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NAC Co-production

  • A dramatic collage based on the writings of Nelly Arcan
  • Adapted and directed by Marie Brassard
  • Concept and development Sophie Cadieux

“I wish everyone could see him as he really is, his innermost self, his true nature.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009: Montreal writer Nelly Arcan, age 36, hanged herself in her apartment in Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal district. Thus ended her troubled life marked by a fierce passion for social sciences and books, a sordid stint as a professional escort, and the sensational publication of her fictionalized autobiography Putain (Whore) and her novel Folle (Hysteric). Winner of numerous prestigious prizes, she was thrust too soon into the blinding glare of the spotlight, and her writing reveals the multiple facets of a conflicted and kaleidoscopic identity devastated by suffering, inhabited by the cosmos, fascinated by death, troubled by gender confusion, concerned about society’s image of the female body, but also dazzled by hope. Too often dismissed by the media as just another beautiful blonde, Nelly Arcan is now rightly recognized as an important figure in contemporary literature, a writer whose exceptionally rhythmic prose gives expression to a volatile and mystical imagination. From a short but dense body of work that traces an inexorable path to the author’s self-sacrifice, Marie Brassard has extracted seven spellbinding monologues. With its seven adjoining spaces that seem both to imprison and to protect the performers, Antonin Sorel’s imposing yet sophisticated stage design gives tangible form to the contradictory voices inhabiting Arcan’s shattered psyche. Powerfully physical, interweaving despair, sensuality and brutality, this unforgettable show, a critical hit during its original run at Espace Go in 2013, comes to the NAC at last.


  • With Christine Beaulieu, Sophie Cadieux, Evelyne de la Chenelière, Larissa Corriveau, Johanne Haberlin, Julie Le Breton and Anne Thériault.
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Adaptation consultant and dramaturg: Daniel Canty
Assistant director and stage manager: Nadia Bélanger
Set design and props: Antonin Sorel
Lighting: Mikko Hynninen
Music: Alexander MacSween
Sound: Frédéric Auger
Costumes: Catherine Chagnon
Makeup: Jacques-Lee Pelletier
Hair: Patrick G. Nadeau
Production director: Anne McDougall

Original production: Espace Go
Produced by Infrarouge
Coproduced by NAC French Theatre

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