Written by: Wajdi Mouawad
Translated by: Shelley Tepperman
Performed and directed by: Alon Nashman
Star rating: 4/5
Alon Nashman rallies through this intense and often confusing 27-character act, which examines a pool of mini stories within a bigger story.
The protagonist is a boy named Alphonse, who disappears and his family, the local detective and a multitude of other characters are all introduced to the audience as they speak of their relationship with Alphonse and where they think he could be.
Be warned, though. This one-hour-ten-minute production will leave you on the edge of your seat, as you try to follow each character, which Nashman embodies with excellence. One must fully focus their attention on the nuance and links between each character. A simple blink and you could lose your way through this journey of Alphonse and his imagination.
The solo performance was indeed magical, and Nashman’s skill to perfectly draw in the audience to each character and their quirks was remarkable.
The act is left up to interpretation and does not seem to follow any specific timeline or time period.
Alphonse, it seems, is walking on a road in search of an idea of happiness and contentment, one of the themes that is tackled using his story-telling abilities that his friends, through the characters of Walter and others are told.
“I always believed him,” Walter says, as detective Victor questions him.
But while Alphonse walks on, his family back home seem to continue their daily routine as they wait in agony for his return. His mother, a timid lady, knits. His father, a heavy smoker who is strict with his children continues to bring the cigarette butt to his mouth each time he is introduced. His sister appears to suffer from depression because she is always in bed sleeping and his older brother seems to just exist in the household.
The idea of losing one’s ability to imagine and engage with extraordinary worlds and characters, perhaps, is the central message in this act.
It can leave one exhausted if you don’t grasp the concept, but it can also reignite in you the inner child, the inner Alphonse in each of us, when we all used to create imaginary friends and scenarios for us to get through our young days.
Perhaps, even now as adults, we do the same. We just don’t speak about these characters that live in our minds.