THE VINDICATION OF
SENYORA CLITO MESTRES
Monserrat Roig’s hour long monologue, beautifully performed by acclaimed actor/director Dragana Varagic, is a subtle and powerful testament to the ways in which one woman’s life can assimilate all of the ups and downs of material existence and seamlessly - and deceptively - channel them into the text of a classic tragedy that becomes, in the hands of a skilled actress, a contemporary analogy to the shadows of past lives presently lived.
Varagic’s great skill for understated nuance that smoulders with the effortless quality of her very natural speech patterns and controlled movements were enhanced in the recent Theatre Passe Muraille production by a meta-text that was created through the use of her projected film image - an image that took over the playing space from time to time, creating a dual role for a single actress.
As Clito Mestre and Clytemnestra Varagic instills a poetic elegance into every word that appear, on the surface, to be the day to day ramblings of a woman preparing to go onstage. Frequent forays into less ordinary occurrences rise softly from the script, and in Varagic’s hands become a moody, slowed down roller coaster of diverse emotion.
Moments of blatant reference to the play of life and art appear as they slowly begin to ruthlessly commingle -
A Woman of the theatre is no ordinary woman. She is every woman, all the women in the world.
Flirtatious, potentially erotic episodes provide engaging, titillating moments of theatrical playfulness -
We made love lots of times. … Every Saturday we went to that hotel and he would ask me to recite poems, or else to put on the costume of a famous character and play the part. One day I would disguise myself as a whore, another time as a nun, or perhaps Mary Queen of Scots.
And ultimately, the culmination and coming together of Clito the woman and Clytemnestra the iconic role from Greek tragedy -
We spent three hours in bed and it was then that he said in a whisper, “This time I want you to be you…” …I was me, and I couldn’t bring a single poem to my memory. It was just me screaming, only Clito screaming, Clito screaming ( in a whisper) Clito screaming.
Roig’s script and Varagic’s interpretation created an engaging collaborative effort that resulted in a powerfully measured production that provided for a provocative interrogation of one woman’s life as it makes a series of blurred entrances into - and exits outside of - the theatre.
THE VINDICATION OF SENYORA CLITO MESTRES RAN AT THEATRE PASSE MURAILLE’S BACKSPACE UNTIL MARCH 25TH
WITH AN ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE ON MARCH 31ST