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The subject of the ‘mother’ has inspired many artists over the millennia, it is therefore all the more exciting to discover a work that treats this familiar subject in an inventive and fresh new way. Such is the case with Lise Vaillancourt’s play The Crow.

In this piece, Lise explores the ‘mystery’ of the mother. The action follows a woman who struggles to understand her mother, who has never been able to connect to her. Lise uses this elusive, mysterious quality in her writing, creating a style that flirts with film noir, a sort of whodunnit of relationships. Her mother seems to magically appear and disappear, for no apparent reason, driving her daughter to distraction. In Lise’s words,

« La mère va en quelque sorte entraîner sa fille dans un monde irrationnel. Quand on cesse de faire appel à la raison, pour se fier à quelque chose de plus instinctif, on accède à cette partie de nous qui est la plus vivante et que paradoxalement on utilise le moins. Personnellement, la réalité m’apparaît toujours de façon étrange. Si j’écris, c’est en grande partie pour clarifier le monde dans lequel je vis. Je suis persuadé que c’est le fait de voir flou qui me permet d’être en écrivant à l’écoute des signes, d’admettre l’étrangeté, d’adhérer aux symboles, de m’écarter de ce qui est convenu. »

Lise beautifully writes about this enigmatic relationship and all its mystery, frustration, beauty, and importance with incredible playfulness. She creates a world with a touch of magic realism, thus including the fantastic into this apparent realism. She depicts it without nostalgia, does not romanticize it, but rather explores it with humour and directness. Lise draws a complex picture of the mother, this woman, flaws and all.

« Mais c’est la première fois, avec cette pièce, que je dépeins la mère dans sa réalité, sans détour. Si j’ai hésité si longtemps à aborder le rapport mère-fille de cette façon, disons, réaliste, c’est que je ne voulais pas donner dans la confrontation ou le conflit affectif, je voulais à tout prix éviter le psychologisme et le ressassement du passé. »

 

This piece is also a tribute to the mother. Through this detailed portrayal of this woman, we learn to respect the ‘mother’, her role, her struggles, her life. A light is shone on a person that seldom gets public recognition. Lise finds delight in giving the stage to an individual that we have continually excluded from the public sphere. And she does so with great imagination, humanity and love.

This play and its beautiful, complex mother-daughter dynamic has camptured Imago’s attention. First to parter with l’Unithéâtre in Edmonton to produce it for their francophone audiences, and once again to commission the English translation by Maureen Labonté and stage a reading at Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal on April 27th.

Don’t miss it – rsvp to joy@imagotheatre to reserve your seat!

Micheline Chevrier
Artistic Director – Imago Theatre