Foreword: Countries Shaped Like Stars is a piece created and performed by Nicolas Di Gaetano and Emily Pearlman, directed by Patrick Gauthier. From the eccentric and elusive description, detailing the names of the characters and some quirky examples of what to expect from the performance, it looks to be an experimental and exciting piece of theatre.
The show follows the love story of Gwendolyn Magnificent and Bartholomew Spectacular, from their awkward yet endearing encounter, to their weekly Sunday meetings, and other pivotal moments of their relationship.
The performance makes use of light and music throughout which focuses the attention of the plot on certain aspects as it progresses through the ups and downs of the couple’s relationship. The fairy lights over the performance space creates a mystical aura which amplifies the quirkiness and the sprite-like qualities of the characters. The music – chiefly a mandolin played on stage as well as the character’s voices – helps aid the story and brings the couple together through lovely harmonies which adds a feel of connection between the pair.
At the beginning of the performance I was unsure as to whether the show would be my taste, as it seemed very childlike and the humour was hyperbolic to the extent of giving a clowning impression. I was taken aback by this but was then, however, enthralled with the plot of the piece. The story is presented almost as a fairytale, with the characters living on two separate peninsulas, only destined to meet in harmony on the mainland. The music and the lights interact with each other which further adds intensity to the narrative as the couple explore their relationship. Through the use of games in the performance – such as Chinese whispers and charades, the audience is invited to experience the union with the characters. By the end I was transfixed with the overall performance and utterly devoted to the character’s story.
Countries Shaped Like Stars is an incredibly endearing and funny show, running from 19th-21st January 2017 at the Arts Court Theatre in Ottawa.