“Hosanna or the Scheherazade of the poor”: Hosanna in three stages

The Trident opens its season with Hosanna or the Scheherazade of the poor, unpublished collage of two works by Michel Tremblay which returns, half a century later, to the characters of Hosanna and Cuirette.

Directed by Maxime Robin (Tales to pass the time), who was entrusted with Olivier Arteau’s first set as artistic director, demonstrated audacity: the choice of stage man Luc Provost (Mado Lamotte) to the game, first, then the fusion that constitutes this Hosanna or the Scheherazade of the poor. At theHosanna from 1973 the show grafts the novel The poor man’s Scheherazade (2022), in which Michel Tremblay gives voice to the character of Hosanna.

To the 1960s and the discovery of an unexplored sexuality is added the contemporary story of a man with a tarnished shine. The show presents him to us on his balcony, aged and without artifice, during an interview given to the magazine Runaways. If his layers of play appear more limited, Luc Provost offers an even more threadbare Claude Lemieux, who looks back on his young years in the clubs of the Main, until this Halloween evening where he disguised himself as Cleopatra , simply to be mocked.

On a central stage at various stations (the Ogilvy store and its desired dresses, the stage of the “Sandra club”, Cuirette and Hosanna’s small apartment), in a festive atmosphere peppered with sound archives (the opening of ‘Expo 67 and the Montreal metro, the passage of General de Gaulle at city hall), the actor Vincent Roy (Cabaret) takes over to interpret these memories until the moment of the broken dream.

Getting fully into the story may take time, given this alternation between the events and their narration, which takes place on the court side in a slightly frozen discussion. This does not exclude a lively scene, where Valérie Laroche and Jonathan Gagnon shine: singing for the first, between Dufresne and Elvis, and in the shoes of a perfidious and spectacular Sandra for the second.

The clash of generations

Throughout the different stations of the show, however, the strong moments will emerge – the moments of intimacy between Hosanna and Cuirette, above all. If Vincent Roy’s game may sometimes lack complexity, there emerges a vulnerability which will hit the mark, in front of a Gabriel Fournier perfect in banality, thick, but not devoid of presence. Ariane Sauvé’s scenography, which invites the lights of Montreal and its warmth, offers a rich setting where bodies seek each other and where words advance with difficulty.

Here, the show deploys ambiguous and complex human material, in the words of an author known for his ability to accompany his characters as closely as possible, to descend to them.

It remains to wonder about the direction desired by Maxime Robin for this show, which, on the court side, digs into the angle of the “clash of generations”, which includes an interview which places Hosanna face to face with new discourses on gender identity. . The character’s doubts, his always active hesitations will find a narrow framework in the new names. “I’m a iel, now…”, an elderly Hosanna will say, without much conviction. The show, which offers no reconciliation on this point, above all shows how much the portrait has changed.

The key is undoubtedly to be found in the addition of a third actor (Josef Asselin and Philomène Robitaille, alternating) to interpret the Claude of youth and his discovery of a reprobate sensitivity. The stage thus offers no longer two, but three levels, which the director will use, pretty bridges telescoping the child into the adult. For this story of still open wounds, the show will seek to offer a space of love and acceptance.

Hosanna or the Scheherazade of the poor

Text: Michel Tremblay. Director: Maxime Robin. With Vincent Roy, Luc Provost, Josef Asselin, Gabriel Fournier, Jonathan Gagnon, Jacques Leblanc, Valérie Laroche, Carla Mezquita Honhon, Philomène Robitaille. A Trident production, until October 7.

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