Les voisines

by Arianna Bardesono

About the Artist:

A native of Italy, Arianna has been part of the Montreal community since 2005.

She has directed for Repercussion Theatre (Macbeth), Teesri Duniya Theatre (Truth and Treason and The Poster), Infinitheatre (Plucked, Hammered and Strung) and Théâtre du Quat’Sous (Possible Worlds, French version).

Arianna has been the co-founder and co-artistic director of the independent theatre company Odelah Creations, whose mandate has been to create original daring work, committed to innovation both in form and content (in absentia, Ties and Adam’s Rib).

Arianna has directed in Mexico for Cuatro Milpas Teatro (Mariana Olas) and has been the touring director for A Woman in Waiting by Yael Farber both in the Arab Emirates and in Azerbaijan.

Arianna has been a resident artist at the Stella Adler School of Acting in NYC (I-dem) as well as La Tohu (Circo Minimo). As a puppeteer with Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia she has toured extensively throughout North America and in Singapore.

She has worked with dancers, choreographers and video artists, and is constantly searching for opportunities to expand her multi-disciplinary collaborations.

Arianna has been awarded the John Hirsch Prize in 2013, which selects and celebrates emerging theatre directors with great potential.

Arianna has mentored various artists through the MAI Mentorship program since 2011 and currently teaches both at the National Theatre School and Dawson College.

Arianna is a graduate of the Directing Program at the National Theatre School of Canada and she is currently pursuing her Master’s studies in écriture scenique at UQÀM.





Artist Statement

“In French, the word “voisin” means both “close” and “neighbour”. The core of this project is my interest in the physical closeness, the relational distance and the complex exchange between the Hasidic Montreal community and their neighbours; more specifically the intersecting human space between Hasidic and Quebecois Women.

Besides the unsatisfied wish for connection, the curiosity around the different and the secretive, there is something else about these women, which haunts me. The Hasidic community seems to me a visible anachronism in Montreal; they make me think of Amish communities I have encountered in the United States. They remind me even more of the way my mother and her generation of catholic women lived their life. My mother’s was the last generation of women who were taken out of school at age 14 (when compulsory education ended in Italy at that time) in order to help with housework and to prepare for her future married life. My mother gave her life to her children, while supporting her husband as he followed his career path. I grew up in Italy where family, community and a certain aspect of religion were intrinsic values of social life; much like Quebec before the 1960s. Immigrating to contemporary Quebec has meant leaving that world behind and embracing a life of greater freedom. I had left in search of independence and secularism. But when something is gained something else is lost: while parting with tradition, I gave up a sense of support, security and community.

The work I am planning to develop is not a traditional theatrical venture based on playwriting. Creating Les voisines means devising a theatrical performance where meaning is constructed by the interplay of content and the live experiential aspect of the performance. The potential of truly meeting the other could be found in one-on-one encounters, through connection in presence and reciprocal openness. With this thought in mind, a burning question has emerged in my reflections: could theatre facilitate an encounter between a Hasidic woman and a goy (secular person) without transgressing the religious rules of Hasidic Judaism?”