Montreal is full of interesting art galleries and performance spaces, but they’re not always easy to find simply by strolling through the streets. However, if you keep your eyes peeled, you just might stumble upon La Chapelle, an alternative venue in the Plateau that focuses on experimental performances in a variety of disciplines and languages.
Read the full story to find out how to catch a provocative puppet show inspired by Dennis Cooper’s infamous story of a serial killer.
You either have to eyes like a hawk or go around collecting every single flyer you can find around town (hint: there are plenty of free brochures and flyers at LAÏKA, on St. Laurent, and if you’re lucky, you might catch an amazing show only a few steps away). That’s how I discovered LA CHAPELLE, an alternative venue in the Plateau on St. Dominique, tucked between Prince Arthur and avenue des Pins. It features experimental performances in a variety of disciplines and languages and showcases up-and-coming local talent as well as internationally acclaimed artists from around the world.
This year, they’ve got 18 shows lined up for 2009-2010, and the program includes dance, multimedia, video, cabaret and even “puppets for adults.” As part of the Chaosmos series – a term James Joyce used to describe the balance between disorder and order, chaos and cosmos – there are five multidisciplinary experiences. Peter James is back with PSYKOTYK HAPPENING PROJECT – a post-apocalyptic vision of modern civilization from a company that has previously staged shows under the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and in a public washroom at Place des Arts. Montreal-based actor and writer Gaétan Nadeau will present Personal Jesus in December, while d’bi.young, a Jamaican-Canadian performer from Toronto will be shaking up theatre conventions with her new show, benu, a thrilling contemporary tale about a 30-year old woman contemplating life and death in a hospital.
For some insight into France’s contemporary art scene, La Chapelle is featuring performances from young French theatre and dance companies, including Jean Boillot’s No Way, Veronica! – a dark, funny play about Hollywood’s narrative stereotypes. In December, you can catch Angela Laurier’s Déversoir, an intimate dance performance about self-discovery and identity. Finally, the people from De l’autre côté du miroir (DACM) will present a disturbing version of Dennis Cooper’s short story Jerk, using puppets to retell the story of a serial killer who murdered over twenty young boys in the 70s before finally getting caught.
In the meantime, you absolutely must see Angel, from Amsterdam’s Dudapaiva Company (November 3-7 at 8pm). This North American premiere features Duda Paiva in a dance show about a homeless man meeting a stone angel in a cemetery. Check out LA CHAPELLE’S WEBSITE for full details and the complete schedule for the 2009-2010 season.
Keep in mind that La Chapelle doesn’t put on shows to please the masses; they’re made to challenge you. They’re often shocking, provocative and sometimes even a bit disturbing, but you won’t be bored and you definitely won’t forget them. I think that’s ultimately what theatre really is about; a memorable experience that gives you pause to think and possibly even your perspective on current issues.