The Blue Dragon
Playhouse, Arts Centre
Canadian Robert Lepage is a leading exponent of multimedia and cinema inflected theatre. The Blue Dragon is his latest offering and it teases out a slender thread from the close of his 1985 production, The Dragons’ Trilogy.
As Pierre Lamontagne departs the trilogy, he leaves behind the xenophobia of his homeland to study art in communist China. We meet him here twenty years later in contemporary China, where ancient art, values and philosophy are losing their grip as east and west merge, as communism fails, as borders of belief dissolve. We learn he is in the midst of a deep ennui.
Symbolically, the blue dragon rules Chinese astrology and in Chinese myth it is often a metaphor for spring. And it is the blue dragon Lamontagne has tattooed on his flesh that forms the central motif of the play, a provident and mystical force at the outset of middle age as he tries to rekindle love. The tattoo is a reminder of the pain one endures in the search for beauty. It is a talisman too. It consoles him, it becomes his moral compass.
Performers Henri Chasse, Marie Michaud and Tai Wei Foo weave together a mesmerizing cinematic assemblage, part calligraphy, part choreography, part drama that reveals an artfully conceived take on an old theme, romantic love without the caprice of youth. It is a simple story line beautifully evoked as a series of dissolves, vignettes and cross fades. The question posed, how will this modern family adapt, as ancient values pass from deadly winter towards spring?
2010 Melbourne International Arts Festival
The Blue Dragon
Venue: the Arts Centre, Playhouse
Dates/Times: Fri 8 – Sat 9 Oct & Mon 11 – Tue 12 Oct at 8pm, Sat 9 Oct at 2pm, Sun 10 Oct at 6pm
Duration: 1hr 45 min no interval
Tickets: $75 - $25
Bookings: the Arts Centre 1300 182 183 | www.theartscentre.com.au | Ticketmaster 1300 723 038 | www.melbournefestival.com.au