"Le promenoir" starting from the NAC Studio
Ottawa, 7 May 2014 – To close its 2013-14 season, the Théâtre français invites you to leave the theatre in order to discover Le promenoir, a walkabout show that takes place at four stations both inside and outside the NAC. Featuring some fifty artists, artisans and citizens from the Ottawa-Gatineau region, it is directed by Christian Lapointe and designed by innovative young artists (Simon Guibord, Véronique Guitard, Catherine Levasseur-Terrien, Jason St-Laurent and Stefan St-Laurent). Le promenoir is a multidisciplinary ramble aimed at creating new links between art and the community. Presented in the form of enquiries into different facets of life in our community, the artists have decided to pursue the authenticity of poetry generated by a collective writing process. Three performances per night will take place from May 14 to 17 at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. The departure point is the NAC Studio lobby, and the stroll lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes (including walking time and intermission).
Presented in different forms – audio, poems, performance art, slam poetry – the four pieces (each of which addresses the difficulty of being) can be interpreted independently. Staging them together allows the spectator to establish invisible links between them, with each piece an echo and a reflection of the others, so that they fuse together in our memory. As viewers out for a stroll, we are both spectators and creators of sounds and images that we encounter.
“Since poetry is, I imagine, a phenomenon of association or of establishing connections between things that a priori are not generally placed together, it compels us to understand the world in new ways. It is hard for poetry to remain deaf to the hearts of those who make it spring to life.”
Christian Lapointe, artistic director.
The source of this walkabout, multidisciplinary project – its motor of deployment and its destination – is the community of Ottawa-Gatineau, which for the past forty years has been supporting the artists fervently working at the NAC’s Théâtre français.
Station 1 – Irregular Perceptions
Conceived by Simon Guibord, this station takes place in the Studio. It features testimonials from the public regarding the question of sound and silence, reflections on our acoustic space. In an immersive sound environment, this video installation uses tones associated with writing as its source of organic creation.
Station 2 – Song from the Heart
Conceived by Jason and Sefan St-Laurent and exhibited in the depths of the NAC loading dock, the installation Chanson du cœur is an artistic encounter that combines video with performance and sound. Transformed into a karaoke bar, the loading dock becomes a place where adults give testimonials that give voice to their inner child, revealing their forgotten dreams, unquenched desires and inevitable failures.
Station 3 – Hercules / Burnout
Conceived by Christian Lapointe, the third station takes the audience to the NAC’s outdoor terrace. The presentation is a unique incursion into the reality of individuals who have overcome severe cases of professional burnout. Projected on windows in the offices of four managers, their tales are interspersed with re-workings of ancient texts involving the myth of the twelve labours of Hercules.
Station 4 – Prosody
Conceived by Véronique Guitard and Catherine Levasseur-Terrien, the last station takes place under the bridge next to the NAC. Prosodie is a choral score based on a compilation of virtual portraits written in 140 characters by local adolescents. Presented by professional and amateur singers, this choral polyphony offers a reflection on the notions of community, identity and virtuality.
Instructions for Spectators
- Spectators move from station to station on foot. While distances are short, they also involve staircases.
- Those with reduced mobility or who are not sure they can comfortably walk to each station should inform ushers beforehand, and will be given the opportunity to use a wheelchair along an alternative route.
- The performance will take place regardless of the weather. Spectators are asked to keep their coats with them and to bring raingear in the event of rain. Umbrellas are to be avoided, as they block the view for others. Those in need of a raincoat can obtain one at intermission.
- The second station (loading dock) includes a cash bar, where payment is in cash only.
Artistic Director: Christian Lapointe // Conceived by: Simon Guibord, Véronique Guitard, Christian Lapointe, Catherine Levasseur-Terrien, Jason St-Laurent and Stefan St-Laurent // Project Manager: Véronique Lavoie-Marcus // Produced by: NAC’s Théâtre français