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Motel Hélène

Drama in one long act by Serge Boucher premiered by Théâtre Petit à Petit at Espace Go, March 4, 1997, with Maude Guérin, François Papineau and Stéphane Gagnon, directed by René Richard Cyr, with costumes by Lyse Bédard, set by Réal Benoît and lights by Michel Beaulieu. It subsequently toured Quebec. Papineau won for best actor at the Masques Awards, 1998. The play was nominated for a Governor General’s Award, 1998. Translated by Morwyn Brebner and adapted by Judith Thompson, it was produced in April 2000 by Tarragon Theatre directed by Jackie Maxwell, with Brandon McGibbon, Tony Nappo and Jane Spidell. In November, 1999, it was presented on television by Télé-Québec with the premiere's cast and directed by Cyr.

With the discovery and presentation of this work Théâtre Petit à Petit delivered, in spades, the promise the company had been making with its public since its inception. It also proved that Cyr was not only a director of light-and-set operas but that he had as sure an eye for human detail as is possible in theatre.

The play, a quiet drama after the drama, had a devastating impact on audiences and critics. Gaëtan Charlebois, of the Mirror, voicing part of the near-unanimous praise for the piece wrote, "There are times when I wish the readers of my column would not go to see a particular play...I want to give it all away: the skill of the artists, the heights this production reaches, the magnificent play that is at the source of all their efforts."

Johanne and Mario have lost their child when he went missing from their apartment. Two years has passed. The wounds have not healed. Mario no longer lives with Johanne, but they try to bring life back into their relationships through desperate, sad sex, silly games and any small thing that can keep them from the past. Watching this working-class couple's struggle is a young gay man who works in his father's convenience store in the same building as the apartment. He records their activities, and becomes the keeper of their secrets, at the same time, gradually revealing his own desperation.

The play is structured as a series of short scenes, like camera snapshots, in which the characters tell their stories, express their fantasies, and respond to the bizarre and violent world in which they live.

Commentary by Gaetan Charlebois.

Last updated 2020-07-17