By means of a language class and a citizenship test, immigrants will be your guide as you make your way in a country where the foreigner is… you.
A sharp eye, acerbic humour. Olivier Choinière, who delighted the FTA in 2012 with Chante avec moi, examines, as only he can, the embarrassing discrepancy between reality and the fantasized image we project of our country. Twisting the codes of both theatre and the photo story, this essential figure of Quebec theatre is joined onstage by Quebec actors and immigrant non-actors who, armed with recordings of conversations from the 1960s, confront the audience with the contradictions and paradoxes of a Canadian Quebec in 2015.
You are no longer a spectator. You are an immigrant about to pass a citizenship test. You will discover your country, its climate, its politics, its architecture, its codes of courtesy and its bafflegab. In Polyglotte, people termed foreigners or outsiders – even though they are part of us – seize the tools in the arsenal that we use to mold them into good Canadians and turn them against our comfort and our good intentions. Brilliantly malicious.
PRODUCED BY L’ACTIVITÉ
WRITTEN, EDITED AND CO-DIRECTED BY OLIVIER CHOINIÈRE
CO-DIRECTED BY ALEXIA BÜRGER
PERFORMED BY GERMAN BARRAGAN + TATIANA BURTIN + MIRLANDE FLEURIOT + MONDIANA FRANÇOIS + SAMIRA GHORBANI + MAHMOUD SHAWKY HAMED ALI + NGA (AMY) PHAN + AMGAD HABIB RAOUF GERGES SOLIMAN + PAMELA ROBERTSON + MIREILLE TAWFIK + FARLENE THELISDORT
STAGE, COSTUME AND PROPS DESIGN ELEN EWING
LIGHTING DESIGN AND VIDEO GONZALO SOLDI
SOUND DESIGN ÉRIC FORGET
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR CAMILLE GASCON
COPRODUCTION FESTIVAL TRANSAMÉRIQUES
WRITTEN BY PAUL LEFEBVRE
TRANSLATED BY NEIL KROETSCH
PREMIERED AT FESTIVAL TRANSAMÉRIQUES, MONTREAL, ON MAY 31, 2015
OLIVIER CHOINIÈRE + ALEXIA BÜRGER | L'ACTIVITÉ (Montreal)
THEATRE AS A MACHINE TO BE DECIPHERED
Interested in the invisible codes that are a consequence of suppressing the past or of mass culture, and their attendant social and political conditioning, the writer and director Olivier Choinière seeks to upend these familiar forms so as to reveal to spectators the filters that prevent us from accessing the present and our true selves.
Drawing freely from familiar history and politics (Autodafé, 1999; Mommy, 2013), as well as B movies (Agromorphobia, 2001), audio-guided tours (Bienvenue à – (une ville dont vous êtes le touriste), 2005), online games (Nom de domaine, 2012), the cult of celebrity (Félicité, 2007) and popular music concerts (Chante avec moi, 2010), he focuses on destabilizing the expectations of the audience in order to redefine our perceptions of reality. His style often reflects an iconoclastic attitude toward the act of theatre itself, as seen in Projet blanc (2011), where the audience listened to critical commentary in their headphones as they watched a performance of Molière’s The School for Wives at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde. Recently his play Ennemi public was presented at Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui, where he also directed and presented 26 lettres : abécédaire des mots en perte de sens. In 2014 he received the Siminovitch Prize, Canada’s most prestigious theatre award.