Marie Chouinard Com­pany TAPAC, Novem­ber 6


The in­trigu­ing and mes­mer­iz­ing 500-yearold trip­tych by Hierony­mus Bosch is known as “The Gar­den of Earthly De­lights” for the de­pic­tion on its cen­tral panel: an ap­peal­ing par­adise pop­u­lated by imag­i­nary flora and fauna, a per­fect back­ground for dozens of fig­ures, free to ex­plore var­ied, ex­plicit bod­ily de­lights. On its left, we see Adam and Eve, next to a re­li­gious fig­ure; on the right panel we see Hell.

This is the in­fi­nite spir­i­tual cir­cle taught by most re­li­gions. It starts with the Orig­i­nal Sin and ends with the fi­nal Judg­ment Day. In be­tween, life, and its de­light­ful plea­sures, is but a tran­sient state.

It seems that chore­og­ra­pher Marie Chouinard’s past artis­tic paths pre­pared her for this com­plex task. She dives di­rectly to Bosch’s uni­verse; a mix­ture of mislead­ing naiveté, sur­real sym­bol­ism, cul­tural ref­er­ences and hard to de­ci­pher re­li­gious and moral hints.

The paint­ing’s main panel is pro­jected on the back wall, fill­ing the stage with its col­or­ful rich­ness, a won­der­ful back­ground for the monochro­matic ef­fect of the semi-nude dancers. Their bod­ies are cov­ered with off-white makeup which uni­fies them with the fig­ures on can­vas.

Two round screens front stage show close-up de­tails from the paint­ing, mark­ing a point of de­par­ture to a se­ries of ex­quis­ite minia­ture scenes; like a string of pearls on a silk thread. The in­cred­i­ble beauty and clever adap­ta­tion of each two-di­men­sional still im­age into three-di­men­sional, breath­ing the­atri­cal stage were a sheer de­light.

Hell, the sec­ond act, is not the ex­pected “tor­ture and flames” hole de­picted by Bosch’s other works. It can be a wild, may­hem af­fair, walk­ing on the edge un­der the in­flu­ence, com­bined with plea­sure in­fused with pain. The stage is filled with old, used ob­jects – a lad­der, a skele­ton, a yel­low rub­ber boot, horns, empty boxes and use­less junk.

But for the char­ac­ters, it’s a play­ground for mis­fits, the mis­er­able, the bro­ken souls. This high-vol­ume, ag­gres­sive scene shows once more the depth and breadth of Chouinard’s imag­i­na­tive in­ven­tion. She seem to sa­vor the chance to push her ex­cep­tional dancers fur­ther, tai­lor­ing for them a highly im­pres­sive show­case.

(Ni­co­las Ruel)


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