When the CEO of G2 Communications developed his fledgling company’s online presence, he had no idea it would lead to hosting the Tsum delegation, Earth’s first official intergalactic visitors – much like Pop Fiction audience members probably had no idea they were actually being recruited as ambassadors for this historic event.
Should you see it?
Appropriately, the Tsum delegation was the most memorable aspect of the evening. From the minute they stepped onstage, I was captivated by their utterly alien movements, gestures, and overall look. The design team really succeeded in making enough small and simple adjustments to our humanity to create believable, elegant, and unique creatures from out of this world.
Michelle LeBlanc stole the show as the lead Tsum, building on the strange behavior of her creature with awkwardly mispronounced words and an often changing accent. Nancy Kenny, playing LeBlanc’s grumbly, war-mongering Tsum counterpart, was also exquisite in her aggressive and relentless fierceness. Her believable portrayal of a deeply-suspicious and violent alien was enough to make anyone scared for humanity.
This fear showed in the faces of the three simultaneous translators, who are flat and forgettable background players at first but who transform into entertaining and interesting characters in the second act, where the consequences of first contact – and the miscommunication that inevitably come with it – start to appear.
Simultaneous translation of Tsum speech offered via headphones creates an authentic ambassadorial experience although Anglophones should be warned that the spoken French in Pop Fiction is fast, particularly at the start.
Another high-tech element of this show is the integration of media installations: news footage, commercials, and a Skype call to a spaceship. These were nice touches to change the pace of the show and to lighten some of the heavier moments, although I didn’t always understand what they were about.
Overall, Pop Fiction is a solid piece of bilingual theatre. For anyone interested in character creation, the Tsum stand out as a magnificent example of how to do it and are worth seeing.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to hear what you think. What did you think of the media installations? Who was your favorite Tsum? Let me know in the comments below!