Riches and pains of parental mythologies

The profusion of solos on our stages seems to lead to a convergence of (auto) biographical shows. This is how three very different works will be showing in the coming weeks, but all of which have their source in a family past, with a parent. Cross conversations.

At La Licorne – where last spring, Marie-Ève ​​Perron evoked the mourning of her father in Of your strength to live –, Sarianne Cormier creates Mythology, a first solo inspired by his mother. A woman who, at 54, decided to change her life, leaving her home without announcing it in advance, to start anew in the city of her childhood. “What makes someone do this?” asked the actress. Before leaving, my mother gave me a suitcase which contained objects left over from her youth: clothes, sewing books. It is as if she had given me the tools to tell her life story and to better understand what she wanted to flee. “

And she felt indebted: her mother, poorly educated, who came to Montreal in the hope of working but having had a very young family, sacrificed a lot so that Sarianne Cormier could achieve a career that she herself did not have. . “She worked in a sausage factory to allow me to study at the Conservatory. “

The short filmmaker, who wrote often about her father – “he’s really funny” – sought to give her mother a gift “that big” in return. “I had never found the right way to tell my mother’s story, because there is a lot of fragility. We talk about mental health in my grandmother’s time, about the fact that we can be at the end of the line, as a woman, when we haven’t had the life we ​​wanted, and we have to stay in an unhappy marriage. “

Her autofiction is based on maternal objects and on childhood memories of which she has not validated the exact truth, because she preferred to preserve her family myths. “The narrator is different from me because what I’m saying isn’t quite that. And I am not saying everything. A family is much more complex than a story. “

This tribute combining theater and cinema, which she compares to “a museum presentation” on the life of her mother – who will come to see the show -, did him good. “There is something that has really calmed down. She wrote to understand the maternal gesture. Especially since his grandmother had also left his life, one day. “Have I been cast a spell that will make me, I do that, run away?” I was like, “No, it’s not me.” But at the same time, to ward off the curse, I needed to exorcise it. “

Rediscovering your great-uncle

It is precisely the reading of Wife who was (!) which inspired Jocelyn Sioui his Mononk Jules, first published as an essay (Éditions Hannenorak), but which he immediately intended for documentary theater. The creator, actor and puppeteer was surprised to find a reference to his great-uncle Wendat. “In a short chapter, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette recounts that her grandmother took part in a demonstration to support the fight of a Huron. Or Jules Sioui.

Armed with archives that his father had kept, he therefore undertook an investigation of this relative whom he knew above all in a “legendary way” (“people told his stories a bit like mythology”). A story he already knew was important, “but not how important.” I discovered that it is a monument of Aboriginal history, which stirred up a lot in the 1940s, and which had disappeared from radar ”.

Jules Sioui’s struggle began when the Canadian government wanted to force conscription on Aboriginal people – when they did not even have the right to vote. “He was a great unifier. In 1943 he managed to bring together some fifty chefs in Ottawa, a first. He started a movement that became the Assembly of First Nations. He had a tremendous impact on Indigenous activism. His struggle then culminated in the 1950s with a 72-day hunger strike to gain First Nations independence. “

Jocelyn Sioui exposes the different facets of this “tragic hero” without hiding his flaws. “There is one whole aspect of his life that is very dark. He was accused of – at the time it was called gross indecency – pedophilia. And this story of course marred his life. There are several reasons that can lead to erasing stories. Mononk Jules also probes – this is very topical – our relationship to History, our way of preserving it. What makes a story told or not? “

In addition to the life of his grandfather, the author wanted to relate the “indigenous version of history”, the one that has not been taught. If the factual narrative is “very true”, the way of telling “oscillates between the tale and the documentary”. Between animated models and video projections, the creator plays with form, for the sake of accessibility.

The solo also has a personal dimension, Sioui recounting “the emotions that these discoveries aroused in me. I do not do it shamelessly, but to highlight the different aspects of the text ”. He wanted to make the public follow the same path he has taken, especially the feelings caused by ignorance of history. “I think the staff bring a lot of humanity to the show. It’s a way of getting in direct contact with people, talking to them in the ear and telling them: it’s okay, because I myself didn’t know. “

Childhood memories

In 2016, Chloé Lacasse saw her father died of cancer, ten years after her mother. Mourning that has profoundly transformed the singer-songwriter, also an actress by training. From there was born Clear waters, a three-part hybrid project, where the design of the scenic object preceded that of the eponymous album. An autofiction whose trigger was his return to the family home. “By dint of living in a place where the light and the sounds have not changed for 30 years, a lot of things have reappeared, through the senses. Very bright memories of childhood. But also reminiscences of his mourning. “All of this makes it a work that tells my life, my story, but also that of everyone, including childhood and death. “

Rather “reserved”, she felt that she nevertheless had to “have the courage to be frank.” But this “very existential” story is accompanied by modesty. And a step back. “We go a long way in certain details, but it is very far from the diary. It is a work written from a digested mourning. And if she reveals her own emotions, she was very careful to respect the privacy of the missing. “Me, I can accept to reveal myself as much as possible, if that helps the work. But my mother, who didn’t love the demonstration, wouldn’t have been okay with a sprawl of her life, or her very image. So we stayed very restrained. It’s important to me, because she’s not here to accept it anymore. “

The text, sometimes spoken, sometimes set to music, connects snatches of memories, these “moments that form a life”. Surrounded by three musicians, “bathed” in the images of visual artist Sarah Seené, Chloé Lacasse draws above all a tribute to the little things of everyday life. “After the grief I went through, I realized that what was left to me the most was not the big events. These were the little details that don’t seem important when you see them, but which, taken together, are very rich. This is what creates the link. This is what we miss, strangely. I am told that it is a show that stirs a lot, but which is very bright. There is nothing like being faced with death to make us want to live! So I hope that there comes a desire to take advantage of all these fleeting moments that we often pass quickly. “

Text and staging: Sarianne Cormier. At La Petite Licorne from September 27 to October 16.

Mononk Jules
Director, author and ideator: Jocelyn Sioui. At the Stables from October 19 to November 6, and at the Périscope in Quebec, from December 8 to 18.

Clear waters
Texts: Chloé Lacasse. Directed by: Benoit Landry. Creation: North North East. At Espace Go from October 12 to 16.

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