Theatre de Français de Toronto’s one-woman show weighs in on the lives of women in La Liste
La Liste (The List) by Jennifer Tremblay is a one woman performance about a woman who possibly played a hand in a friend’s untimely death by failing to keep a promise. This production is presented by Theatre Français de Toronto and stars Sylvie Drapeau. The play is in French with English surtitles.
Ms. Drapeau plays a frustrated housewife who strives to pluck order from chaos by organizing the minutia of daily life in meticulous lists. The futility of her efforts is made apparent when a crucial task on her list goes uncompleted with disastrous consequences.
The set for this production is quite stark and highly effective, consisting of a kitchen table and three pantry cupboards. The cupboards are filled with various items throughout the piece, representing the daily grind of childcare, the quest for order and finally the emptiness of failure and loss. The use of lighting, sound and props was also very well crafted.
Ms. Drapeau is a tour de force in the production. She maintained my empathy for her character throughout the entire piece and elucidated the internal conflicts of the protagonist masterfully. She made highly effective use of opportunities for comic relief in a fairly heavy script.
I also greatly appreciated Ms. Tremblay’s writing style and the ethos of this piece. I don’t know if Ms. Tremblay considers herself a feminist but this work certainly addresses numerous issues of relevance to the lives of women while continuously maintaining the humanity of the piece. The script is thoughtful without becoming overly analytical.
I would highly recommend this piece if you are in the mood for weightier fare. While I certainly wouldn’t describe it as a tear-jerker, it was certainly thought provoking and moving.
– La Liste played at Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street) until March 4, 2012
Photo of Sylvie Drapeau by Suzane O’Neill