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Dulcinea Langfelder & Co. will present Victoria, which transforms the travails of aging and Alzheimer's disease into a touching comic drama, at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20th, in Stewart Theatre as part of the N.C. State University Center Stage series. The critically acclaimed Montréal actress will play the title character, a wheelchair-bound 90-year-old woman who has lost her memory, but not her sense of humor.
"Stretching the tension between comedy and tragedy to new extremes, Victoria is a tender and loving look at aging," claims the Dulcinea Langfelder & Co. web site. "You'll laugh, a lot, and you'll cry. Dulcinea Langfelder recaptures the comic traditions of Chaplin, Burns and Allen, and even Laurel and Hardy with an original and a very contemporary twist, using simple technology and a multitude of artistic disciplines."
Dulcinea Langfelder writes, "Imagine accepting that each moment is a chance to start over. Imagine being unhindered by memory. Imagine not being able to think, but only to imagine. It would be a bit like dreaming. And what is it that counts in our dreams? What can we take with us when we die? It's something that aging, and even dementia can't take away. It's the moments of communion that we have known, with creatures, gardens, and gods... otherwise known as love."
Langfelder adds, "Our heroine, Victoria, has lost her memory; she's lost her pussycat, she's lost control over her life... and her bladder. She has lost almost everything. Victoria is but a shadow of herself; a character who's forgotten her role, a puppet who adapts and adopts comic and dramatic situations as her imagination dictates. Her wheelchair is also her rocking chair, her prison, her tango partner, and her flying chariot.
"Living isn't easy and neither is dying," Langfelder claims, "but it is all interlaced with moments of great richness... little victories. Victoria savors every moment. I was glad to find a bit of myself in her — I hope that you will, too.
Dulcinea Langfelder is native New Yorker who claims she now speaks (almost) perfect French. She also is an accomplished actress, singer, and dancer and an integral part of the lively performing-arts scene in Montréal, Québec.
In praising this multitalented performer and her ingenious multimedia theatrical creations, Max Wyman of The Province in Vancouver, British Columbia writes, "Dancer? Sure. Comedienne? Of course. Singer? Accomplished. Mime? Polished. Performance artist? That, too. But they're all means to an end — a delicate bittersweet kind of enigmatic human theatre that becomes far more than the sum of all its very disparate parts. With interactive technology, she fuses all this into a simple poetic-magical absurdity that makes us see the unbearable vulnerability of ordinary people with fresh eyes and fresh sympathy."
In lauding previous productions of Victoria, which is based on an original idea and texts by Charles Fariala and premiered in 1999, Myron Galloway of The Suburban in Montréal wrote, "The tiny, clownish Langfelder will remind many of Giulietta Masina in one her greatest roles, that of Gelsomina in Fellini's La Strada.... Once word gets around as to just what a delight Langfelder's Victoria is, tickets are bound to be snapped up." And Gaetan Charlevoix of The Montréal Hour said, "I haven't seen a fusion of performer and artifice so clean, so magical, well... ever."
In the Times Globe of St. John, New Brunswick, Grant Kerr called Victoria a "beautifully told, magnificently performed tour-de-force by a woman who should rightfully be known from coast to coast. Those who saw Victoria will never forget her."
In its review, Les Cahiers Jeu claimed, "In this work, Dulcinea Langfelder takes on an almost impossible challenge.... Her performance proves that there is no human situation that is not accessible to artistic intervention, as long as the artist approaches it with a true offering of herself." And Linde Howe Beck of The Gazette characterized this show as a "not-to-be-missed tale of death and dying handled with tenderness, respect and — believe it or not — humour as only Dulcinea Langfelder can.... Teetering on the brink of physical and emotional impossibility, Victoria is her best work yet."
The Journal de Montréal critic raved, "Wow. [Victoria is] one of those works that you take like a punch: a punch in the gut; a love at first sight."
Note: November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month (http://www.alz.org/nadm/overview.asp [inactive 5/05]). NCSU Center Stage is presenting Victoria in cooperation with the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association (http://www.alznc.org/).
Meet-the-Artist Opportunities: There will be two meet-the-artist opportunities, both of them free and open to the public. On Friday, Nov. 19th, Dulcinea Langfelder will talk about creating Victoria and describe how performing this show has affected her life and work from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Walnut Room in NCSU's Talley Student Center, 2610 Cates Ave., Raleigh, NC, and from 12 to 1 p.m. in Room 2002 of Duke Hospital North, Erwin Rd., in Durham, NC. The NCSU event will be sponsored by The Encore Center for Lifelong Enrichment and the NCSU Division of Student Affairs. The Duke event will be sponsored by the Health Arts Network at Duke, Osler Literary RoundTable, the Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, and NCSU Center Stage.
N.C. State University Center Stage presents Dulcinea Langfelder & Co. in Victoria Saturday, Nov. 20, at 3 and 8 p.m. Stewart Theatre on the second floor of the Talley Student Center, 2610 Cates Ave., Raleigh, North Carolina. $22-$27 ($17.50-$21.50 NCSU faculty and staff, $8 NCSU students, $13 other students). 919/515-1100. N.C. State University Center Stage: http://www.ncsu.edu/centerstage. Dulcinea Langfelder & Co.: http://www.dulci-langfelder.org/ [inactive 9/05].