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Review on Playing Cards

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 505
  • Category: Play War

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The 150 minutes – “Playing card 1: Spades” show is the first piece in the series of four directed by the visual wizard – Robert Lepage. It is truly daring that the performance lasts for more than two hours without an interval as it leaves variety of experiences among the audiences. Perhaps some of them could feel exhausted or even boring, but in my opinion, the show needs to be continuous to link all the concepts and stories along with magnificent visual effects to help us not to get lost into Lepage’s magic’s. The performance, set in the luxurious city Las Vegas during the Iraq war in 2003, emphasizes a completely opposite image with the stunning flashlight of the city as it usually expressed. It is the dark, evil side that witnesses the harsh war and the sumptuous living at the same time. It is also somehow demonstrates different between the reality and the illusion of living high in the modern American society. The first part of “Playing Cards series” is Spades- according to Lepage- stands for war. However, it might not only represent the actual war between the USA and Iraq, but also the war within the US society (as it shown in the hotel’s kitchen), inside the US Army (sexual abuse and conflicts) as well as the war between good and evil deep down in our hearts.

It shows how human souls are vulnerable and weak as we are easy to be dominated by our greed and sinful lust. Almost every vices and crimes is shown on stage as it brings an obsessed impression about sexual abuse (shown right in the second minute of the show), gambling addiction (as the symbol of L.A. city), alcoholism, prostitution and the inhuman meaning in the Iraq war. However, there are still two sides in one issue, as the show has two symbolic characters which are not only drag people to the verge, but also guiding them to the find the way back to their home and start all over again. It is no doubt to say that Lepage is a visual wizard on stage and a master in setting the stage choreography.

Hotel rooms, airports, swimming pools, army barracks, bars, casinos, etc. are all lively formed in front of the audiences. Despite the shape of Roundhouse theatre, people in every corner are able to witness intimately all the scenes as well as any movement of the actors. There are nearly thirty characters played by only six casts across the show. There is no wonder of their brilliant acting and the incredible transformations takes place in just the blink of eye. The first card suit in Spades – represent the “Swords” is a thrilling performance with perfect combination of visual and audio effects as well as the profound, complicated meaning it brings to the public. Despite the puzzling sense in linking the whole play together, it is still worth to looking forward to see Lepage’s future works and his three shows coming up.

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