Thank goodness for English surtitles. without them I wouldn’t have been able to understand this wonderful production of Une Maison Face A Nord (A House Facing North) by Théâtre français de Toronto. The play is funny, sad, touching, intelligent, poignant and engaging. It’s about the characters, not about the plot.Henri and Anne Marie Simard are in their sixties and live in Chicoutimi. Henri runs a small construction company and Anne-Marie keeps the books. Their three adult children have moved away and don’t see their parents often but to Henri they’re a source of pride. He’s passionately political and has a love/hate relationship with Quebec and Canada.
Guy Mignault brought Henri to life for me. I felt as if I knew him. The anger, the humour, the fatigue, the confusion, the warm heart, this was a fully formed man. I absolutely loved him. Louisette Dussault as Anne-Marie was a perfect foil for Henri, calming him, prodding him, humouring him, comforting him and loving him. She is brilliant in the second act when her anger is unleashed.
The first act is a series of vignettes that tell us about Henri and his life. It doesn’t really matter that the play is set in Quebec and is performed in French. It’s universal. We all want our children to have better lives than we have. When they fail we feel guilty. Life doesn’t turn out the way we expect but we keep going.
I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to see it, it really was wonderful.
It’s a short run – Une Maison Face A Nord is only playing until Sunday. It was a full house tonight. I don’t know what ticket availability is like but it’s well worth seeing. All of the performances have English Surtitles.
– Une Maison Face A Nord (A House Facing North) is playing at the Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street) until November 27th
– Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Saturday at 3.30pm and Sunday at 2.30pm
– Ticket prices range from $37.00 to $48.00
– Tickets are available online or by phone – 416-534-6604 or 1-800-819-4981
Photo of Guy Mignault and Louisette Dussault taken by Jean Briand