It was written in 1939, but the iPad generation could learn a lesson about the art of communication from ‘La Voix Humaine’.
Originally a one-woman show by Frenchman Jean Cocteau, ‘La Voix Humaine’ follows the one-sided conversation of a woman talking on the telephone to her lover as he is about to run off and marry another woman.
La Boite Indie offers a fresh take on the French classic, with a message for modern day theatregoers weaved in. “When Dave (Sleswick) directed it, he uses three quite distinctly different women to represent this woman in three different ways. It also shows this play that was written so many years back is still relevant today,” explains dancer and actress Leisel Zink, who plays one of the three women characters.
With Skype, Twitter and social networking charting the technological waters, Zink says it’s time audiences got back to basics, and this play delivers a poignant message. “All of these devices, they don’t compare to normal face-to-face conversation and I think that a lot can be misunderstood when you add those devices and interruptions in between.”
With a myriad creative elements like dance, text, multimedia and bilingual performances interwoven throughout ‘La Voix Humaine’, Zink says it successfully paints a picture of how humans really interact, allowing the audience a voyeuristic insight. “It’s about how much we rely on words or how much we rely on other different ways of communicating, whether it be through tone, voice or movement.”
The incorporation of dance and stylised movement gives this vintage masterpiece a contemporary edge. “It [dance] expresses things I believe that words can’t, and it connects with the audience on a more kinaesthetic level so that they can really feel what you’re going through without necessarily being able to articulate it through words. Thus it alerts different senses and perhaps makes the audience feel a little uneasy or more empathetic,” explains Zink.
Zink’s fascination with human interaction and communication has given her a solid foundation for her demanding role in ‘La Voix Humaine’. “I spend a lot of time in cafes and I just love people-watching — I find humans very peculiar,” Zink continues, “I walk around the city with my headphones on and just watch and it’s amazing how much you can see if you actually look around you. This may sound simple … but it’s actually looking, seeing, investing in and being curious about what you see.”
A dancer and choreographer at heart, Zink reflects upon the challenges of being involved in a text-based theatre work, “actors tend to work from an internal place, that’s how they bring it out, whereas dance is often quite external, like creating shapes, so even coming from an internal perspective and approaching texts, but also movement, from an internal point of view has been really valuable for me.”
Audiences will walk away with a new perception on the art of communication says Zink, who is audibly thrilled to be apart of the dynamic local production. “I think that it will be very much reflective to look at the amount of complexities we have behind communication with all of these devices.
“It makes us question the value and the purity of a normal conversation that’s just face-to-face.”
‘La Voix Humaine’ runs at La Boite June 27 — July 14.