[ON STAGE]The howls, roars of war, love

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[ON STAGE]The howls, roars of war, love

One of the highlights of the series of theatrical works that make up this year's Seoul Performing Festival, which kicks off May 10 at various venues, is the return to Seoul of the Montreal-based theater company Les Deux Mondes.

The theater troupe, established in 1973, has performed in more than 200 cities worldwide, drawing interest in the unorthodox and experimental elements of its works. The troupe is particularly known for a controversial play, "Promised Land," which ran for 11 years up until its final show two years ago at a festival in Jerusalem.

Another representative work by the group, "Tale of Teeka," is about a boy who is a victim of domestic abuse and his friendship with a goose.

Five years ago, Les Deux Mondes ("the two worlds") put on "Tale of Teeka" in Seoul, and got good reviews from the local press.

Now the troupe is back with "Leitmotiv" (the official English title is "Love War Fate"), a musical drama that employs dynamic elements from theater, music, opera and cinema. Set in the midst of an anonymous civil war, the story deals with a man and woman from opposing sides who strive to preserve their love amid the stormy times.

The show, produced by Daniel Meilleur, was first performed in 1997 at a festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It presents a romanticized vision of war and love, yet emphasizes the tragic consequences that each person suffers. Playing the two leading roles will be Martin Rouleau and Caroline Lavigne.

The work relies more on the visual and audial to convey the storm and stress than dialogue. Perhaps the most powerful aspect is the singing of Noella Huet a mezzo-soprano whose voice create the right atmosphere for the play's psychologically probing scenes.

Huet, a nonacting performer, often veers away from verbal singing to make animal howls and roars or sounds from everyday life, heightening the dramatic tension.

The music and sound effects for the work were composed and arranged by Michel Robidoux, the same composer who wrote "Tale of Teeka." Robidoux, a former rock musician, is also liked by critics.

TIcket prices for "Leitmotiv" are 20,000 won ($15), 30,000 won and 40,000 won. For more information, call 02-762-0010.

by Park Soo-mee

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