is frozen in an expression. The richness of a well-made mask is that it is able to have a personality, but also to evoke sadness, joy, anger, to be able to mold itself to the emotion of the character .” 

Plastic: a material holding the secret of eternal life

Photo: Courtesy, Vanessa Fortin

Cartoon humor

If Plasticis a play particularly focused on humor, it goes a lot through the burlesque side of the characters, which may appeal to some, but less to others. Cartoons were one of the inspirations for writing this show. 

“For this show, we were inspired by cartoons. for adults, such as Rick and Morty and The Simpsons, supports the director. We looked to popular culture for inspiration.” 

This does not prevent the play from offering some equally touching scenes, especially with regard to the characters of Madeleine and Gilles, who are less caricatural than the other two. 

Plastique is presented at the Salle Fred-Barry of the Théâtre Denise-Pelletier until December 10th. Performances are also offered to school groups, a target audience that risks being challenged by the issues addressed, but also by the particularly dynamic and explosive rhythm of the play.

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