NAC French Theatre launches 2024 Collective activities and presents Le virus et la proie

In November, NAC French Theatre tackles politics in all its expressions and contradictions


November 6, 2023 – OTTAWA (Canada) – With the 2023–24 season well underway, NAC French Theatre is preparing to present the Nouveau Théâtre Expérimental’s production of Le virus et la proie (“the virus and the prey”) and to host the first working meeting of the 2024 Collective. 

Le virus et la proie, the acclaimed wake-up call by intellectual Pierre Lefebvre, is directed by Benoît Vermeulen, French Theatre’s former Associate Artist, Youth Programming, who has adapted the text for four exceptional actors: Tania Kontoyanni, Alexis Martin, Ève Pressault and Madani Tall.

This letter to an all-purpose power figure retains its original voice, using lacerating language to denounce the brutality of a dehumanizing social system:

You won’t read this letter. That’s my fault. I don’t have the imagination or the strength or whatever to make you hear me. No matter how much I shout, mumble, whisper, scream or roar, the result is the same: ridiculous. I don’t know how to bridge the distance between us or make it any shorter. I’d like to be able to wear it down, to settle into the length of time, to make it brittle through sheer patience, like water on rock, until one day it suddenly bursts through, but I can’t do that either.”

—Pierre Lefebvre, Le virus et la proie (transl.)

Lucid, sensitive and ironic, Le virus et la proie is a direct attack on the violence of the status quo, and above all a plea for poetry, for everything within us that is fragile and so difficult to name.

The November 25 performance is presented with English subtitles.


Sound Installation

It’s in this context that French Theatre, in association with local artists and teachers, created Les voix de la génération Z, a sound installation that echoes the concepts behind Pierre Lefebvre’s text. The audience will be able to hear the heartfelt demands of today’s youth, which are also addressed to “Sir.” To create the piece, slam poet David Dufour, a.k.a. D-Track, led a writing workshop for local students, who were given the assignment of writing a poetic manifesto. A dozen or so were selected to give voice to their manifestos in the Transistor Média studio, and the resulting podcast can be heard in the lobby of the Azrieli Studio.


Mani reçoit Pierre Lefebvre

On Wednesday, November 22, the opening night of Le virus et la proie, Mani Soleymanlou will be joined by author Pierre Lefebvre as part of the Grandes rencontres du Théâtre français discussion series. The conversation will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the NAC Salon.


2024 Collective’s First Workshop

The same day will see the official launch of the 2024 edition of the Collective, an annual project initiated by Mani Soleymanlou and supported by Théâtre du Rideau Vert. The team will meet for two days in an NAC rehearsal room to begin its work.

The 2024 cohort will be directed by writer, director and artistic director (of Théâtre Denise-Pelletier) Claude Poissant. For the occasion, he commissioned a script from playwrights François Archambault and Gabrielle Chapdelaine. The play, Faire le bien, will be presented in September 2024, and performed by nine recent theatre school graduates: Xavier Bergeron (Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Montréal), Anaelle Boily Talbot (École de théâtre professionnel du Collège Lionel-Groulx), Mehdi Boumalki (École supérieure de théâtre de l’UQAM), Simon Champagne (École de théâtre du Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe), Joephillip Lafortune (Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Montréal), Christophe Levac (National Theatre School of Canada), Elizabeth Mageren (National Theatre School of Canada), Charlotte Richer (University of Ottawa Theatre Department Conservatory), and Léa Roy (Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Montréal). These young performers will share the stage with experienced actor Eve Landry, well known to theatre and TV audiences.

“Doing good comes down to little stories of toxic positivity—to situations, sometimes banal, sometimes radical, sometimes absurd, imbued with consensual benevolence. They are dramatic vignettes that shine a light on the blind spots of what is considered ‘the right thing to do according to my values.’

Between hope and discomfort, here are young humans zigzagging, nearly 25 years into a more than imperfect new millennium, from the ridiculous to the rigid, from the valiant gesture to the dark underside, seeking their horizon amid thousands of confusing particles.”

—Claude Poissant, director of the 2024 Collective (transl.)

Between denouncing neo-liberalism and affirming the right, these different projects will address politics in a variety of ways, reflecting one of the fundamental and complex concerns of theatre: living together.



Azrieli Studio

November 22, 23 and 24 at 8pm, as well as November 25 at 4pm

On the Friday, the performance, offered with English subtitles, will be followed by a talkback with the artists.

Tickets: $37

Under30 tickets are for anybody under the age of 30, at $15

All my Relations: $15 tickets welcoming the Indigenous community

To purchase tickets, visit or call 1-844-985-2787 (ARTS). To find out what you need to know before accessing the building and facilities, click:

Visit the NAC website to learn more about the 2023-2024 NAC French Theatre season.



The National Arts Centre Foundation would like to thank Lead Donor, the Slaight Family Foundation, Supporting Partner of French Theatre, Québecor, and Official Hotel Partner, Embassy Hotel & Suites.



The National Arts Centre is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams — the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety — and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation.





Sylvain Lavoie

Communications Strategist, French Theatre

National Arts Centre


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