L’ombre: “A Person Takes Flight…”

Six people move in shadow against a purple-lit stage while another looks down from a step.
L'ombre © Jean-François Hamelin
A central figure draped in gold gesures upward. Six other figures move behind them on stage.
L'ombre © Jean-François Hamelin
Two people on a lit stage. Other performers appear to be collapsed around them on the stage.
L'ombre © Jean-François Hamelin
Six people stand on a dark, red-lit stage, with small lights cupped in their hands. A seventh figure stands apart from the others.
L'ombre © Jean-François Hamelin
An actor lies on the stage with another crouched beside them in a beam of light. Six actors sit in shadow, three on each side.
L'ombre © Jean-François Hamelin

Mani Soleymanlou’s second season at the helm of NAC French Theatre opens with L’ombre [The Shadow], a collective creation by the 2023 Collective. Initiated by Soleymanlou, the Collective is an annual project designed to broaden the horizons of the next generation of artists by giving them hope and, above all, a genuine work opportunity as they put together, in collaboration with the Théâtre du Rideau Vert, a professional production with guidance from top-level creators.

“It seems to me that we need to take care of what’s coming next. First we need to take the time to take stock of what we have and who we are; then we need to equip ourselves with the tools to secure the future. That’s the concept behind the Collective.”
Mani Soleymanlou

Directed by internationally renowned artist and NAC regular Marie Brassard (Violence, La fureur de ce que je pense, Moi qui me parle à moi-même dans le futur, L’invisible, Peepshow, La noirceur and Jimmy, créature de rêve), the members of the 2023 Collective are Élodie Bégin, Samuel Boulianne, Marion Daigle, Ahlam Gholami, Stella Lemaine, Cassandre Loiselle, Charles-Olivier Maltais, David Noël and Kevin Pereira, nine strong performers who also wrote the various scenes in L’ombre.

“I wanted this creative experience to be first and foremost about the young actors, who become conduits linking us to the invisible world. I want to highlight that quality of the medium and the inventive talent of the performers. Together we imagined a territory—a territory animated by flying ghosts, a lot of wind, mysticism, malice and melancholy, dreams, desires, loneliness and vertigo… It’s all mixed together, driven by the powerful wind of everyone’s ideas, thrown in there, free and entire, unfiltered.”
Marie Brassard

The director of L’ombre will be in conversation with Mani Soleymanlou at Peter A. Herrndorf Place at 6 pm on the show’s opening night, as part of French Theatre’s Grandes rencontres interview series. Meanwhile, you can listen to the winner of the Siminovitch Prize—the country’s highest honour in theatre—chat with Julien Morissette in a podcast also featuring the cast members.

Together, these emerging words and original voices reaffirm French Theatre’s commitment to creation. By giving shape to the invisible, L’ombre extends an invitation for all ages to dream from the inside and out in the open, in keeping with the theme of the 2023-2024 season.

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