Home Arts X, Y and Z gets into the ABCs of love

X, Y and Z gets into the ABCs of love

by The Concordian September 13, 2011
When an eccentric writer obsessed with Woody Allen and a sexy scientist researching male and female chromosomes come together in Jonathan Marquis’s play X, Y and Zed, who knows what chemical explosions might occur?
This original, lively play is a French-language mixture of Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and a typical Allen movie.
The story begins when two lost souls literally collide on the romantic streets of Paris. Things start off innocently as they share their views of the film Casablanca. Within moments, the conversation becomes an over-the-top discussion on the frequency of how much sex they could have if they were romantically involved.
Real-life couple Jonathan Marquis and Julie-Anne Cloutier play the characters Steve “Zed” Zedrick and Alexandra Albright.
Zed, a struggling writer, is fascinated by movies and is on a constant hunt for new words to use for his writings. He is also a klutz who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Ironically, Zed accidentally hurts a rat out of fright. It’s easy to identify with Zed, whom Marquis calls “an innocent.”
“Anyone can be attracted to his childishness and how easily fascinated he is with the world around him,” said Marquis, who based Zed’s character on Woody Allen.
Zed has an admirable character trait: acceptance. Despite his insecurity and his desperate need to be taken care of, Zed accepts who is he as an individual and uses his personality at times to his advantage.
Alex is a dominant lady who is just as insecure as Zed, but hides it well. A very physical person, she is attracted to tough guys. According to Cloutier, Alex loves Zed because he’s sweet and brilliant.
“She can have real conversations with him and be completely herself. They are polar opposites, yet very similar and that’s how they are drawn together and complete each other,” she explained.
“Zed is a sweet guy who won’t screw over Alex like other men in her past, but he is still a man driven by sex,” explained Marquis.
“Alex can be intimidating by her strong personality and beauty. She maintains control by teasing Zed sexually,” added Cloutier.
The play dives into the psychology of their relationship and illuminates how the genders differ, animating that age old debate of how men are from Mars and women from Venus.
As the scene shifts between Paris and Montreal, lighting is an important element to indicate different locations and time periods. A sharp, purple light often illuminates a well-furnished apartment decorated with paintings, artistic objects and a miniature temple of movies.
The play opens to the instrumental of the timeless song “It Had To Be You,” similar to the overtures of a Woody Allen romantic comedy. This song reoccurs throughout the show, maintaining the lighthearted touch of a romantic comedy.
Marquis wrote this play based on past relationships. “After several relationships and breakups, I wondered why men and woman are so different and why they react the way they do. It had to be somewhere, so I figured it must be in the chromosomes,” he laughed.

X, Y & Zed is playing at the Rialto Theatre, 7523 du Parc Ave., until Sept. 15. Student tickets are $18. For more info, and to buy tickets, go to www.theatrerialto.ca.

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