New projects emerging before summertime for the artists of Théâtre la Seizième…
|Playwright and director Gilles Poulin-Denis (Straight Jacket Winter, Bonjour, là, Bonjour) and Philippe Cyr from the company L’Homme allumette (Unité Modèle) present their new participatory show Ce qu’on attend de moi at Théâtre aux Écuries (Montréal), May 21-26, 2018. A member of the audience, chosen at each performance, becomes the only actor in a hybrid performance halfway between theatre and cinema. She or he then plunges into the heart of a scenic device that explores the universal mechanisms of the imaginary.|
|As part of the prestigious Shaw Festival in Ontario, Anita Rochon (Extra-Céleste) directed the romantic comedy Stage Kiss, presented until September 1st. This play by Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright Sarah Ruhl has two bitter exes cast as passionate lovers. Will they strangle or seduce each other?|
|Marie Farsi (Crème-Glacée) is currently working with director Chris Abraham on Macbeth (Bard on the Beach) opening June 17th. She is also producing and directing two shows with her company Babelle Theatre, both written by James Gordon King (author in residence with Théâtre la Seizième): This, Here (presented in July in Vancouver) and All my Friends are Animals (young audience show co-produced with Axis Theatre and opening in September).|
|Anaïs Pellin was chosen by Association des théâtres francophones du Canada to participate in a master class led by Larry Tremblay, during the Festival du Jamais Lu (Montréal), May 5-12. This training on ludic anatomy will result in a public presentation on May 12th where participants will share with the audience what they discovered, developed and created during the workshop.|
|Emilie Leclerc (Unité Modèle, Bonjour, là, Bonjour, etc), second from the right in the photo, attended Banff Playwrights Lab at the end of April. With 5 other actors, she gave life and voice to the words of the Canadian and international playwrights in residence. This summer in Vancouver, she will be working on Phase two of a new show with Alley Theatre and The Necessary Stage (Singapour).
Marie Farsi found the time to answer our questions. She explains her creative process, her inspirations and how she worked with the production team to create a universe as sweet and tasty as a bucket of ice cream. Take a peak behind the scenes of this new young audience creation!
1. For the very first time, you are working for Théâtre la Seizième and you are directing Crème-Glacée, this season’s young audience show. Can you explain how this collaboration came about?
I have been wanting to join the artistic family of la Seizième for almost 6 years. I dreamt of being able to contribute to the development and the flourishing of Canada’s francophone theatrical scene within a company that is truly respected and admired. After Esther Duquette was appointed Artistic Director of Théâtre la Seizième, I contacted her to discuss the possibility of working with her and the company. Esther knows much about my directing and drama creation work; that’s why she challenged me into proposing and creating a show for young audiences. During the autumn of 2016, I did some research, read, and discovered many plays written for children. This play by Marie Hélène was my favourite. It’s how I presented it to Esther and how she came to produce the show!
2. Tell us a bit about this play that had yet to be produced. What did you like the most in the text written by Marie-Hélène Larose-Truchon?
First of all, I fell in love with the four female characters – from different generations – living in this funny, fantastic, and ludic universe. They all speak a rich, colourful language full of imagery. The text is also very real. It shows a single-parent family model and raises fundamental questions about our responsibilities towards ourselves, those around us, and the environment. I really appreciated the depth of her text. … read more
Marie-Hélène Larose-Truchon, the author of Crème-Glacée, as well as the 3 actresses, Sabrina Auclair, Marion Barot and Mariana Tayler, completed our survey. We get to know them, in resonance with the characters of the play!
1) Which Crème-Glacée character do you look like and why?
Marie-Hélène : The four characters have several common features: They are highly sensitive and very passionate. I would say that I am like all the characters put together, I’m spontaneous and crazy like Madame Sa Mère, I love my solitude like La Vieille, I’m casual like Samantha … but Crème-Glacée is the one that looks like me the most. She loves a good story, poetry, and classical music, she is interested in things most other girls are not interested in … As a child, I often felt different.
2) What is your favorite ice cream flavour?
Marie-Hélène : I like many flavours, from hazelnuts to pralines; I also like the taste of coffee but overall, chocolate wins every time.
Mariana : Chocolate.
Sabrina : Cookie dough, yummy!
Marion : The taste of lavender! In addition to smelling good, it calms and soothes the mind.
