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What would life be without theatre? Would we be riveted to Facebook, Twitter, and other so-called “social” networks 24 hours a day? Would we spend our time cruising the Internet or feeding the rumour mill with spiteful comments, venting our solitary frustration into cyberspace? Without theatre, would we spend our evenings in front of the TV, passively consuming top-rated American series, or shut away at home, glued to the computer?
Theatre is a complete anachronism. In our age of frenetic change, where news is obsolete almost before it’s happened, that art seems particularly incongruous, with its unhurried process and the subliminal way it connects with our inner selves.
Theatre is a place of time suspended and time lost, of time spent listening without speaking—something that is becoming all too rare. Theatre is also about post-performance time, about discussions with friends, companions and the people in the next row. And time spent thinking, dreaming, reflecting on the experience, sharing it, writing about it. Some shows linger in our minds for days, even shows we hated.
Theatre is probably one of the last surviving community spaces in the fullest sense of the word: a place to gather and commune wordlessly, mute until the final ovation. How extraordinary it is, this focused, taut attentiveness, with hundreds of spectators united in silence, captivated by the words being spoken on stage and the performers speaking them!
In a word, theatre is life, sometimes even an improved version.
During the 2016–17 season, our audience members may face some changes and disruptions due to the ongoing NAC renovations. But most important, you’ll hear some extremely powerful voices, including those of Nelly Arcan and Marta Hillers, two women with remarkable life stories and similar preoccupations, albeit expressed completely differently. And you’ll meet some iconic characters from literature and drama, characters like Shen Te in Brecht’s famous play La bonne âme du Se‑Tchouan (The Good Person of Szechwan).
French Theatre’s objective is to present artistic projects that are powerful, entertaining and imaginative; works by artists who are in it for the long term, who believe in theatre and its capacity to offer us a unique experience. With a roster that includes Mani Soleymanlou, Gilles Poulin-Denis and Esther Duquette, Thomas Hellman, Marie Brassard, and Les Chiens de Navarre (one of the few companies that still have a resident ensemble), our commitment to creativity is stronger than ever.
The NAC allows us to participate in developing new work and to encourage both emerging and established artists, and that is a wonderful thing. We couldn’t do it without you and your loyal support.
You are a respectful, cultivated and demanding spectator. Your generosity gives us wings. Thank you for bringing theatre to life.