Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille brings its award winning play, ELLE, to the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver until February 18th. ELLE tells a tale of the real-life Marguerite de la Rocque de Roberval, a 16th century French noblewoman who spent a number of years marooned on an island in the New World. Having set sail with her uncle the governor of New France, on one of Jacques Cartier’s expeditions, de la Rocque de Roberval’s libido got the notice of the pious General. As punishment for taking a lover, but more likely as a way to embezzle her inheritance, the Uncle abandons his niece, her lover and maid on a desolate island in the Gulf of St Lawrence.
Over the centuries and through varying interpretations Marguerite’s herstory has taken on almost mythic proportions. Elle is adapted from Douglas Glover’s book of the same name, by the star Severn Thompson who portrays the heroine as a headstrong, resourceful women who doesn’t let circumstances get in the way. The one woman show (along with one man Jonathan Fisher who provides the soundtrack and makes a short but pivotal appearance in the story) is set in both Marguerite’s present and past as the ‘present-day’ character recounts her story for the audience albeit with some possible flask induced embellishments creating an entertaining and dramatic piece of work. Simple staging, bold dialogue and creatively choreographed movement, along with Fisher’s subtle music allow the audience to create the vivid picture of Marguerite’s life.
ELLE plays at the Firehall Arts Centre until February 18, 2017