Various current projects under way for the artists working for Théâtre la Seizième…
|Joey Lespérance, the actor you saw in Bonjour, là, Bonjour or Des fraises en janvier, is part of the cast of šxʷʔam̓ət (home), a show about reconciliation with the indigenous community. Currently on tour in 21 BC and Alberta communities, the play will be presented March 2-10 at the Firehall Arts Centre.|
|Actress and theatre creator Emilie Leclerc is in Singapore with Alley Theatre to begin collaborating with The Necessary Stage. This new play talks about colonialism, immigration, emigration, foreign policies and mixed ancestry. This is the first phase of creation for a show that will be produced in Singapore and Vancouver in 2020.|
|During 2018, you’ll be able to see several projects by Marie-Hélène Larose-Truchon, author of Crème-Glacée, our upcoming young audience production. Her play Minuit, published in November, will be presented February 6-21 at the Théâtre Denise-Pelletier in Montréal and in April at the Rencontres Théâtre Ados, a festival dedicated to teen theatre. The play Histoire à Plumes et à Poils (co-written with Erika Tremblay-Roy and David Paquet) will be on tour this winter and spring in Québec (RIDEAI) and Montréal.|
|Leanna Brodie, who translated the surtitles for Pourquoi tu pleures…?, is currently working for various productions coming out this spring : I lost my husband from the company Ruby Slippers Theatre (Gateway, Richmond, March 2018), Gamètes (public reading on May 2018), and Dis merci from the company Joe Jack et John (Harbourfront, Toronto, June 2018).|
|Actress Lyne Barnabé (Bonjour, là, Bonjour and Lapin blanc, Lapin rouge) lent her voice as narrator for the TV show Maux mystères produced by Red Letter Films (Surrey) and broadcasted on Canal Vie since January 14th. She also recorded the book Sur les berges du Richelieu for Audible.|
Time has come for rest, winter sports, afternoons in front of the fire
and moments of sharing with friends and family.
We wish you a warm and joyous holiday season, a time that will provide you all the energy
to start 2018 on the right foot. May all your wishes come true.
See you in January
The team of Théâtre la Seizième
P.S. Please note that our offices will be closed from December, 23rd to January, 2nd.
Straight Jacket Winter is back on the road. Next destination : Montréal, Caraquet and Moncton. Less than a week before opening night at Théâtre La Licorne (Montréal), we have news from the team in rehearsals. Esther Duquette, co-writer, co-director and actor, answers our questions between two work sessions.
1- How is the team preparing for this return to the stage, after a one-year hiatus?
The whole team just assembled in Montreal to get the show running again! We have one week of rehearsals, and then it will be show time at Théâtre La Licorne. During the first few days, everybody is a bit disoriented. But soon, we relearn our text and get back into our old habits. Most of the information is stored in our brains. It’s just a matter of finding it again! We are lucky to be able to rely on the original cast (Frédéric Lemay and Julie Trépanier). It really speeds things up.
Each tour is also an opportunity to fine-tune the staging and the text. Because Gilles and I are playing ourselves, and because our lives continue to evolve, it’s important to update what we are saying. It’s a matter of authenticity and sincerity. We are also adapting some elements according to the audience, which helps us create a greater complicity with its members.
2- It is the first time that a production by Théâtre la Seizième will be performed in Montréal. How significant is this?
Montréal is undoubtedly the epicentre of French-language theatrical creation in Canada. It’s where most of the shows are created, and it is home to a deep pool of theatre artists. Performing in Montréal is an opportunity to show our work to our peers and to enter into dialogue with them in a different way. Montréal audiences have the reputation of being demanding. Every season, they can see many shows. We are a bit nervous about this upcoming encounter, but we have faith in Straight Jacket Winter. We have had the good fortune to perform this play more than 30 times across the country and, each time, it moved the audience and initiated a conversation about isolation and life as an expat.
3- Most performances of Straight Jacket Winter in Montréal have sold out for several weeks, despite the scheduling of two additional performances. That must feel good?
