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Get a little closer

by The Concordian October 11, 2011
Love and sex can be separate things, and sometimes expectations get tangled along the way, as can be seen in Patrick Marber’s play Closer, presented by Montreal-based Chesterfield Productions.
“Every second of this play there’s tension, there’s something happening, there’s real life drama,” said director Andrew Zadel, who is also the co-founder of Chesterfield Productions. “[…] It’s people living their lives, trying to survive, and having an impact on the other characters. It’s pure drama. It’s all action.”
It was through a combination of Zadel’s enthusiasm for the famous play and the competition for audiences that pushed Chesterfield Productions to present Closer. Montreal has a notoriously small audience base for English-language theatre and Zadel decided that they needed to put on a show that would appeal to the mainstream.
“We haven’t done something that’s very obscure or introspective […] we went with it because it’s something people want to see,” said Zadel. “We are playing to our audience and that comes directly from the fact that it’s a difficult theatre environment to work in.”
Zadel says that companies often forget what theatre is about and focus on things like aesthetics and symbolism instead of the conflict between characters, “That’s why I love Closer,” he explained, “it’s really about the visceral emotions of these people.”
He chose to leave the set design basic and let the raw emotions of the characters draw people in. “I didn’t want the setting to distract from the real human stories that are going on,” he shared. This basic aesthetic highlights the alienation and isolation people feel when they struggle with life’s challenges.
Espace 4001, where the play is being performed, “feels very intimate, even invasive,” and is perfect for the heightened intimacy Zadel can get by staging it in the round—a setup that leaves only a few feet between the actors and their audience.
Many people will remember Closer from the 2004 movie, but seeing the film and experiencing the show in a theatre are two very different things. On top of a different ending, Zadel said that “[with the play] you get to see people living, breathing, and suffering right underneath your noses. [And Hollywood] cleaned up a lot of the inconsistencies with the characters, and some of the most interesting things got filtered out of the movie.”
Closer is being performed at Espace 4001 (4001 Berri St.) Oct. 12 to 16 and Oct. 18 to 22. All shows begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for students. For more information, check out http://chesterfield.andrewzadel.com.

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