Been way too long already since I got out to see a show…sorry, Community Theatre, I keep missing hooking up with you! Soon, I promise. It’s not that Kanata is even that far AWAY or anything…I’ll fix it, all right? I’ll fix it.
But for now, you’ll have to settle for me taking a familiar trip downtown…well, sort of familiar…I mean, sure, I’ve been in the Market a million times before, but this was actually something a bit new for me. Because this was my first time ever seeing a show at La Nouvelle Scene on King Edward, and I was pretty excited about that. And when I got inside…? Holy hell, how come nobody ever TOLD me what a gorgeous little theatre space they have tucked away in there? It’s frickin’ beautiful, you guys! I fell in love as I walked in the doors, ready to check out tonite’s performance of Michel Ouellette’s FRERES D’HIVER, from the good jolies et gentilhommes at Theatre La Catapulte.
Now, as a mostly Anglo who has forgotten more of his high school French than he retains, I don’t get out to Franco-Theatre as much as I should (but I always, always enjoy it when I do). But when I heard that this one was directed by my old LAVENDER RAILROAD mate, and overall genius, Joel Beddows, I knew I had to check it out. I admit I was also intrigued to check it out tonite of all nights, because Thursdays were designated as ‘subtitled’ nights. And even though my French is passable enough to get me through most plays (if they speak slowly enough, bless them), I was still curious and all because HOW THE FUCK DO SUBTITLES WORK AT A PLAY, exactly? What the Heck, any reason to get out to see a show, am I right?
The story, as much poetry as regular storytelling, tells of handsome Pierre (Pierre Simpson, whom I recall from STRAWBERRIES IN JANUARY, here given some meatier fare to flex his acting chops on) returning to identify the body of his troubled, loner sibling Paul (Alain Doom, haunting the stage in a wonderful performance). Paul left behind some strange clues as to his failed life, from an early obsession with writing to later attempts to literally ‘become’ poetry. In contrast, worldly Pierre holds his dead brother’s hand only because he remembers seeing it in a movie once. And bridging the gap between the two brothers is Wendy (Lina Blais, walking a careful line between determination and despair), a co-worker of Pauls who finds herself drawn to seek out Pierre, due to some unfinished business. It’s not all clearly laid out, and it doesn’t need to be. The poetry of Ouellete’s script lets it be known that this is a show to be felt, more than to be learned.
Everything clicks together in this short’n sweet production (just over 1 hour), with Guillaume Houet on lights and Jean-Michel Ouimet on sound doing positively extraordinary work (seriously, the lighting in this show is absolutely jaw-dropping gorgeous, folks), strong acting with beautiful onstage choreography (aided by Daniel Mroz, so I’m told), and a poignant storyline that affects and draws you in. And yeah, the subtitles DID work…tho I’m happy to report I need them less and less these days. The old French schooling is coming back to me, mes amis. Which is a good thing…because I intend to be back at LNS for the rest of their season, if they’ll have me. Man, I LOVE that I’m still so new to theatre I’m still discovering new people and places! I’ve decided I hope that never stops.
Anyways, FRERES has a couple more shows, and you should seriously check it out, good French or no. It’ll do your heart good. Paix, amour et ame,
Le Visiteur (avec Winston)