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"Champ de Mars: A Story of War", Monument-National, Nov. 18-Dec. 4

Posted by Amie / November 21, 2010

Champ de marsTo summarize, boy it would suck to be walking around with a drill sergeant in your head all the time. This is supposed to be a satire, but the funny moments are few. The good moments, however, are many, with recent National Theatre School grad William Greenblatt rocking the role of the Afghanistan vet.

Champ de Mars: A Story of War walks a fine line with a very serious subject matter of a soldier back from Afghanistan with an extreme case of Post-Traumatic Shock Disorder. Sounds heavy, but then you add the soldier's shrink who has "compassion fatigue", which leads her to the "war-on-war" pacifist klezmer clarinet teacher. Throw in a middle-of-the-road fast-talking filmmaker and you've got a recipe for satirical disaster, but somehow these actors get the dough to rise and end up with sugary-sweet moments of strong theatre and timbits.
ChampdeMarsI mostly liked the flow of the production. It's a quick play, but you get drawn into the world of the soldier without feeling as though you're being hit over the head with propaganda. The translation of Pierre-Michel Tremblay's work (Champ de Mars) that was performed in January 2010 feels pretty natural, especially with Andrew Shaver's bilingual interpretation of Coop, the guy who rarely puts down his bluetooth. His character needed about 30 more minutes of "spin-off" theatre time to flush out his story since all you get are phone conversations with his significant other and dog, but he does a good job pulling you into his world.

The real joker of the crowd is the klezmer teacher, who finds a nice balance of believability and fluffy foil for the psychiatrist's depression.

Basically I wanted this play to keep going, since it ended so abruptly, but all the pieces fell into place, and you'll come out feeling a lot more informed than if you'd simply read another 5 newspaper articles about Afghanistan.

Highly recommended.

Champ de Mars: A Story of War
Where: Studio Hydro-Quebec, Monument National
1182 St-Laurent (between Ste-Catherine and René-Levésques)
When: Tuesdays to Saturdays, Nov. 18 - Dec. 4, 8:30pm
How much: $22 for adults, $18 for students



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