Nos Repaires #3: Gilles & Thérèse
More than a show, “Nos Repaires” is made of five pieces that blend into a coherent whole. The micro-performances are connected to each other by the same creative process, a reconsideration of what is “essential” and good chemistry. Who better than the actor-director duos themselves to describe Nos Repaires’ performances? Behind Repaire #3 are Gilles Poulin-Denis and Thérèse Champagne, a duo sharing a love of theatre that spans time.
What is essential to you?
Thérèse: Love and inner peace are essential to me. During this pandemic, it seemed essential for me to reflect on death. She’s prowling. If she comes to get me, I would like to leave in peace. I still need to take an intimate look at the fantastic human potential and what I’ve done with the miracle of life.
Gilles: I think that the essential is subjective to everyone. Health and love are essential. But, I’ve found it very difficult to watch my industry, my community being told they’re not essential. Are the arts less essential than other industries? We have spoken a lot, of course, about physical health since the start of the pandemic, but not enough about mental health. Coming together, even in small groups, and sharing an experience together can break through solitude and isolation. For me, that’s also essential.
How was the creative process during a pandemic? Did it create new opportunities?
Gilles: The creative process for this project has been very particular. I would like to thank the Théâtre la Seizième team for the opportunity to dive into a creative process. It feels incredibly good to find myself doing theatre after a month of self-isolation.
The context of the pandemic creates lots of new constraints like finding an accessible location outside, respecting social distancing measures, rehearsing in masks, etc. Despite all of these constraints, we are discovering a way to rediscover meaning in theatre. It was also important for me to not directly discuss the pandemic in the piece that we were going to create. It’s our daily lives, we are living this new Covid-19 reality, but there are a lot of other events that are going through our lives, and it was important to address other subjects with this project.
Thérèse: The creative process always fascinates me. It takes us beyond our daily preoccupations. A beautiful breath of fresh air in the time of Covid-19.
What were the perimeters that you had to juggle during your creative process?
Thérèse: During the pandemic, we were spending a lot of time in front of our screens, so we chose to create less technological theatre. Quite a challenge because we know that voices tend to get lost outside, and our piece is made up of confidence and tenderness.
Gilles: We had a lot of wants very early on in the creative process, but the different constraints of time and location encouraged us to review our concepts and benefit from a simpler and barer form. After months of Netflix, Zoom, YouTube, and Instagram, we wanted to invite the public to a very human encounter than activates the imagination.
What do you like most about your creative partner?
Gilles: I’m so happy to work with Thérèse on this project. We already worked together on Bonjour, là, Bonjour, but we’ve never done a new creation together. What I love most about Thérèse is her contagious laugh that lights up the piece. She is full of surprises. It was a real pleasure to get to know her better.
Thérèse: I love how he listens. During this creation, I talk a lot about myself, and Gilles skillfully brings poetry to moments of a life from a generation other than his own. He also seems always interested to discover my many tripods, microphones, and professional toys that come from another era and that have been living at the back of my closet. We laugh a lot because we share a love of theatre that spans time.
What’s one thing you would say to convince someone to see your show?
Gilles: After the last few months, it felt so good to set aside screens and to find myself in front of another person (six feet apart, of course). I’m happy to reconnect with theatre, and I’m certain that you will be too. Maybe we’ll be able to transport you to another world, even just for a moment.
Thérèse: Art is a lie that reveals the truth (Picasso). We will transport you in to the universe of the story, where life is so real that you might think it’s your own.
Repaire #3, Thérèse & Gilles’ performance, is to be seen on Friday, September 25 and on Wednesday, September 30 in an outdoor location on Granville Island, in Fairview neighborhood. With in-kind support from CMHC – Granville Island.