An anglo theatre for Montreal's Sud-Ouest / Un théâtre anglophone pour le Sud-Ouest de Montréal

Lying to ourselves

While preparing “Palace of the End”, I realized pretty quickly that it was not a “protest” play, but a tragedy about the spiritual cost of telling yourself lies.

The three characters in this show told themselves lies, and, lacking as they did the scaffolding of privilege that a Tony Blair or a George Bush enjoys, to temporarily stave off the consequences of self-deception, they all paid an enormous price.

The message of the show is more personal, and more universal, than the play’s deceptively “political” topicality. I have come to view the play as more of a classical tragedy than an issue play. It’s a shame that this script may end up being relegated to history, along with memories of the war itself, when it has such a resonant and timeless theme.

But the politics are there too. So…

This morning, the BBC reminds us of the “self-deception” of the UK and US governments, who made the case for war using shoddy, fraudulent intelligence. The article is somewhat erroneously called “Iraq: the spies who fooled the world”, because that leaves the impression that, well, the world was fooled, and that the information contained in the article was only openly discussed after the war began, which is not the case. Most of the facts described were well-known, long before the invasion or any of the post-invasion inquiries.

I hope that history will not record the start of the Iraq war as another case of “nobody could have known”. Everybody knew. Self-deception is toxic, even in history.

We’ve completed half the run of “Palace of the End”, and the show only grows in its ability to knock even me speechless. There is still a week left to witness the extraordinary performances of Sarah Marchand, Michael Findlay, and Alexandra Valassis. Come on down to 4001 Berri, starting Thursday.

Rob (director)


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