Freely adapted from the work of Jacob Wren
Co-directed by Chris Abraham and Christian Lapointe
from October 25 to October 30, 2011
Tuesday October 25: 8 pm
Wednesday October 26: 8 pm
Thursday October 27: 8 pm
Friday October 28: 7:45 pm
Saturday October 29: 8 pm
Sunday October 30: 3 pm
1182, St. Laurent Blvd., Montreal
St. Laurent or Place d'Armes Metro
Montréal, October 12, 2011 – The National Theatre School (NTS) will present its first-ever bilingual production, En français comme en anglais, it's easy to criticize, a newly-devised theatre event, freely adapted from the work of Jacob Wren, from October 25 to 30, 2011 at the Ludger-Duvernay Theatre of the Monument-National. Over the past year, some forty 2012 graduating actors, designers and artisans from the English and French sections of the School have been working with texts by Montreal-based iconoclast author Jacob Wren, to create a new and provocative piece about the connections between criticism, collaboration, translation, hope and despair. New – because both sections were asked to work together and find a common ground, and provocative – because it challenged them to speak about a world and a future in peril while grappling with what Jacob Wren defines as a position of “critical optimism”. Two theatrical traditions were brought together, under the guidance of co-directors Chris Abraham and Christian Lapointe, to think freely out of the box and to inventively co-create a dynamic theatre exploring the codes governing understanding and criticism.
“For the first time in our 50 years, the graduating classes of the French and English Sections are sharing the stage, wrestling with the big questions of language and translation, art and criticism—as they pertain to Canada, Quebec, and a wired world. The students have jumped in with courage and trepidation, finding poetry in the moments of collision. Their rehearsal hall this month is a crucible of awkward longings and disparate dreams. There are no answers, but there is risk, and with risk comes possibility,” said Sherry Bie, Artistic Director of the English Section.
“Motivated by the desire to look into a theatre in constant flux, to experiment with a non linear narrative structure, we were stimulated by the immensely significant and contrasting views on theatre and the world held by the young NTS-ÉNT actors and creators. We inhabit shared geographical and historical spaces yet we do not share the same language. We translate in order to understand one another and as we take tentative steps towards the other, we find a way, through translation, to exercise a form of critical optimism in relation to the world in which we all live. We are a politically dispossessed generation and we are in search of ways to repoliticize ourselves,.” explain Chris Abraham and Christian Lapointe.
En français comme en anglais, it's easy to criticize is inspired by the original performance of this Jacob Wren work, his personal blogs and two other published works; it pushes the actors, creators and directors to experiment with Wren’s take on the world and its incongruities.
Montreal-born Chris Abraham graduated from the NTS Directing Program in 1996; he is an award-winning – 4 Doras and for I Claudia, a Gemini - and critically acclaimed director; since 2007, he is the Artistic Director of Toronto’s Crow’s Theatre. Chris co-founded Bill Glassco’s Montreal Young Company and Go-Chicken-Go. He has directed several productions for Crow’s Theatre, notably the premiere of Piatagorsky’s Eternal Hydra and the Canadian Premiere of Martin Crimp’s The Country, in association with Calgary’s Theatre Junction. He works extensively across Canada: at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Manitoba Theatre Company (Winnipeg), Soulpepper Theatre (Toronto) and the Segal Centre (Montreal). Chris is the recipient of the John Hirsch and Ken MacDougall awards for emerging directors as well as the inaugural Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Protégé Award for directors. He teaches at the National Theatre School, English Section, where he co-directed the School’s Directing Program for two years, with Sarah Garton Stanley.
Playwright, director and actor Christian Lapointe is a 2005 graduate of the French Directing Program of the National Theatre School and the recipient of the 2010 John Hirsch Award and the 2007 Lou Siminovitch Protégé Award for directors through Brigitte Haentjens. He is known for his direction of symbolist plays as well as works from the “in-yer-face” repertoire. He produces and performs his own plays, most recently at Montreal’s Festival TransAmériques and the Carrefour international de théâtre de Québec. He has been invited to Berlin by the International Theatre Institute (UNESCO) to take part in a workshop on new dramaturgy. He recently mounted Vu d'ici and Limbes, in coproduction with the National Arts Centre’s French Theatre and his play C.H.S. was an official selection at the 2009 Avignon Festival. Christian teaches at the NTS, among others, where he encourages students to examine theatre in a whole new way. He is the Artistic Director of Théâtre Péril, a company he founded in 2000, in Quebec City, and “créateur associé” for Productions Recto-Verso.
Jacob Wren was born in Jerusalem in 1971; he is a writer and maker of eccentric performances. His books include: Unrehearsed Beauty, Families Are Formed through Copulation and Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed. As co-artistic director of the Montreal-based interdisciplinary group PME-ART, he has co-created: En français comme en anglais, it's easy to criticize, Unrehearsed Beauty/Le Génie des autres, La famille se crée en copulant and the ongoing Hospitalité/Hostpitality series. He has been invited by the Sophiensaele (Berlin) to adapt and direct Wolfgang Koeppen's Der Tod in Rom and was commissioned by Campo (Ghent) to collaborate with Pieter De Buysser on An Anthology of Optimism. He frequently writes about contemporary art. Read Jacob Wren’s blog.
En français comme en anglais, it's easy to criticize was created in 1998 by Jacob Wren in collaboration with Martin Bélanger, Caroline Dionne, Alexandra Rockingham Gill, Benoît Lachambre, Sylvie Lachance, Julie Andrée Tremblay and Tracy Wright.
This production is made possible through the support of:
AGF Management Ltd.
Foundation of Greater Montreal
Slaight Family Foundation
Location Jean Légaré
Marie Line Archambault
Juliane Desrosiers Lavoie
2012 Set & Costume Design and Production graduating students, English and French Sections
Assistant to the Directors
Set and Props Design
Gabriel d'Anjou Drouin
Sound Design and Musical Direction
Eric Pierre Blanchard
Angeline St. Amour
Ian Michael Costello
Assistant Sound Design
Head of Sound
Head Electrician and Assistant Lighting Design