Marcel Jeanin and Kim Yaroshevskaya (photo credit: Andrée Lanthier)
Upstage Contributor Gaspare Borsellino spoke with Director Martin Faucher about the current presentation of Vigil by Morris Panych at Segal Centre. Below is an abridged version edited by Estelle Rosen, CharPo Editor-in-chief.
UPSTAGE: This production of Vigil is a co-production with Théâtre du Rideau Vert. Has it been performed yet at Théâtre du Rideau Vert?
FAUCHER: Yes we did it in French in January of this year. Now it’s in English at Segal Centre.
UPSTAGE: Is it the same cast for both?
FAUCHER: Partially different cast. In French Kemp was performed by Éric Bernier. In English it’s performed by Marcel Jeannin.
UPSTAGE: Tell us a litle bit about the play.
FAUCHER: A man in his mid-40s arrives at his aunt’s house after receiving a letter from her that she’s dying. They haven’t seen each other in 30 years. She doesn’t speak. He hates her. We find out why as the play progresses. He talks a lot. She silently listens to him. At the end we understand what’s going on.
He lives a difficult life. It’s funny, dark, nasty and yet gentle at the same time. Odd mix of emotions, yet a very moving piece. Sometimes you feel guilty to laugh at what he says; other times touched. The audience’s emotions shift from one side to the other.
It’s not a monologue
UPSTAGE: Sounds like just this character without the aunt could stand on its own as a monologue.
FAUCHER: It’s not a monologue because you watch the aunt to see what she thinks about what he says. It’s a bit like an analyst session. There’s a state of suspense yet you’re on a journey going through several stages of his life.
UPSTAGE: Audience members must relate in very different ways.
FAUCHER: What’s interesting is that young people react differently than older people. Sometimes with the mixed audience at Segal, older people might be very moved by something that young people are laughing about.
UPSTAGE: Did you direct the French production?
The biggest job is the translation of the dark sense of humour.
UPSTAGE: How has this experience been? It’s not common to direct a play in one language and immediately afterwards direct it in another language.
FAUCHER: The biggest job is the translation of the dark sense of humour. It’s not the same. When I shifted from French to English it was a darker way to say the same things, yet more funny in English because it’s the original language the play was written. It was interesting for me to direct the same script but in two different spirits. I enjoyed the experience.
To watch her helped me improve what I do.
UPSTAGE: The actress Kim Yaroshevskaya performed in both the French and English production. Any idea what it was like for her?
FAUCHER: I had the good fortune to work with her before. She’s around 88 years old. When I was a kid, she was on childrens tv shows, Fanfreluche in particular. She was very inventive. She’s an icon; I was so honoured to work with her.
She was very clever about how to react to each moment in this play. She had to question do I look at him or just listen when he’s going on and on about his troubles.
She’s Russian so she developed from the Stanislavsky method. To watch her helped me improve what I do.
UPSTAGE: What’s next?
FAUCHER: Last week we opened Disparu(e)(s) at Théâtre Prospero. I also work as Artistic Advisor to Festival Trans-Amérique. I’m very proud to be part of this festival.
UPSTAGE: Are you part of the selection committee
FAUCHER: Yes. It’s an important festival in the world wide network of festivals. I travel a lot and see lots of shows. I love to discover all the different ways to do theatre.
UPSTAGE: What’s it like for a Director to have two shows at the same time as you do with Vigil and Disparu(e)(s)?
FAUCHER: Mixed feelings. Just after getting one show together, I have to let it go. Sometimes I stay home, other times I want to see the audience reactions.