The pleasure of French Canadian theatre

Everybody has a mother, and that might just be the reason director Gail Hanrahan believes Alberta Theatre Project’s new play, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, will be a success.

Written by French Canadian Michel Tremblay, the play is about the relationship between the author and his late mother. It spans his life between ages 10 and 20, showing how she was such a crucial part in his life.

"Their relationship was very close, from which he got a lot of inspiration," says Hanrahan.

For the past five years Hanrahan mostly directed French plays and translations. She enjoys the work, as it allows her to incorporate Québecois culture into her plays.

Co-actors Sharon Bakker and David LeReaney have been practising their parts in preparation for the play’s first performance at the Martha Cohen Theatre. In the past four weeks they’ve taken on the identities of the characters.

"It’s one of those plays that you really get into the characters," says Hanrahan. As there are only two characters in the play, there is a lot of focus on specific details of those characters, leaving the audience with a little more insight.

The main focus is on the author’s mother, with scenes of narration to aid the flow of the play.

"The mother is a great story teller, she’s entertaining him or teaching him a lesson, and we get to hear it as well," explains Hanrahan. Everyone is able to relate to the experiences of the actors and relate to things that have happened in their own lives. But make no mistake: Hanrahan is quick to point out "this is not a sappy story."

"The mother is a great story teller, she’s entertaining him or teaching him a lesson, and we get to hear it as well," explains Hanrahan. Everyone is able to relate to the experiences of the actors and relate to things that have happened in their own lives. But make no mistake: Hanrahan is quick to point out "this is not a sappy story."

Tremblay’s mother never had the chance to see any of his plays, so Hanrahan believes this is a tribute to the ways she helped him grow into his current success.

"The title truly resembles Tremblay’s want for her to see his plays," she says. "And now he gets to see his mother interpreted in many different ways."

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