“The Iliad” — By the echo of their voice accomplices

Photo: Gunther Gamper
The series of stories shaping “The Iliad” is narrated by a chorus, which is sharing the lines and characters with a complicity and a sense of ease that enchant.

Sung and recited, for centuries, the adventure of mythical Iliad resumes something of its original form the great plateau of the théâtre Denise-Pelletier. The director and “rapiéceur” stories, Marc Beaupré tells of the homeric narrative in betting with confidence on the power of voice and words. The piece summons the power of the imagination, and its few flaws are easy to forget.


The series of stories shaping The Iliad is told by a chorus that is sharing the lines and characters with a complicity and a sense of ease that enchant. The distribution of strong, still dominated by Jean-François Nadeau, and Emmanuel Schwartz, highlights both the tragedies Achilles, Hector and Priam, as those of Andromache, Cassandra, Menelaus, Patroclus, Agamemnon, and Paris.


The episodes follow one another with remarkable clarity thanks to the deadly accuracy of the staging of Beaupré. Investing the plasticity of the words, he makes them sing and chant according to the rhythms throbbing. It also doubles as time to time the words using the sign language, the central point of a gesture in turn illustrative and non-realistic, which supports all of the words of the show. It is thus that The Iliad conjures up to make them visible places, helmets, fighting, and even war.


In addition to the rigor of the interpretation of the designs impressive feed on the spectacular aspect of the room. The vast scene letting you see the walls have been stripped of the theater is lined with floating elements, having many meanings, referring, perhaps to the gods who were evacuated to the story. The lights of Stephen Butcher’s cut beautifully and the scenography designed by François Blouin, fit, reflect, respond.


Working the sound, Stéfan Boucher and Olivier Landry-Gagnon also participate to shape the voice, to sculpt the spaces. A part of the music that they sign sometimes seems a little stuck between a hip-hop awkward, and a tone of recitative not always assumed. However, generally inspired, their compositions offer moments of dense intensity that confer strength to the scenes that are more sensitive.


The Iliad tells of war, but this are in the scenes of introspection of the human guerroient, in the disputes and their resolutions, that anger, pride, fear, and despair unfold with magnitude and gravity as to give access to the potential meaning of the show. And perhaps it is because of this thread meaning tenuous, or even by the nature of the story and themes, the representation spectacular does not cause the upheaval sensory and emotional likely to accompany the grandiose painstakingly built by Beaupré and his team.

The Iliad

Text of Homer. Freely adapted and directed by Marc Beaupré, inspired the book Homer, the Iliad by Alessandro Baricco (2004). Until 6 December at the Théâtre Denise-Pelletier, in co-production with Earth men.

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