Ten years after Love Letter to Tarantino, Paula de Vasconcelos offers up a parody of the filmaker’s work in her new play Kiss Bill.
For this latest blend of dance and theatre from Pigeons International, de Vasconcelos is joined by actors Alexandre Goyette and Sylvie Moreau. Goyette plays a successful filmmaker who excels in stylistic representations of violence. But it is Moreau who steals the show as a fast-talking, seemingly soulless producer.
One of the best scenes is when the two actors physically depict a series of possible deaths for 200 ninjas. They get more and more creative, reaching comic heights as the scene progresses and their actions fall into utter silliness, a child’s game played by grownups.
Kiss Bill constantly risks borrowing just a bit too much from the film it is parodying, Tarantino’s Kill Bill, including the use of many songs from its soundtrack. However, this is wittily recuperated when the producer character tells the director that what he does is simply appropriating what other previous filmmakers have done. Ouch. De Vasconcelos, 1; Tarantino, 0.
But Kiss Bill has its own set of problems, the most obvious being its choreography. De Vasconcelos’s strength has always been to create plays with broad popular appeal that still managed to retain a high level of quality. Her choreography in Kiss Bill was often similar to that of pop songs with a recurrence of chorus sections, Here we go from well-crafted pop songs to generic boy band material.
The choreography is so simplistic that it often threatens to fall over into interpretive dance. Overall, they fail to become anything more than a series of memorized steps.
In the end, Kiss Bill offers a resolution that is too neat and na’ve to be convincing. The pseudo-deep transformation that the “bad” characters undergo is so sudden that it rings false, becoming as artificial and shallow as the films that are being criticized.
De Vasconcelos, 1; Tarantino, 1.
We will have to wait until de Vasconcelos’s next tackling of Tarantino to see who will win the fight.
Kiss Bill continues until Dec. 15 at Usine C. For more information, call 514.521.4493.
PREVIEW: From Dec. 6 to 8, Natasha Bakht presents a series of solo performances at Centre Pierre-Péladeau. They include works by Shobana Jeyasingh, Montreal’s great choreographer Roger Sinha, and Bakht herself. Tickets range from $20 to $39 and can be purchased by calling 514.987.6919.