Are you certain this is a theatre performance? Cause it sure looks like a movie. Fabrice Murgia impresses once again with sombre ‘Exils’
Want another example of how funny this tiny country called Belgium can be? Fabrice Murgia. The 28-year old theatre director from the southern (French speaking) part of the country was elected man of the year by the lifestyle supplement of Walloon news weekly Le Vif. In the northern (Flemish speaking) part of the country he is virtually unknown and his theatre performances pass unnoticed. But they will have to talk about the man from Verviers: Murgia is invited for the renowned Festival d’Avignon in 2014, and will be collaborating with Flemish music and theatre company Lod for a big project. Murgia’s powerful new performance Exils, which premiered at Théâtre National (Brussels), is part of Cities on stage, an ambitious project for theatres in six European cities, supported by the European Commission.
Exils. Exiles. Right after the beginning you see the five big white letters on the huge screen between stage and audience. Just as the title of a movie would be shown, before it begins. Within ten minutes white clouds of smoke are floating over your heads. This is what I like about Fabrice Murgia: here’s a young theatre director trying to find a way to come up with theatre for this day and age. Trying to appeal to a generation used to watching movies, going to rock concerts, playing computer games, spending their lives on Facebook and Twitter.
Exils is his fourth performance and once again you just have to be in awe of Murgia’s wizardry: his ability to construct strong theatrical images, using lights, sound scape, extra effects (smoke) and camera’s. Time after time the curtain closes on a scene and then opens again to show you a completely different, mostly dark but strong image. As I said before (when I reviewed his Life: Reset) here’s a man who knows his Romeo Castellucci and his David Lynch.
His images are impressive, and he sure knows how to create a mood, but when it’s all over you are left wondering what it is Murgia (his grandparents moved to Belgium from Spain and Italy) wanted to transmit. He isn’t telling you anything new about, or shedding some revealing other light on the themes he touches upon.
You witness the struggles of a black exile, feeling lost, feeling erased, calling home, being interrogated, painting his body white. And Murgia mixes his story with the lives of two young people feeling lost over here as well (one of them with a burn-out, the other is living with a life-size doll just to feel alive). It’s the first time Murgia includes some texts he has written, but nevertheless, it’s more with his visual imagery than with his insights that he made an impression on me. Nevertheless: never heard of him? Then you really might want to check this guy out.
Watch the trailer here.