Canada’s Theatre de la Pire Espece probes the American dream

Last year's UBU on the Table, planning inter-state manoeuvres

IT IS the nature of theatre to be  a political forum, be that comedy of manners, a treatment of Éire or Punch & Judy. Combine that adult intelligence with ‘object theatre’ to elevate the medium with inventive moves and arrive at Theatre de la Pire Espece’s mission.

This prestigious Canadian company returns to Belltable after 12 months on Thursday February 1, 8pm with ‘Short Forms’, a trilogy of works told with stuff. This is preceded by masterclass for the Belltable:Connect programme for theatre makers, its shows gaining international traction.

The venue’s Gill Fenton  anticipates “minimalist staging revealing three great journeys in 30 minutes each. These are ‘Dolls, Size and Hierarchy’, ‘The Continuing Story of Jimmy Jones and his Heavenly Truck’ and ‘Anathema’.”

On the German leg of a tour, co-director Francis Monty speaks of stories based on an America that is mythological.

Their chosen tools for ‘Dolls’ are Russian puppets, and for ‘Anathema’, derived from a Raymond Carver poem, “we use a 3D puzzle that is for children. We tell that short poem only working with pieces of the puzzle for imagery.

“For the last piece (Jimmy Jones) we use different objects, mainly cars”.

To elaborate on the Short Forms: for ‘Dolls’, a child questions the hierarchical order of its large family and its own rank in it. How does size influence each role?

‘The Continuing Story’ is set in a mythical America. Jimmy Jones reveals the stories and disappointments of his father in the middle of cornfields and legends.

‘Anathema’ is based on Raymond Carver’s poem, proposing a metaphor about the ravages of alcohol and the illusion of the American dream.