Choreographer Élodie Lombardo’s À travers la pared was created and first performed in a former prison in Mexico. For its Montreal run, the dance show is taking place at Théâtre Espace Go. Light is used to create make-shift cells for the six performers, but the jail is even more present in their mind. It might be for this reason that what comes across is not so much a prison as an asylum. The dancers appear to be shut in mentally rather than physically. As a result, the emotion has trouble making its way to the audience, even when we are onstage ourselves at the beginning of the show, just a few inches away from the performers. The proximity is more visual than it is corporeal.
The dancers’ eyes are often covered, blindness further conveying their isolation. It is more compelling to watch them blindly looking for one another than to watch them execute choreography.
With the idleness of confinement also comes play. Performers stand at the back wall before moving through the space to the sound of one of theirs counting. A man attempts to solve a Rubik’s Cube. They run after one another like children in what must feel, if only for a fleeting moment, like freedom.
Much like prison, the experience seems more intense for those on the inside than for those of us on the outside. The only moment – too short – that builds up to any kind of intensity as an audience member is when Eduardo Rocha caresses Cristóbal Barreto Heredia’s body while repeatedly asking “T’aimes jouer?”
Many of the actions described here can also be seen on the video, which jumps through time and space, like a memory or a dream. The digital duplication makes it seem as though the artists didn’t trust the power of the live performance. As if to confirm this, the show ends with the video rather than with our prisoners.
Théâtre Espace Go
Tickets: 35$ / Students or 30 years old and less: 27$