#10TheatreFacts: Alon Nashman on 'Alphonse' at #NAF18

June 19, 2018

Described as 'a runaway theatrical success' by the Globe & Mail and as 'storytelling at its finest' by Edinburgh Spotlight, Alphonse invites you to go on a journey with a remarkable boy as he invents extraordinary adventures on a rather long walk that has his family and friends looking for him. With stories weaved within stories, Alphonse is a charming coming of age tale that bubbles over with theatrical magic and exhilarating language.

 

Alon Nashman shares #10TheatreFacts about this epic solo show that is set to enchant #NAF18 audiences of all ages as it celebrates the power of the imagination!

 

1. How are you involved with Alphonse?

Wajdi Mouawad and I both attended the National Theatre School of Canada. Though he was on the French side and I was on the English, we became friends. I followed his writing from its earliest days and when I read Alphonse I knew I wanted to do it. A workshop to create an English version followed, with the brilliant translator Shelley Tepperman, and the production premiered in 2002.

 

2. Where does the idea for Alphonse come from?

Alphonse grew out of stories Wajdi made up as he walked through the countryside of Quebec. When he reached a village or town he would offer to tell his stories in exchange for room and board. Eventually these stories were shared on the radio, and finally woven into an over-arching story of a man looking back on his early years, considering the fate of his imagination.

 

3. As a production, what genre of theatre best describes it?

I call this genre of theatre 'embodied storytelling'. There are many theatrical delights and surprises, but at the core this is a single person embodying 27 characters, ranging from Alphonse’s family and friends, to a vacuum cleaner, and a cave. I have always been drawn to physical theatre, as those who saw my Kafka and Son and Hirsch at the National Arts Festival will remember.

 

4. How would you briefly describe Alphonse to someone who has no idea what it is about to convince them that this is a festival must see show?

Alphonse is a total journey for audiences of all ages. Funny, bittersweet, wise, and wonderful —it is a tour de force performance overflowing with 27 characters and heaps of popcorn.

5. What do you like most about Alphonse?

I love the kaleidoscope, which is a beautiful metaphor for the ever-shifting stories within stories.

 

6. Who would be the ideal audience member to come see Alphonse?

For everyone who has ever had an imagination. Truly, this play speaks in particular and authentic ways to both adults and children, and they both need to be present.

 

7. What about Alphonse do you think will fascinate or captivate audiences most?

I think that all ages will thrill to the popcorn rainstorm.

 

8. Without giving anything away, what’s your favourite line from Alphonse?

'It's not important to be successful at what you undertake, but rather, to undertake what you'd like to succeed at.'

 

9. What message or experience would you like the audience to take away from seeing Alphonse?

I hope that audience members will be utterly delighted and enlivened, and that they consider their own relationship to their imagination.

 

10. What does theatre as a lifestyle mean to you?

Theatre is the place of meaning and enlightenment for me. I have devoted myself to this profession, because I want to share my stories with those of other people and places. I love being part of an international conversation about theatre and storytelling.

 

Venue: The Hangar

Dates: 2 - 4 July

Duration: 70min

Language: English
Director: Alon Nashman

Written by: Wajdi Mouawad
Featured Artists: Alon Nashman
Bookings: nationalartsfestival.co.za

 

 

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