SUITE N˚2 (Encyclopédie de la Parole / Joris Lacoste): 2015 Fringe review 55

encyclopedie-parole-suite-no2-reviewAcross cultures, around the world, in many different languages: people are talking. SUITE N˚2 presents the diversity of contemporary communication in a peculiarly affecting piece that’s part chorale work, part theater, and part compelling curated art. Five performers recreate recorded real-world conversations, mirroring the original speakers’ cadence and accents and communicating the original emotional and tone.

There’s the introduction for a George Foreman prize fight at Trump Plaza (“let’s get ready to rumble!”), a gay man confronting his unaccepting family, a Colombian customer service call, and a German self-help seminar. Some are read by individual speakers, other feature choral-type arrangements. The pieces are not without editorial commentary: a reenactment of George W. Bush’s announcement of war in Iraq disintegrates into cacophony spoken in rounds; others are elegantly juxtaposed: a long, dry speech by a Portuguese finance minister (“return to the bond markets”) is overlaid with a cell phone declaration of love (“I swear to Allah I love you”). Some need no dressing: the mundane air traffic control conversation with the pilot of doomed Swiss Air 111 is quietly haunting. By transporting these conversations to the realm of performance, SUITE N˚2 forces us reexamine to the way we communicate with and listen to those around us. [Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street] September 15-16, 2015; fringearts.com/suite-no2.

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.