Missed threads? | Tale for orphan clowns

The coincidence was too great to pass up. Upon realizing that two clowns he knew were fatherless, Jean-François Nadeau immediately felt that there was cause for a spectacle.

The thing is indeed astonishing. René Bazinet and David-Alexandre Després, two Quebec clowns who shone notably under the big tops of Cirque du Soleil, never knew their father. Or so little. A question then appeared in the always fertile brain of Jean-François Nadeau: can a fatherless actor become anything other than a clown?

“The answer is yes, obviously,” says the playwright and director of the project. But for the purposes of the show, we imagined that not…” In a nod to the successful book by psychoanalyst Guy Corneau, he chose to title his piece Missed threads?

In talking with René Bazinet and David-Alexandre Després (DAD for short), it is clear that the absence of a father figure opened the way to their clown career.

“I have always been awkward in society,” says the first, born in Germany and raised with a mother who was a barmaid. “I was bullied my whole childhood. It was only during my studies in Quebec, at John Abbott College, that I discovered that I had the power to touch people, to make them laugh. » This power led him first to Paris, where he did street theater after a stint at Jacques Lecoq’s physical theater school. Since then, he has toured the world, notably with the show Saltimbanco from Cirque du Soleil. “I made all nationalities laugh!” » He also taught the art of clowning to several local actors.


René Bazinet (left) and David-Alexandre Després shone under the big tops of Cirque du Soleil.

David-Alexandre Després, for his part, remembers always making his mother and aunts laugh when he was a child. “I didn’t want to be an actor, but a racing driver,” he recalls. I compensated for the absence of a father with very masculine dreams! » He finally ended up at the Montreal Conservatory of Dramatic Art, then on the stages of the world with Kurios And Drawn to Life from Cirque du Soleil. “I became a clown without wanting to,” he says.

“There is a fault in René and DAD created by the absence of the father,” believes Jean-François Nadeau. They have within them a pain of abandonment and a desire to please in a profession associated with entertainment. But they also carry a guilt of not having been worth the trouble… What we are doing here is of the order of exorcism. »

Clown for adults

How can these atypical journeys, these intimate stories built around a hole left gaping, be transposed onto stage? “I clearly wanted to get away from documentary theater,” says the director. “We present the sublime lives of these two men. We are in vulnerability and honesty, but not necessarily in the real story. »

I also wanted to rehabilitate the clown for adults. The clown is often associated with a naive and childish art with his red nose. Unlike the jester, the clown does not make fun of everything. There is always a form of exposure.

Jean-François Nadeau, playwright and director

Jean-François Nadeau wanted to offer the two performers a score where human defects would have their place. “I worked a lot in improvisation with them. Together we touched on areas of awkwardness or immodesty. Their body is truly the main character of this show. » So he sprinkled here and there a little mime, physical theater, text, music and a few pearls taken from Missing father, missing son by Corneau.

A clown choreography, in a way? “No longer a heart-graphy”, nuance David-Alexandre Després.


The two performers worked a lot through improvisation to develop this show.

These artists, accustomed to presenting 10 shows a week in front of thousands of people, will meet in the intimacy of La Petite Licorne, a room with barely 100 seats. “Playing in front of 3,000 people doesn’t intimidate me,” says Davis-Alexandre Després. But there, I find a form of intimacy that I must re-tame. Especially since I’m coming back to do theater in Montreal after a six-year detour. »

However, intimacy in all its forms is difficult to understand for these two orphan clowns. “I don’t know what it is to be a man, because I didn’t have a father,” explains René Bazinet. For me, intimacy is scary. It will be a challenge to find myself so close to the public…”

Jean-François Nadeau concludes: “It takes patience to direct clowns! Especially when they are virtuosos like these two. They are truly performers with extraordinary comic physical talent…”

Missed threads? is presented from April 2 to 19 at La Petite Licorne.

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Also on display

The producers


Serge Postigo in rehearsal with the cast of the musical THE producers

After having successfully defended it in Paris for two years, the actor Serge Postigo reprises the character of Max Bialystock in Quebec, in the popular musical comedy The producers. He is surrounded on stage by Tommy Joubert (Leopold Bloom) and the French performer Marianne Orlowski (Ulla Inga Hansen), among others, in the production bringing together 24 artists, including 6 musicians. Postigo is also directing, translating and adapting this new Quebec version of Mel Brooks’ masterpiece. The work premiered on Broadway in 2001 remains the most awarded musical in Broadway history, with 12 Tony Awards.

At Espace Saint-Denis, until April 14; then at the Capitole de Québec, from June 27

Luc Boulanger, The Press

Consult the part page

Needles and opium


Actor and director Olivier Normand is now reprising Robert Lepage’s classic Needles and opium, at Le Diamant Theater.

The actor and director Olivier Normand is reprising Robert Lepage’s classic these days at the Diamant Needles and opium. This emblematic show from the work of Robert Lepage, created in 1991, has often been performed; the director made a new version in 2015, for Ex Machina. In recent years, the actor from Quebec has become a “Lepagian” actor. Normand took over from Lepage with the revival of his play Courville, at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, last September. Previously, he revisited Lepage’s solo, the marvelous Vinci, in a new version presented at Périscope in 2015. Olivier Normand was also in the cast of the show Card games. Heartat TOHU, in Montreal, in 2014.

Au Diamant, in Quebec, from April 4 to 14

Luc Boulanger, The Press

Consult the part page

The Indigenous communities ofTo the Stables!


Mashinikan as part of the Autochtoneries of Aux Écuries

The Les Autochtoneries festival will be held from April 11 to 21 at the Théâtre Aux Écuries. This festival presents five works highlighting the vivacity and diversity of Indigenous theatrical art. “This program represents who we are as a theater company,” recalls Marco Collin, co-artistic director of Productions Menuentakuan. The company brings together a Wendat (Charles Bender), an Innu (Collin) and a non-native (Xavier Huard). The co-directors like to “shake up the rules and preconceptions, to the point of reversing roles and mixing identities in the different shows they have created since their foundation ten years ago”. Hence the name “Autochtoneries”, which underlines “the singularity of the festival in addition to the self-deprecation and their collective spirit”.

At the Stables, from April 11 to 21

Luc Boulanger, The Press

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Fifteen Dogs


Fifteen Dogs, starring Mirabelle Sundar Singh, will be presented at the Segal in April.

The Segal Center presents a theatrical adaptation of the novel Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis, winner of the Giller Prize in 2015. Fifteen Dogs tells the story of 15 dogs who were granted human consciousness by the gods Hermes and Apollo. As dogs navigate the complexities of thought and emotion, they must confront questions of morality, mortality, and relationships with humans. This is a production by Crow’s Theater in Toronto, directed by Marie Farsi. The cast stars Mirabelle Sundar Singh and Amy Rutherford, among others.

At the Segal Center, until April 21

Luc Boulanger, The Press

Consult the part page

Cutting Through the Noise


Cutting Through the Noise

Choreographer Alexandre Morin is beginning to make his mark on the Montreal and Quebec dance landscape with his company Other Animals, co-founded with sound and visual artist Jonathan Goulet. After standing out last year at the Agora de la danse with Anatomy of an enginehe is back with Cutting Through the Noise, a creation for 11 performers. Described as an “energy journey”, the piece takes the form of a quest for identity in a world dominated by screens, where the strength of the collective, the exaltation provided by the body and music become solutions to solitude and isolation.

At the Agora de la danse, from April 4 to 6

Iris Gagnon-Paradis, The Press

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reference: www.lapresse.ca

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