Yes! We are, of course, thrilled that we’ll get to play for nice packed houses! Word of mouth got going with our previous tours, and it looks like it made it all the way to Montréal. I think the connections we are making with Réjean Ducharme’s novel L’hiver de force during the show have probably helped generate interest. Montreal has a special fascination for this unclassifiable author who passed away recently. We should also mention that La Licorne (home of Théâtre de la Manufacture) is a venue that has a fantastic reputation. Its shows are in great demand! Needless to say, we are very excited…
4- After Montréal, you go further east for a quick stop in New Brunswick, at the other end of the country (literally). How was this tour organized?
More than two years ago, we workshopped Straight Jacket Winter in front of an audience at Zones théâtrales, in Ottawa. Maurice Arsenault, the artistic director of the Théâtre populaire d’Acadie, in Caraquet, was in the hall. He really liked the show and decided he wanted to present it, even though he did not approve of the English title! [laughter] Marcia Babineau, the artistic director of Théâtre l’Escaouette, in Moncton, joined in, making it possible for us to put together a nice tour in Eastern Canada. These two theatres are known for the unparalleled way in which they treat the artists, and we are really looking forward to dropping by!
Are you looking for an original gift for your friends and family but can’t make your mind up ? Too many choices… Fear of picking the wrong one which will end up in the attic… What about offering theatre ? A gift certificate, a ticket, a souper-théâtre…these may be the solutions to that Christmas gift giving nightmare. Here are plenty of good reasons to put culture under the tree !
|1. For all budgets
At this time of the year, expenses pile up. Looking for an affordable idea for a young adult or something to pamper your in-laws ? From discount tickets at $21 to souper-théâtre packages at $60, there is something to suit every budget at Théâtre la Seizième.
|2. Think green
Christmas time is not an eco-friendly time. Wrapping paper, over-consumption, last minute purchase of things more or less useful… All that stuff fills the garbage bin and is not always recycled.
A play or a gift certificate doesn’t have a big ecological impact. You don’t even have to print anything !
|3. To pamper your loved ones
Studies show that people who consume culture in general, and theatre specifically, are more likely to be happy and in good health. For that person you love, what more could you wish for? Learn more.
|4. A personalized gift
Pick the most enjoyable play, offer a subscription for next season or add a dinner at Café Salade de Fruits to the theatrical evening. Your French Canadian friends will be glad to see Christian Bégin on stage in Pourquoi tu pleures…?, families will fall Into the ice cream bucket with Crème-Glacée, and you could offer a resolutely contemporary play with Des Arbres. For at gift exchange? Give a gift certificate.
|5. It’s trendy
Going to the theatre is a trendy cultural outing ! Going to a club is probably not the most refined gift for your best friend. Better yet, choose a play and talk about it after with a good beer. You’ll feel much better waking up the next day !
Oh, by the way, we are also being told that it’s a good idea for a date…
|6. To avoid the malls
If you hate shopping, going to packed malls to look for the perfect gift, we may have the ideal solution for you… Buy tickets online or call us from your comfy couch.
Call us at 604.736.2616 to purchase your gift certificates, or visit our online box ofice for tickets.
Photo: David Ospina
As the Earth revolves, parts of its population move ahead of it, crossing borders, arriving in a precarious “elsewhere” they must now call home. People talk about it a lot, these days. They create charters, they try to identify differences, they apprehensively scrutinize the unavoidable metamorphosis of host societies caused by the arrival of these “migrants”. We often forget, or we prefer to overlook, that these migrations are in great part the result of upheavals that Western societies have given rise to and still cause, during the eras of colonialism, the cold war, the war against terrorism, and globalization.
Who are these people arriving on our land? What are they carrying within themselves? With Bibish de Kinshasa, we invite you to discover what one of them is carrying in her luggage. As always, it’s a whole world that opens up, a complex universe, made of moments of life buried deep within.
Bibish, Gisèle and Papy have left what the author calls the “mining scandal” that is their country. They now live here, in Canada. I hope this show will confirm, in them as well as in us, their host society, the feeling that this is “home” here and they are part of “us”. I thank them with all my heart for their trust and their friendship.
Is there a better way to fight the grey skies of November than a journey to Africa? This is what Bibish de Kinshasa offers you. Friendly and atypical, the show takes you directly to the sunny streets of Kinshasa. It shines the spotlight on its population, its traditions, and its challenges. At the same time, the director and the author are talking about music, fashion, beer, and politics while cooking a meal to be shared while all. It’s going to be a noisy, lively, vibrant and fragrant night… a true reflection of Kinshasa.
