Theatre: A Shapeshifting Chameleon – A message from Mélanie Dumont

Children sometimes mix up theatre and cinema, particularly those attending a stage play for the first time. There is a chance that their little brows will furrow in confusion when they hear this strange announcement: “No, there will be no popcorn during the performance.” But children's eyes will open wide in a flash, almost incredulous, when they see a world come to life onstage, a story unfold, a different universe take shape, and all of it presented by real flesh and blood actors. Snuggled up in the darkness, they discover that theatre is a living art that transpires almost in real time. Aware of the sense of play and invention taking place onstage, most of them accept the premise and are soon caught up in the tale.

And then they come back, and once again discover that theatre is a curious beast. Under the impetus of the artists, theatre is in constant metamorphosis, shedding and changing its skin, or even at times donning several skins at once. It can echo with invented languages, orchestrate dancing hair or invite a piano, a bass or a dancer to take part in the festivities, before suddenly changing in form and appearance. Chameleon theatre? Adapting and changing its colours according to the other arts and languages it encounters? On the edge of their seats, initially timid but then increasingly intrigued, they soon plunge into the onstage adventure, eagerly following the performance as time is momentarily suspended.

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“It was special, Madam.” That’s it in a nutshell, an apt description of the experience, of what is offered by theatre, this living art.


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