Friday , January 15 2021

Virus and Versa: two clowns in the twists and turns of Zoom

The first is cranky as much as the second is bright. The two men whom everything seems to oppose meet by chance in the maze of cyberspace. Between them is born an improbable friendship through interposed screens, against a background of confinement and virtual meetings.

Welcome to the world of Virus and Versa, the two clownish characters imagined by the Harpagon Theater and its co-founder, the playwright Claude Paiement, for a theatrical series presented online starting Friday.

Viruses and Versa is really the result of the pandemic ”, launches the actor Sylvain Marcel, who plays the angry tandem, while Frédéric Desager takes on the role of tender. “We had to present a play called The last match when containment came. We twiddled our thumbs until we thought it would be a good idea to immerse our two characters in the current context. ”

Claude Paiement has therefore returned to writing to imagine new adventures for his white clown and his red clown. “I plunged them into the No Man’s Land Internet, explains the author, by making them evolve in the situation which is currently imposed on us. “A situation which brings its share of absurdities,” he adds.

“I wanted to make a theatrical object that is both funny and poetic and philosophical with these two universal characters. I also wanted the show to have a circus spirit… ”, says Claude Paiement, who was to share the staging of the original show with Patrick Léonard, from the 7 Fingers.

I really like clown characters à la Beckett or à la Sol et Gobelet: they have a madness, a complete freedom which inspires me in the theater that I do.

Claude Paiement, playwright

For this new digital version, Claude Paiement has written 15 short stories of ten minutes each. He tested three of them this summer, during live streams on Facebook. For the series of shows that gets underway on January 15, each performance is made up of three sketches followed by a discussion with the author and the actors. “The stories can be understood independently of each other, but there is still a dramatic progression. ”

Everything is presented live, with the risks of technical glitches that this entails. “We don’t see the audience, but we know they’re there. We don’t know what’s going to happen every night. For the actors, the nervousness is the same as in the theater, ”says Claude Paiement.

Sylvain Marcel confirms. “I’m nervous like before a theater premiere. I am really excited. However, the way of acting is different from the theater: we had to reduce our acting a little, project less than in a performance hall. We are no longer in a tight cinema shot, and the viewer can detect microemotions in the actors’ faces. He really sees everything! ”

The show Viruses and Versa is presented every Friday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. until April 16. Each episode is presented three Fridays in a row. Price per show: $ 11.50, taxes included.

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