Some evenings are almost sold out, book your tickets soon!
One week before the opening night of Unité Modèle, we asked the show creators four questions. What are the challenges presented by Guillaume Corbeil’s text? How did they prepare for this project? To what extent are the subjects discussed in Unité Modèle dear to them? What would they say to a potential audience member who has not yet decided to come see it? Discover three different approaches, three stage jobs.
1) To what extent do the subjects discussed in Unité Modèle (gentrification, access to property, consumer society, obsession with image, manipulation, …) touch you as citizens and city dwellers of the 21st century?
Philippe – I would say that, as artists, we often think we chose a trade that lies outside of the world. We soon realize that we are subject to the same diktat in terms of performance and success, minus the material benefits, undoubtedly. We want to make Pinterest boards out of our lives, but ugliness is unavoidable. Why are we putting so much effort into concealing it? To be authentic would mean to agree to share some aspects of ourselves that are less pretty. This text makes me look at the city in a special way. All the real estate projects, the rows of high-end furniture stores, the beautiful luxurious cars… The city seems to be overflowing with wealth. There is something violent in this abundance. Maybe it is because it can at once seduce us and sicken us.
Emilie – All these themes resonate with me, and with most people who will read these words, I imagine. Unless we live in a log cabin deep in the forest or under a rock, we are all consumers and we are all being (more or less) manipulated by those who try to sell us something: a dream, an image, an object, the promise of an improved self. But we too manipulate our own image in one way or another by choosing, for example, what we will be wearing in the morning, and by writing posts on Facebook! As is the case in many parts of Vancouver, there is an attempt at gentrifying my neighbourhood on the east side of the city, and I also dream of owning my own place in this city where it takes too much money for someone to achieve this. So, all these topics speak to me and will, I believe, speak to our audience.
Manon – Especially the Instagramification of daily life and wanting/not wanting to keep up with this is something that can feel exhausting. One way or another I am participating. It attracts me and it makes me want to move away from it at the same time.
2) As a stage director, actor, designer, what are the challenges that Guillaume Corbeil’s text presents? How did you prepare for this project?
Philippe –The challenge is that there is an impressive number of ruptures. The text uses numerous narrative devices and plays with the traditional codes of performance. I prepared by identifying the different stages of the story, but also by preparing the creation work in such a way that each element would be as versatile as possible.
Emilie – I read the play several times to better understand all the underlying layers of the text. I also wanted a better grasp of the relationship between the two realtors, and between the audience and the performance. This piece is like an onion: it has several layers and sublayers. Aside from that, I have become more aware of my own behaviours as a consumer and of all the advertisements that surround me every day.
Manon – To create a set and costumes that relate to a ‘’perfect world’ and can become something else. When creating a set and costumes, I rely a lot on the initial feeling that I get from reading the script, this I turn into a concept. From there I start designing spaces and matching this up with materials that represent that initial feeling.
3) Why, in your opinion, is Unité Modèle a high point of the beginning of this fall’s cultural season, and what would you say to a potential audience member who has not yet decided to come see it?
Philippe – As a member of the team, it would be quite arrogant of me to say that Unité Modèle is a high point of the season. We’ll wait and see how people like it… To the undecided, this challenging performance is a must-see. Corbeil’s text is a gem: it’s extremely well-constructed, and the author takes a sharp look at our society.
Emilie – The real question is: why go to the theatre when you can be comfortably at home watching Netflix and eating popcorn? For me, the theatre remains a meeting place, and it gives the audience the opportunity to have a unique and immersive experience. To come to life, Unité Modèle needs the audience! This encounter between the audience and the performance is at the heart of the play, especially when the fourth wall completely disappears during some segments. Aside from entertaining while allowing the audience to live intense emotions, Philippe’s staging and Guillaume’s words really have the potential to make the people in the audience think and question, and gives them the opportunity to experience something different at the theatre. So, come see it!
Manon – It’s a very interesting story with a lot of layers and opportunities to connect it to living in the 21st century. It’s especially interesting for what is going on in Vancouver (as well as in Amsterdam), the future of young people and how this affects daily life, choices and mindsets. Besides that, I think it’s a very interesting group of creators coming together that makes this an exciting play!
4) Two words to describe the play?
Philippe – Sweet and sticky
Emilie – Dream and reality
Manon – Exhaustingly exciting