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Wednesday June 29th

Fairy tales at the center of ‘The Andersen Project’

Mixed-media piece comes to UNC

Yves Jacques performs The Andersen Project in Memorial Hall. Written and directed by Robert Lepage, the play is inspired by two stories by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. Jacques will perform the one-man show, produced by Lepage's Quebec-based theater company Ex Machina, in Memorial Hall on Thursday and Friday.
Buy Photos Yves Jacques performs The Andersen Project in Memorial Hall. Written and directed by Robert Lepage, the play is inspired by two stories by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. Jacques will perform the one-man show, produced by Lepage's Quebec-based theater company Ex Machina, in Memorial Hall on Thursday and Friday.

Hans Christian Andersen’s literary masterpieces are about to be dissected.

“The Andersen Project,” part of the Carolina Performing Arts’ International Theater Festival, is a one-man performance created by renowned Canadian playwright and theater artist Robert Lepage.

SEE “THE ANDERSEN PROJECT”

Time: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday
Location: Memorial Hall
Tickets: $10 students, $20-30 public
Info: carolinaperformingarts.org

The French-Canadian theater group Ex Machina — which Lepage created in 1994 as a team for all of his performances — is the 10-man ensemble producing the show.

Though only one man performs on stage during the show — originally Lepage and now Yves Jacques — the other nine members of the ensemble run the technical aspects.

“The Andersen Project” pulls inspiration from two of Andersen’s works, “The Dryad” and “The Shadow.”

The play tells the story of a Quebecois songwriter on commission to write an opera in Paris.

Jacques said that the play is special in how it uses dialogue in order to blur the lines between good and evil in the human persona.

“You’re not all bad and you’re not all good, and that’s what I like about it,” Jacques said.

Thus far, the show has sold well, though the number of tickets made available was smaller than usual, said Sean McKeithan, director of communications and marketing for Carolina Performing Arts.

The balcony and the sides of the house will be blocked off in efforts to foster a more intimate setting for the audience and Jacques, McKeithan said.

Andersen is best known for such works as “The Ugly Duckling” and the original “The Little Mermaid.”

Though born into poverty, Andersen was respected by upper class Danish society and wrote stories rooted in gender and work ethic, said Eric Downing, a professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

“The tradition of retelling fairy tales is a long one for children and their parents,” Downing said.

“The American ideal of work and attitudes toward upward mobility in his work has probably contributed to his lasting appeal in a long-standing tradition.”

Like other performances in the International Theater Festival, “The Andersen Project” showcases an innovative use of multimedia.

Earlier productions — The National Theatre of Scotland’s “Black Watch” and Cirque Éloize’s “iD” — were elaborate multimedia extravaganzas.

“All these pieces do a really good job of integrating live performance and media,” McKeithan said.

The play challenges concepts such as sexual identity, the journey for notoriety and coming to terms with oneself amidst loneliness.

But it’s not a sad play, Jacques said.

“It’s about solitude,” he said. “The solitude of creation and of being an artist.”

Contact the Arts Editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.

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