Emilie Faucheux straddles the worlds of drama and performance art in a captivating performance of Lauren Gaudé’s Médée Kali. The audience enters the intimate space with Faucheux on stage, her hands bloodied and a band of red covering the top half of her face. Her hair is pulled back and she is wearing blood stained pointe shoes. She sits, straddling a chair center stage which she'll never leave. With such an imposing image, stakes are very high for her to make such aesthetic extremes merited. With her hour-long transfiguration they are ultimately rendered necessary.
Taken at its most broad reading Médée Kali is the story of Medea told from the first person with the added twist that she is also the personification of the mythic Kali from Hindu mythology. It is actually not too much of a stretch. I had the chance to read Médée Kali and I recall reading it with a haiku style poetic distance. Gaudé’s penchant for writing in ellipses is partly the cause. Faucheux has driven to an alternate extreme and has no such issue finding the underlying emotional intentions and smoldering passions of the work. She performs with specificity and clarity without freezing her movements into simple mechanics. She has a dancer’s musicality as her head turns from side to side and her neck strains with desire, hatred, and horror.
Also on stage is Jean Wache on cello. His constant sensitive musical invention underlines the theatricality and the mythic specter of the story. Faucheux’s somber lighting design casts a resounding shadow on the upstage wall. Clearly, this woman is more than meets the eye. Faucheux plays intelligently with icons, which undergird rather than overwhelm the staged drama. Her craft is scintillating and her presence captivating. You see how Jason could become infatuated. You see how her rage could be so devastating.