“The whole show is a mirror on life and what it is all about,” Yves Jacques, the star of the one-man show “Far Side of the Moon,” said. The goal of the production, according to Jacques, is that the audience will see themselves on stage.
In the midst of the ’60s space race, the play revolves around Philippe, a man who has recently lost his mother and must come to terms with his estranged brother André who is his opposite in many ways. Just as the Americans and the Soviets vied for their place on the moon, the two brothers try to determine their place in the world and the universe. One brother is a lifelong student who puts off the real world and the other is a hard-core capitalist; the two eventually undertake a long journey toward reconciliation.
Touring the world over with the play, Jacques credits its success in the writing and direction of Robert Lapage. He said that the director works through improvisation and takes the audience’s input very seriously. The performance, which runs just over two hours, had been cut from its original three-hour running time — something that Jacques said is not unusual for this writer/director. The actor also noted that a haunting musical score by Laurie Anderson adds to the play’s dimensions.
Not only does Jacques play the roles of Philippe, André and a doctor, but he also dresses in drag to play their deceased mother. According to Jacques, he was actually sporting a dress for the Montreal equivalent of the Oscars when Lapage approached him about taking on the role. “I was wearing this dress and Robert’s sister said, ‘You’re (the) mother!’ ”
Despite that this is his first solo role, Jacques doesn’t ever feel alone because he is still interacting with characters even if they aren’t onstage with him. “The visual effects are like a character,” and he added with a chuckle, “You have to be very humble as an actor to work with 10 technicians because they are very demanding.”
The task of acting solo is challenging, but one that Jacques wanted take. When asked he said, “I feel great because (I am) experimenting as an actor.”
And in retrospect, he looks at his position in Lapage’s production as a very privileged one. The two have become excellent friends during the nearly two years since the tour started.
“(The play) is such a gift,” he said also noting that “it is a very intimate story … all about his childhood.”
Jacques feels the audience will take an understanding of humanity from the performance. “They will see themselves,” he said. “It is all about the infinitely insignificant and the infinitely important because we are looking at other planets in the show and comparing the earth to the galaxy and the universe.”
In that respect Jacques said that he hopes, during the performance, that audiences will see “a flash of what life is all about.”