MARIE BRASSARD is probably one of Quebec’s most renowned artists, who gained recognition after spending several years touring with another famous Quebec artist from the theatre world, Robert Lepage. She ended up founding her own company, INFRAROUGE, which also produces her shockingly beautiful performances. Brassard’s work is quite abstract, and she clearly doesn’t focus on narratives; her work goes well beyond simple theatre. She dismantles the rules of playwriting, demonstrating that she’s been influenced by dance, literature and music. She puts all of these elements together onstage, often in a novel, provocative fashion. One could easily say that Marie Brassard is one of the most interesting avant-garde artists in the Montreal cultural scene today.
Montrealers already had the chance to see her latest play, L’invisible, in May at the Usine C. It’s probably her most extreme piece, inspired by ghosts and Berlin’s post-war era. I remember it was a harsh, harrowing experience that left me feeling empty and shaken. I can’t wait to see two of her older works presented at the CENTAUR THEATRE from November 25 to 29 and from December 2 to 6. Internationally acclaimed in New York, Dublin and Toronto, Jimmy is the story of a homosexual hairdresser born out of the dream of a homophobic American soldier in the 1950s. Jimmy is a reflection on storytelling and persona that explores the meaning of our dreams and the subconscious. It’s a thoughtful, surrealistic tale that analyzes our human nature and desires. Just a few days after that, you can catch The Glass Eye, a tribute to Louis Negin, a famous entertainer who worked for over 40 years in the movie and theatre industry. Inspired by Negin’s play Polo’s Fantasy, a faux memoir, The Glass Eye recounts the life of a young man locked inside his mother’s house in Toronto, who wishes to move to Montreal and become famous. In the same vein as Jimmy, Brassard’s The Glass Eye is a disturbing story about fame, theatre, sex and love, and it embraces the myths of modern civilization to mock them and deconstruct their meaning.
As I mentioned earlier, Marie Brassard’s work isn’t exactly your average theatrical offering, but it’s not a dance show either. It’s something completely different that touches all of the senses, and it’s anything but straightforward. Don’t expect to see something you’ve already seen before; you have to accept the fact your normal expectations will be shaken by this intense experience. If you’re courageous enough to enter her bizarre, unstable world, you’ll surely have some insight into the future of theatre and dramatic multidisciplinary presentations.