Confinement does not prevent us from finding gems! Discover in this section the team’s little pleasures, as well as other theatre initiatives that will give us a great dose of culture to hold on until the end of this strange period, and beyond!
- Esther, Artistic and Managing Director: In 2015, Nicolas Dickner won the Governor General’s Award for Six Degrees of Freedom. I bought the book that I devoured and then I lent it to many friends who loved it too… and now I can’t find it anymore! It’s a shame because I’ve been thinking a lot about this story and its astonishing structure since the beginning of the pandemic. With his clever back-and-forth between characters, Dickner reveals to what extent we are connected to each other, even when we are confined in (more or less) small spaces.
- Sarah, Audience Officer: I began reading The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron two years ago and I thought the confinement was the opportunity to start the book over. During 12 weeks, the author presents a shock program to find creative inspiration. Whether we are an artist or not, I recommend this book to anyone seeking personal development and ready for a good introspection. This is a compassionate and positive read, just what I need right now!
- Jessie, Production Coordinator: This period of confinement gives us the opportunity to slow down, to relax and to read! The Minimalists was published a few years ago but its topic is, I think, still very up to date. Written by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, this book raises questions about our rhythm of life and our consumption habits. Fashion, advertising and the society urge us to possess loads of material goods. We are working more and more and we inflict ourselves a great deal of stress besides draining the earth’s resources. This book presents an alternative way of life that would get rid of material excess in order to make room for things that are really worth it. Are you ready to take up the challenge?
- Gaëlle, Administrative Director: Author of “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus”, Yuval Noah Harari deciphers in his third book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, major political, social, technological, religious, environmental and existential questions. An invigorating and enriching read that leads to other questions! In the fiction category, I’ve just finished reading Mo Hayder’s Wolf. The novel immerses us in the nightmare of a family locked up in its own house (!) by two attackers whose motivations are uncertain. A dive into horror that keeps the reader in suspense until the very last page.
- Caroline, Communications Officer: Among my favorite reads from the past weeks are two books that I read at the same time. The first one is Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, a graphic novel from Guy Delisle, in which the author depicts, not without humor, his daily life as an expat in Jerusalem for a year, his exploration of the city and of the occupied territories as well as his close proximity to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The second book is called La Horde du Contrevent (translation: The WindWalkers), a fantasy novel from Alain Damasio which tells the quest, in an imaginary world, of an elite group that seeks to trace back the source of the wind. Two fascinating reads, that carried me far far away from my apartment.
Show recordings and theatre initiatives
- Sarah, Audience Officer: In these exceptional times, I am more attentive to initiatives launched by the cultural sector. I had the pleasant surprise to get an email about « Les consultations poétiques » (translation: poetic consultations) organised by Théâtre de la Ville, in Paris. The idea is simple and amazing: just as you would have a doctor’s appointment, a performer calls you at an agreed time to talk, and he or she chooses a poem to read. After this exchange, you will receive the poem by email, just like a medical advice. Even if it’s not of the most important use, that brightens up my day! And you, would you recommend it to your loved ones?
- Jessie, Production Coordinator: As I used to live in the city of Quebec for a few years, Entre Autres (translation: Between Others) is a return to my roots. I love this involved, activist and social spirit. Its topics are at the heart of news in Quebec but the questions raised are global, they involve everyone of us. Climate change, immigration, religion, feminism… our society evolves over time and generations. The show is the result of many meetings and exchanges led by curious and dynamic young artists, seeking for identity. The interviews form a large range of standpoints and ideologies. The non-judgmental approach and the open-mindedness help to sharpen our critical sense and to deploy our reflection. Enjoy!
Watch the show (only in French)
- Caroline, Communications Officer: Obsolète is a creation from the Belgian drama collective “Rien de Spécial”. It tackles topics that I’m really concerned about, such as planned obsolence and the preservation of the environment. Although the matter is relatively profound, it’s addressed in a extremely funny way. More than mere entertainment, it’s the kind of reflection and questioning that I’m looking for when I go to the theatre. I remember that I was full of hope in what human beings can achieve after this play. I treasure this hope even more in these troubled times, the hope of a world that will come out of this crisis more conscious and sensitive to its impact on the planet but also to the strengthening of human relationships. Watch the show (only in French)
- Esther, Artistic and Managing Director: I’m fond of NICE TRY – belessai. This group has been organizing for years “spontanious creation” evenings at Usine C, in Montreal. During this event, the artists have 48 hours to create a piece of drama and, this year, the event has been moved online because of the social distancing measures. The result — a VIRUS creation, produced under certain restrictions — is posted on the web. I am impressed by the way artists are getting to grips with digital media to achieve their works. Rather than recorded drama performances, they are creative works designed for the web. You will come upon real little gems, such as this wonderful creation by Maxime Cormier.
- Gaëlle, Administrative Director: While I was browsing the ARTE Concert selection, I came upon the performance Xenos by Akram Khan. As I really enjoyed Chotto Desh, a show that we had the chance to present last season, I was really curious and eager to discover another creation of the British-Bangladeshi artist. If the show is originally a tribute to the 800,000 Indian soldiers who were forced to enlist in the army and were sent to the Western front in 14-18, the performance more broadly raises questions about History and our memory. The main concern is to know if we are able to learn from our mistakes. A major theme and a vast subject that, in my opinion, strongly resonates with what we are currently experiencing. Watch the show
Other great initiatives and online shows
- Social Distancing Festival – recorded theatre performances but also a great number of other artistic creations in dance, music and visual arts.
- National Theatre at Home – collection of recorded live shows
- ARTE Concert – Performing Arts – recorded live shows
- Théâtre Contemporain – collection of recorded live shows