In its simplest translation, the French phrase "bonjour, la , bonjour" means "hello" or "hi there." Brought to the stage, Michel Tremblay's emotionally-charged play Bonjour, La, Bonjour delves into intense material that is anything but simple or straightforward.
Almost 30 years after the original publication of Bonjour, La, Bonjour, the University of Calgary's Department of Drama presents the city's premiere production of the play.
The story begins when the eldest member of a blue-collar family returns home from a sojourn in Europe after realizing he must pursue his own happiness. This happiness comes at a great cost, as a difficult family secret is revealed in the process.
"Montreal native and Bonjour, La, Bonjour director Jennifer Piercey believes the play's universal themes will interest the audience since the search for love, identity and contentment is something everyone will connect with.
The themes have a timeless quality that everyone can relate to," she says. "Even though the original play is set in Montreal, the story can apply to any place at any time.
"The play is infused with certain francophone influences. I thought to integrate the flavour of the culture without forcing it upon the audience."
Along with the cultural elements, audiences will also recognize the intimate and musical qualities of Tremblay's work. The cast is limited to truly integral characters and there is no soundtrack apart from the actors' voices. Piercey hopes the smaller production will allow viewers to be more receptive to the play's powerful and intense issues.
"The play is very character-based and I wanted to focus on the interactions between the small cast," she explains. "This way, one can get to know the characters by watching how they interact and will hopefully leave and think about the play with an open mind."
With distinctive characters, an intriguing plot, and a unique atmosphere, Bonjour, La, Bonjour will truly affect and involve audiences.