Improvise a live story at the Never Read festival

On the 21sti The Never Lu festival, which offers its abundant program from 5 to 14 May, has as its editorial line “irreversible fiction”. Olivier Arteau, one of its artistic co-directors, believes that we must “renew our vows” to the imaginary. “It’s about saying that in an age where we are very attracted to documentaries and realities, fiction still has an artistic role to play, it can really transform us. It is imagining worlds, perhaps, that one can continue to arrive at a form of utopia and ideal. Fiction can make us tend to new ideas, instead of encountering a reality that is sometimes very raw, especially with the pandemic. For now, we have live footage constantly of what is happening, of the war in Ukraine. To me, imagination is also a muscle. And I wonder: are we losing this ability to imagine new worlds by being paralyzed by reality, the news with which it bombards us? Maybe all we have to wait for is fiction. »

For the opening night, he and his accomplices Marcelle Dubois, Alexandre Castonguay and Tamara Nguyen of the artistic cell of the 2022 edition had the idea of ​​a story built in real time. The video club of the latteropportunity recovers a little the spirit of this almost obsolete place where “we get together collectively to go buy fiction.”

It’s rare that we get a chance to write for fun. And I think it can be very beneficial. Hey, viewers may have a lovely evening even though I didn’t cry for eight hours while I was writing my text!

For each four-minute scene, the authors will impose genres, areas little explored in the theater (western, science fiction, horror, etc.). In addition, they will remove additional limitations of an abacus, which viewers will be invited to add with their suggestions. “The goal was to have as many limitations as possible, to see how ideas navigate between authors and how they mutate in the present moment,” Arteau explains. These keyboard improvisers will write mainly during breaks, intervals between musician Adrien Bletton and presenter Carolanne Foucher, who will “play the secretary of the video club.”

Chosen “especially for their keen eye on the world and the permissions that are granted” in writing, the four playwrights (Gabrielle Chapdelaine, Mario Laframboise, Catherine Léger and Mireille Tawfik) will have to aim for a final scene that includes “a lot of cheating ”Elaborated by the members of the artistic unit. The only element that the brave quartet will know in advance.


The unusual exercise does not seem to scare too many two of the playwrights, interviewed together by video conference. During a release, the authors came to tell Gabrielle Chapdelaine, “I can’t believe you agreed to do this, it’s really reckless!” She admits, laughing, “It’ll still be something.”

Peace of mind journey “Catherine Léger believes that the event will generate adrenaline” on the shovel “and trusts this urgency to facilitate inspiration.” I have the impression that when I have a long time in front of me I start to analyze too much , in case of emergency, the filters [disparaissent]. I seem to trust myself more or let myself write more than judge what I write. »

Both creators believe the instructions will be stimulating. “Restriction provides a goal, a starting point, directs thoughts,” says Catherine Léger, author of Kangaroo, from Paris, where he attended the premiere of the film adaptation of his work. “She helps us get somewhere else and think outside the box.”

Loved by the idea of ​​being “in dialogue” with the audience through her guidelines, Gabrielle Chapdelaine also says that she is motivated to play with the performers (Jade Barshee, Anna Beaupré Moulounda, Alexandre Castonguay, Hubert Lemire) of the show, even his. posing “traps, endangering them,” or challenging them. “I think the organizing committee is very encouraged to put obstacles in our way so that it can continue to be fun. And we’re still pretty much in danger. So, we will share the anguish! she’s kidding.

Three tips to never read

How to prepare for this improvisation? The author played with the idea of ​​researching the different film genres, of drawing “easy-to-integrate elements”, such as recognizable science fiction references. Her colleague Catherine Léger is planning a brainstorming session the day before: “What do I want to explore these days? Thinking of characters, maybe things I left behind and still live with me. »You have a couple of” jokes “up your sleeve to take off in case you get stuck. “I think it’s a trap, but I’ll do it anyway.”


For her, the appeal of the concept comes mainly from the fact that it allows room for error. Without the expectations that writing now entails. “We are in a purely creative context. I don’t know if that’s where I’m at in my career or how the system works right now, but I think there’s always pressure to quickly get to a work that works, that is right. topic of the moment, therefore able to draw media attention. We are no longer in the act of creation, but in the process of delivering something that is expected of us. »

They both anticipate the pleasure in this adventure. “It is rare to have the opportunity to write for fun, says Gabrielle Chapdelaine. And I think it can be very beneficial. Hey, viewers may have a lovely evening even though I didn’t cry for eight hours while I was writing my text! She bursts out laughing.

“We end up taking our projects so seriously,” his partner adds. For example, I’m working on a new piece [pour le Petit Théâtre du Nord]which is very different from Kangaroo. So I’m super insecure, I feel like I’m risking my life every time. So this context without pressure and where everyone participates: if the viewer participates, he creates his own pleasure, I imagine it will produce a liberating effect. »

For Olivier Arteau, this collective exercise, in which even the public has an impact, highlights the collegial dimension of creation in the theater, a “team sport”. “It simply came to our notice then that writing on set can greatly influence what we create. More and more playwrights are writing improvisations, or for performers. This allows [constater] as all theatrical ecology — cast and even music will surely influence writing a little — becomes a source of inspiration for the author, who is not isolated at home only with his world. We discover everything that transforms a work in the present moment, everything that influences writing in the creator. »

The video club of the last chance. An afternoon where nothing is written in advance …

Ideation: Marcelle Dubois, Olivier Arteau, Tamara Nguyen and Alexandre Castonguay. Authors: Gabrielle Chapdelaine, Mario Laframboise, Catherine Léger and Mireille Tawfik. Theater Aux Écuries, 5 May.

To watch on video

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