A tragic car accident sets the stage for Soulpepper’s Yours Forever, Marie-Lou in Toronto
When the lights go down on Soulpepper’s production of Yours Forever, Marie-Lou, the soothing sound of traditional bagpipes greets the audience. Soothing, that is, until it suddenly turns into the roaring squeal and impact of a car crash. It is the first, but not the last, of the unexpected, well crafted, and chilling turns in Yours Forever, Marie-Lou, now playing at the Young Center for the Performing Arts.
After the crash, which left the entire audience dead still and silent in their seats, the lights came up to reveal a set strewn with pieces of a wrecked car. Amidst the wreckage there is a character in every corner, the mother and father of the Quebec family and their two daughters.
The tale of this family proceeds to unfold with the figures of the mother and father playing out their last morning together, while the daughters, ten years later, each fight to process their family’s tragedy in their own way.
The play itself, by Michel Trembley, shines as a true Canadian classic, with an excellent and authentic new translation by Linda Gaboriau. Inspired off Trembley’s experiences listening to a Brahms quartet, he weaves the four characters texts together with stunning musicality, and the actors and direction took advantage of the beautifully interconnected text in this production.
The script also explores the idea of family, family tragedies and how we hold on to or let go of them, and the inevitability of being affected by your family. Again, the director, Diana Leblanc, and actors make an excellent choice in emphasizing these themes. The staging, having the parents and children on stage for the whole play, and script allow for heart breaking moments of parallels between children and parents.
The direction was crisp and clean, allowing the story to be told with great clarity and heart. Aside from a few moments of stage combat that seemed more staged than not, the action flowed naturally and seamlessly between all four characters, past and present, allowing the audience to effortlessly follow the twisting narrative.
All four of the performances were strong. Christian Laurin played Leopold with sincerity in his anger, a working class man raging against being stuck in his life. Patricia Marceau played a quipily bitter Marie-Lou, a mother who craves silence but is entrenched in chaos. Genevieve Dufour played the brooding Manon, wrapping herself in her past in her attempts to escape a future as her father, off set by her sister Carmen, played by Suzanne Roberts Smith, who ran as far away from her family’s history as she could get.
Each character was given a chance to show the audience their very worst, and then to win back their hearts a little. This tale of family tragedy is chilling, but not without it’s moments of light and connection between the often disconnected family members. Family is family, after all, as this script and production so deftly prove.
- Yours Forever, Marie Lou is playing at Young Center for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane, Distillery Historic District) until October 15th.
- Shows are at 8pm on September 30th, October 3rd, 6th, 7th, 10th, 12th, 14th and 15th, with 2pm matinees on September 30th, October 3rd, 7th and 15th,
- Tickets range from $29.50 to $94, and are available online or through the box office, at 416 866 8666.
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann, featuring (from left to right) Patricia Marceau, Geneviève Dufour, Suzanne Roberts Smith & Christian Laurin.