It’s Festwochen time again! [For my reviews of last year’s plays, click here.]
Lipsynch is the newest play directed by Robert Lepage (whose Andersen Project I saw last year), written and acted by Frédérike Bédard, Carlos Belda, Rebecca Blankenship, Lise Castonguay, John Cobb, Nuria Garcia, Marie Gignac (writing only), Sarah Kemp, Robert Lepage (writing only), Rick Miller and Hans Piesbergen.
Lipsynch is divided in 9 chapters, each focussing on one person, though all the chapters are connected with each other and revolving around the themes of familiy, language, voices and communication and the impact communication (or the lack of) has.
Chapter one tells the story of Ada (Rebecca Blankenship) an opera singer who witnesses the death of a young woman on a plane. The young woman had a baby with her – Jeremy (Rick Miller) – which Ada ultimately adopts. Later she mets Thomas (Hans Piesbergen) and falls in love with him.
Chapter two is about Thomas, a neurosurgeon who, despite being with Ada, falls in love with a singer he treats for a brain tumor, Marie (Frédérike Bédard).
Chapter three is Marie’s story, her recovery after the surgery and how it affects her relationship with her (dead) father and her (mentally ill) sister, Michelle (Lise Castonguay).
Chapter four is Jeremy’s story, who has grown up to be a film maker and who shoots a movie, with which he tries to come to terms with his birth mother’s story.
Chapter five focusses on Sarah (Sarah Kemp), an ex-prostitute who now works as a cleaning woman for an older woman (who in turn is a mother figure for Ada). When Sarah stumbles upon radio reporter Tony Briggs (Rick Miller), she thinks that she recognises him from her past.
Chapter six is about Sebastián (Carlos Belda), a sound technician who has worked with Marie and Tony Briggs. Sebastián is called home to bury his father.
Chapter seven is about Jackson (John Cobb), a police officer in the middle of a divorce, who has to investigate Tony Briggs’ death.
Chapter eight is Michelle’s story after she gets released from the psychiatric hospital and has to rebuild her life.
And finally, chapter nine is about Lupe (Nuria Garcia), Jeremy’s birth mother and the story of how she got sold from Nicaragua into sex slavery in Germany.
Lipsynch is called a “Dramatic Marathon” and that’s definitely true for everybody directly involved – it’s 9 hours long (including breaks) and all the actors have multiple roles and are almost constantly on stage. But for the audience, it is one hell of a treat. The time passes quickly, the stories are completely engaging and the cast is really good. If you got 9 hours to spare, you should see it.