I’ve been putting off writing about my spring roadtrip to Montréal and Toronto because it was so massive, and I wanted to find something comprehensive and insightful to say about it. And then I got busy. Here instead are links to a few sources where you can learn more about some pretty great events and organizations.
On May 2, I stepped off the plane from Vancouver and sped to the middle of the dress rehearsal for a hot ticket in the Montréal theatre calendar: the cabaret to celebrate the opening night of Jamais Lu (see photo caption above). I was the only anglo onstage in a fascinating line-up that included feminist icon Nicole Brossard; actor/activist (and SLAV protest co-organizer) Ricardo Lamour; and passionate Acadian poet Gabriel Robichaud. All in all, it was big, scary, and a dream come true. Thank goodness I knew right away that director Alix Dufresne was going to make us all look good. http://www.jamaislu.com/event/parle-a-ton-voisin-garden-party-liberateur/
May 3-5, I participated in the Forum Pancanadien, and was a panelist at a roundtable about how Québec theatre is seen in the ROC (Rest of Canada). This national gathering of theatre artists was remarkable for many reasons: the willingness of the anglophones to engage in French even when it was imperfect and hard; the generosity of the francophones when they slipped into English; the unprecedented openness to what is happening in the ROC; and the fact that English-speaking, French-speaking, and indigenous theatre communities from across Canada were represented on an equal footing. It was thrilling to speak with Linda Gaboriau and Bobby Theodore and Vanessa Porteous and John Jack Paterson, who have done so much to give Canadians access to the jewels in the crown of Québec drama. I loved hearing Lori Marchand, Véronique Hébert, Esther Duquette, Ravi Jain, Émilie Monnet, Gilles Poulin-Denis, and so many others. I was delighted to see two accomplished playwrights from New Brunswick – francophone Gabriel Robichaud and anglophone Ryan Griffith - meet (because our communities are so defined by language) for the first time. My favourite moment among many: we opened with a trio of academics who walked us through a step-by-step history of theatre in Québec. One was a specialist in indigenous performance, another in French-language theatre, and the third in English-language theatre, and in narrating the decades together as a team, they created a layered and fascinating narrative that no one in the room had ever heard before, including me. http://www.jamaislu.com/event/forum/
May 2-11: Jamais Lu proper was wonderful. As well as encountering the work of Rhiannon Collett, Amy Nostbaken and Norah Sadava, and Frances Koncan for the first time (in French!), I was surprised and delighted by the reading of Maxime Champagne’s wry and subversive Champion, an investigation of the nature of truth and storytelling which featured real professional wrestlers bashing chairs over each others’ heads. Thank you , Marcelle Dubois, guest curators Alexis Diamond, Nahka Bertrand, and Pascal Brullemans, and everyone at Jamais Lu (Brice), for inviting me and for creating such a powerful space for listening, reaching out, and understanding the people with whom we share this territory.
May 12-19: Rehearsing Two-Part Inventions, my translation of Sébastien Harrisson’s dreamlike and visually playful Les Inventions à deux voix, for its premiere at the Harbourfront Junior Festival. See photo below.