Sexuality explored on stage
One of the most highly-anticipated performances at the Chekhov International Theater Festival is "Eonnagata" from the Canadian mastermind Robert Lepage.
ґ"Our performance is hard to label, it`s somewhat special. It`s hard to say whether it`s theater or dance. It`s a mélange of both," Lepage was quoted as saying.
Indeed, "Eonnagata" has a mesmerizing effect, or rather quality, behind it -something that brings it close to Stanley Kubrick`s Eyes Wide Shut and Harry Houdini`s breakthrough magic stunts.
The mood of the performance is vibrant and infectious to the point where watching it you might at some point feel totally hypnotized and seduced.
"Eonnagata" is a fusion of classical and modern dance, martial arts as well as Japanese theater Kabuki. What started as child`s play turned into a performance. We wanted it to feature a little bit of everything," said Lepage.
Written and performed by French ballerina Sylvie Guillem, a Canadian-born British dancer/choreographer Russell Maliphant and Maestro Robert Lepage, the performance revolves around the Chevalier d`Éon, a real French diplomat back in the 18th Century who was also a swordsman and spy.
Having gone through a number of ups and downs, he would often dress in female outfits to get what he wanted. It is through turning into a woman that he gained authenticity, beauty and sexuality, bordering with perfection. The title of the performance, "Eonnagata", stands for the Japanese classical theatrical tradition of "onnegata"- men playing female roles.
"This real character, the Chevalier d`Éon, interested us a great deal. One wondered whether he was a man, a woman, or both. He played a very important role in French history, given that he was a secret agent for Louis 15th?" Lepage explained.
"What seduced us in the story of the Chevalier d`Éon was not only his ambiguity but also his hunger for freedom. He was a very freedom-loving person. And each of us also wanted to break free from our own everyday traps. We faced a lot of challenges on our way. This performance has changed me a lot. Not just in terms of my approach to theater, but also physically. I had to lose a lot of weight to be able to work with the artists."
An actor is never so great as when he reminds you of an animal - falling like a cat, lying like a dog, moving like a fox, Francois Truffaut said.