It almost always happens to lonely, sedentary individuals. They are found to have been burned alive, consumed by fire from within. Only the body is reduced to ashes, with the armchair, the sheets and mattress, untouched. They are victims of Spontaneous Human Combustion, SHC (or CHS). An inner Hiroshima, a private gas chamber, the phenomenon remains profoundly disturbing and partially unexplained.
In CHS, the playwright, actor and director Christian Lapointe, the “virgin aflame” of new Quebec theatre, summons the victims of this physical, psychic, poetic and metaphysical conflagration, evoking a man whose head is on fire and who may well be Lapointe himself. He also speaks of artists renowned for their fiery qualities. “Nothing can extinguish that fire.” A cantata for three voices, CHS, in its unchanging, recitative nature, navigates between an exposition of the enigma and a mournful ode to the memory of the victims, moving between the monologue of a badly burned victim and an affirmation of poetic art. A few chords from an electric guitar, a discreet video presence and off we go, the human voice our only guiding light as we venture into this theatre of utterances. It is alchemical theatre subjected to ordeal by fire.
BY THE COLLECTIVE
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY
SOUND DESIGN AND MUSIC
IN ASSOCIATION WITH