Marie-Claude Verdier’s first text, created when she was only a teenager, already tackled a subject that was somewhat futuristic at the time. In 1999, his tale Paradise.com, integrated into the show The new Zurbains, evoked the Internet. The author, in particular, of We antipodes (mention at the Gratien-Gélinas Prize, in 2016), who signed in podcast Menlo Park, an adaptation of the novel The future Eve by French author Auguste Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, loves science fiction. A genre giving the possibility of tackling philosophical questions, “but in a very playful way”. “In a tale, we say: ‘Once upon a time’, and everyone accepts the game. There, we do it, but towards the future. Science fiction allows the maybe, lets look ahead. “
Science fiction also encourages imagining entire worlds. For Seeker, Marie-Claude Verdier thus invented a whole universe, a story spanning several eras, on Mars and on Earth. But she realized, after reading and working at the Center for Dramatic Authors (CEAD), that it was “much more intelligible” to focus her play on a single story. The author compares it to a window allowing one to see a room in the house, just part of a much larger whole. “Science fiction allows us to work on one aspect and ask ourselves: if we had memory implants, how would we function, how would society be built? It’s like thought experiments. We try such and such a thing in a fictional world to see what it might be like. “
Wearing a NASA sweater during our interview (she went to the Canadian Space Agency library to research her subject), Marie-Claude Verdier therefore imagined the Seekers, beings who, thanks to mutation, have the empathic ability to share memories of others. A creation that relies on several influences, novels as well as scientific sources. Including this idea expressed by the author-doctor Oliver Sacks: “We each have an interior monologue that we tell ourselves perpetually. Playing on human memory would therefore lead to questioning identity. “I work a lot in my works on the relationship to storytelling, on the way people relate to themselves as a person, and collectively as a society. How we can twist reality into our own fiction to match what we want to be. “
In truth, according to neurologists, memory is “so complex, so linked to emotions and human relationships that it would be impossible, for example, for me to read your memories,” adds Marie-Claude Verdier. It would be incomprehensible ”.
In this universe, Seekers are used a lot as witnesses by the legal system, since it is “based on intention”. “Did he really mean to kill?” Was she consenting or not? They can tell. And being extremely sensitive, it’s very difficult for them – much like performers can go through certain things. On the other hand, Seekers can go into the beauty of the human spirit. They have the possibility of “coming out of themselves” by having access to the knowledge of others. “The beauty of the Seeker is also that it has to tell about this experience. As an author …
Without revealing the plot of this thriller, in 2050 she confronts a Seeker (David Boutin) and his ex-wife (Madeleine Péloquin) in a military bunker, with state secrets to boot …
Marie-Claude Verdier understands why science fiction can scare the scene. For a theater with modest means, “it is impossible to side with what the cinema can do”. But its strength lies in evocation, the “truth of the embodied word”. Science fiction generally takes two forms in the theater, she says. “Either we have the very Fringe, with a slightly cardboard side, often parodies. We, [le metteur en scène] Justin Laramée and I really wanted to focus on a meeting. We bet on intimacy and bet on sobriety. That’s the big challenge: to evoke through the relationship between the two characters. So there was a lot of sound spatialization and lighting work. It’s a pretty formidable sound and light show, in a very small room. A case for a closed door. “