Street closures around the NAC during Ottawa Race Weekend

Le reste vous le connaissez par le cinéma: a decidedly modern and powerful Greek tragedy

Le reste vous le connaissez par le cinéma, a Carte Blanche production, in co-production with ESPACE GO and the National Arts Centre's French Theatre, will be on the Babs Asper Theatre from November 14 to 17, 2018. © Julie Charland

According to Christian Lapointe, the director of Le reste vous le connaissez par le cinéma (his translation of Martin Crimp's The Rest Will Be Familiar to You from Cinema), Crimp neither preaches nor writes message plays. Here, the British playwright transposes an ancient Greek myth that continues to resonate today as if time had stood still.

The play, which will be performed as part of the NAC's French Theatre program from November 14 to 17, is a radical take on Euripides' Phoenician Women, a drama that tackles questions of alternating power, dictatorship and democracy.

The director, who has followed Crimp's writing, translation and teaching work for years, has himself come up with a new translation of the play, which is noteworthy for its orality – hence the decision to use Quebec French. 

 Lapointe notes that: "Crimp's dialogue is meant to be spoken in everyday language, and Quebec French is a language, not an accent.  There is no need to look to Paris to render the great myths. Our own language brings out the inherent humour and enables us to identify with the historical figures."

Speaking of long-term relationships, the artistic collaboration between Christian Lapointe and the NAC goes back nearly 20 years.

As Lapointe puts it: "I am in constant dialogue with the institution. I could even be described as a child of NAC French Theatre, having worked on Denis Marleau's first three lab productions in the early 2000s, not to mention the subsequent co-productions with Wajdi Mouawad and, currently, with Brigitte Haentjens. My professional and personal relationship with her is very special. In 2007 she chose me as her protégé for the Siminovitch Prize." The prestigious $100,000 prize, $25,000 of which goes to the protégé, celebrates excellence and innovation in Canadian theatre.

"Without Brigitte and the NAC, it would have been impossible to produce the play. The $140,000 we received from the National Creation Fund allowed us to move ahead with a major project. NAC French Theatre is a leading proponent of theatre that is challenging without being elitist, and I am proud to be a part of it."

French Theatre would like to warmly thank its generous donors for their unfailing support. Thanks to the Fund, Carte Blanche can now work with a larger cast of 14 performers, considerably extend the development period and include a one-month residency in a fully equipped rehearsal hall.

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