Centaur Theatre – MainLine Theatre – ShazamFest – What’s going on Montreal?
When I first heard about the Centaur Theatre’s latest production “You Will Remember Me” by Francois Archambeault at last year’s season launch event, I thought it was going to a cosmic, space-age type of production (especially after looking at the play’s poster artwork). A year later, as I attended an early performance of the English-language premiere of this play (which is now in the midst of its run that lasts until April 2), that space-age theme still clung to me as I witnessed in the theatre’s semi-darkness Eo Sharp’s breathtaking set design, which included a series of tall poles propped up by industrial strength wires. However, after catching the performance, I realized “You Will Remember Me” was not a play that dealt with outer space, but it was quite a cosmic experience, as it gave a powerful, human face to the ravages of the dreadful neurological affliction that is Alzheimer’s Disease.
The play focuses on Edouard (Jean Marchand), a highly respected history professor for a Quebec university, who in an effort to memorize all the names of his students, later realizes that he was in the wrong classroom to begin with. As a result of this little bit of personal confusion, Edouard is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. As he continually denies that he has this disease – yet his family comes to terms with it – the fabric of his immediate family begins to unravel. His faithful wife Madeleine (Lally Cadeau) starts to become unfaithful, as she deposits him to the home of their journalist daughter Isabelle (Johanna Nutter) practically every weekend so she could have a tryst with another man. In turn, Isabelle leaves her father in the care of her latest boyfriend Patrick (Charles Bender), who in turn leaves him to the care of his rebellious teenage daughter Berenice (Amanda Silveira). It is thanks to Berenice – though indirectly – that Edouard comes to terms with a family tragedy that has remained suppressed for over 20 years, which he attempts to do in a series of conversations with Berenice before the ravages of Alzheimer’s takes away not only his life, but the memories he has had through his life, whether they be good, bad or long forgotten.
“You Will Remember Me” marks the directorial swan song of the Centaur’s current Artistic and Executive Director Roy Surette, who will step down from this position at the end of the season. And he has done a masterful job with this choice of play to mark this swan song with the Centaur. It is a highly-charged, highly emotional production that shows one person’s struggle to recapture the memories of their life before a degenerative neurological disease gradually takes them all away in a devastating manner. The five cast members deliver stellar performances all around, especially Amanda Silveira as Berenice, who through a mixture of cockiness, reluctance and sensitivity, manages to do what the other members of Edouard’s immediate family cannot accomplish, and that is to bring out his fondest, cherished – and deeply buried – memories before it is too late.
To purchase tickets for the remaining performances of the run of “You Will Remember Me”, call 514-288-3161, or go to www.centaurtheatre.com
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The MainLine Theatre, 3997 St. Laurent Boulevard, in its ongoing mission to present new and innovative voices in local theatre and performance arts, is please to launch “Revolution They Wrote: Short Works Feminist Theatre and Performance Festival”, which will feature new feminist works, from March 23 to March 26, where over a dozen artists will present works at the MainLine Gallery and MainLine Theatre spaces, in two separate series of performances (which begin each night at 8 p.m.), as well as special events.
Featured performances include: “Manners”, in which the privileged and spoiled daughter of an Earl finds herself falling for a humble footman with a secret past, though ‘footman’ may not be the best way to describe her love interest; “How To Be A Good Modern Woman”, an introductory course for women looking to assess their sad lives, and assert themselves into the world; “Fragments of Her Rising”, which explores the role of sexuality and intersectionality in the lives of two very different women: “Like Jane”, which deals with the trial of Brock Turner in September of last year, in which Turner was accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman at a fraternity party. This play is constructed from personal stories and verbatim trial documents, this piece aims to explore modern rape culture and what it means for young women today; “Crybaby”, which consists of pieces of songs that remind you of your dad in college, the smell of chlorine, your mother’s hand writing, a card you made for your sister; “At Home with Gisèle”, which supplies the modern women with tips and tricks via the charming and very kitsch character of Gisèle, a paradox of the woman in the 80s, stuck between the celebrations of social gains and the desire of disassociation from the feminist movement; “tldr; smh”, which deals with a Kurdish pop star who performs her hit number with an entourage of the finest middle-eastern dancers. A series of online conversations construct her technological self-portrait of the private / public processing of abuse and sexual violence.
Tickets for the Revolution They Wrote Festival range between $10 and $25, and are available for purchase by calling 514-849-3378 or going to www.mainlinetheatre.ca
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Montreal’s primo indie festival, the ShazamFest, will take place from July 13-16. In order to create some pre-festival buzz, the 4th annual edition of the Shazamy Awards (aka the “Shazamys”) will take place this Saturday (March 18) from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. at the Matahari Loft, located at 1673 Mount Royal East.
Shazamy statuettes, as well as festival passes, will be given to the winners who are nominated in 10 offbeat categories including “Most Glamourous Skater”, “Best Underwear”, “Most Likely to Get Lost in the Woods”, and “Most Likely to Survive the Apocalypse”. As well, the evening will feature a line-up of live entertainment, including DJ sets by Da Joint Doctor and DJ Raymond, burlesque performances by Koston Kreme and Cherie Coquette, and live music by The Firing Squad and Zaya Solange & The Elevation.
Tickets for the Shazamy Awards are $10 each, which includes an entry for a draw to win a pair of ShazamFest Weekend Passes. For more information, go to www.shazamfest.com