Photography by Sophie Grenier.
When we face drama in our lives we are all allowed to escape from the real world. Somewhere we will be released from all the frustration. The moon is not the worst place to find yourself on. Once upon a time, Beethoven did, and so does Phillippe from the spellbinding play The Far Side of The Moon. Phillipe is seeking for answers outside of our planet, but in fact, his hope is to find the connection. ‘All we do is turn around in circles!’ – he bitterly says in his final speech to an empty room when he is late to a conference in Russia. We observe Phillippe turning around in circles, making mistakes and almost not wanting to be anyone else but a lonely shy man with his dreams and the moon as his ‘sputnik’. With a beautiful performance from Yves Jacques and a movie like set design, The Far Side of The Moon is a simple drama of one man in many, that you can’t take your eyes off! – By Katherine Brook
“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” ― Albert Einstein
The definition of genius in a Canadian way is taking complex and making it simple and magical. Just think about Cirque du Soleil that impresses with the scale, extraordinary forms, fantasy worlds, professional art-daredevils that are ready to accept any challenge, no matter where it’s coming from – director, audience or themselves. Robert Lepage, a leading figure in the Canadian avant-garde, attracting particular attention for his multimedia-rich theatrical presentations, recently surprised the Auckland audience with a world-famous production called The Far Side of The Moon.
The Far Side of The Moon – a multi-layered piece of theatrical calories-free cake that can be consumed on your own or in a company of a close person. This show tells a story about Phillippe and his younger brother Andre, who were brought together due to the unfortunate and sad turn of events – mother’s death. Philippe is an ordinary guy with his own plans and illusions. He dreams about the impossible stuff – conquering and exploring the Space, landing on the Moon, meeting a Russian astronaut, giving a talk at the symposium in Moscow. Philippe’s daydreaming sense of reality provoked by a desire not to be attached to the existing surrounding world full of unresolved issues, families dynamics, inner conflicts and moments of dull loneliness. But, wait, why do we have to call – dull loneliness? If you look closer at Lepage work, you will realise that loneliness can be very fun too. Canadian director experiments with its shapes and forms, manipulates with unpredictable set transformations, throws metaphors like stars on the night sky. He is also good at comedy and makes the audience laugh at ease. All of these make you think: “Maybe loneliness isn’t that scary after all? Maybe it’s better to be lonely rather than pretend to be someone else..?”
The Far Side of The Moon – It’s the stories about the relativity of things and people in your life, social roles that we play for each other. It’s also about the distance between close people, brothers by blood, who are so far away from each other. This show is filled with loud monologues and philosophical notes. It’s a glimpse from the eternal childhood that lives in everyone’s soul. It’s all about the final piece that makes you shiver and doesn’t look like the end of the piece.
For me, this play is about the fact we never grow up. We take our sorrows, dramas, traumas from shelves in our kids’ room and place them around in our new adult apartment. It’s the story of how our favourite kids’ toys, imaginary friends are replaced by idols, role models, ideas and projects. Those endless tasks or dream worlds that protect and keep us away from a chance to have a friend, close romantic relationships, pursue the real intimacy.
The premiere of The Far Side of The Moon took place in 2000. The year of the millennium as a symbol of new age and something Big, Bold and Brave. Back at that time, we were all waiting for a miracle to happen. For me, this show could be considered to be that strange, kind and simple miracle. 18 years passed by and that “miracle” finally reached the shores of New Zealand, my Far Side of The Earth, the country that changed my life for better. Far, far, far away in spacious New Zealand, you might find yourself being that character who dives in a time of loneliness and personal drama. So if you ever decide to embark on that solo journey, make sure you will welcome the loneliness in style, in a Canadian Lepage magic style. – By Yana Papaya.