Using a series of moveable scrims, slide projectors, the occasional set piece, simple costuming, a magnificent soundscape ranging from Philip Glass and Bartok to the Kodo Drummers, and the wizardry of Alain Lortie’s lighting, Maheu’s nine performers create a shifting, magical landscape. Mostly clad in black-and-white, with splotches of red in the scarves and gloves, the performers swirl, pivot, leapfrog and amble through short, specific scenes, each a finished portrait in itself. Maheu, like Lepage, often uses his actors to create living sculptures, and here shadow-play and silhouettes are used to great effect.
“L’Hiver’s” impressive visual vocabulary includes school desks piled with snow, an old priest crossing the stage on skis, children in white frocks throwing snow to the rafters and adults in black attire twirling in suppressed passion. These tableaux float by, occasionally pausing to stick and resonate in the subconscious, Quebec’s contribution to the world of imagistic theater continuing to impress.