It’s not every day that a piece of art changes the way you look at the world. Lately, with the plethora of mindless entertainment (see most superhero movies or the Fast and the Furious franchise), it’s hard for important pieces of artistic creativity to penetrate the mind and affect the way you look at humanity’s complications. Luckily, fringe festivals are still going strong allowing these stories to have a voice.
Les Murs Ont Des Yeux (Walls Have Eyes) is a fantastic little show (running 40 minutes). It digs deep into a problem society is seemingly afraid to talk about, something that this production highlights with a very original concept. Les Murs Ont Des Yeux bucks the norm and is unabashedly truthful, highlighting the societal and personal issues surrounding domestic abuse.
While literal to a sense, the analogy of the walls having eyes gives this production a twist on the characters. Each character is presented in the form of a room in a house: Dining Room (played by Barbara-Audrey Bergeron), Kitchen (Alex Nonot), Bathroom (Geneviève Fontaine), Living Room (Benoît Trudel), and Attic (Michèle Tredger). This shines a spotlight on the inability for us to properly deal with this terrible ordeal. Each one lives in their own world (or room) and never bothers to see the house as a whole – to see the situation for what it truly is.
Playwright, A.M. Matte, is quite the genius in this regard. The concept of the walls having eyes and being their own characters is a common thought, but being able to properly execute is a masterclass in writing. And to accent the difficulty of unpleasantness the metaphors run rampant throughout Les Murs Ont Des Yeux.
Not only do you get the society’s unwillingness to understand the issue, you get the viewpoint of the victim. Seen through the eyes of the rooms, each one has a different take on the current tribulation of the victim. It could be the change in how each one reacts to the evidence that is starting to compound. Or it could be the information they are willing to ignorantly pass by because they are only concerned about the good times.
There are more metaphors that I could elaborate on in much more detail, but the climax of the story is where I think the focus needs to be. It’s at this point the emotional chord is broken, suddenly stopping and all you are able to hear is the silence of the moment. It is here that the audience fully starts to comprehend the gravity of their actions. The shift in perspective when they realize the truth and that they were compliant in with allowing Him to abuse Her.
I could elaborate on the actors, the direction, the costumes, set design, the whole damn production, but I think that this play deserves more than that. I would love to see an English production of this at some point because I did miss some of the finer, minute details with the subtitles running in the background, but the impact of what Les Murs Ont Des Yeux has to say is profound. Nevertheless, the times I did miss what specific words were, the scenario and the actors did the communicating and it didn’t matter that I was an Anglophone.
Les Murs Ont Des Yeux, highlights the problems, talks about a terrible situation, makes a point for it to be known that it is okay to speak up, enabling this to be an important piece of art. So, if the Walls Have Eyes, then they made me open mine.