QAC Finishes Final Rehearsals

Photo: Ladd Johnson

Actors Patrice Louison, Marie-Andrée Garneau, Bill Black and Patricia Grimaud are all characters, some quite eccentric, in this week's QAC theatre production.

The stage is set, the costumes are ready, and rehearsals are over – only full, live audiences await the cast and crew of the Quebec Art Company’s spring production of Noël Coward’s play “Nude with Violin”.  Directed by Mark Lepitre, this light comedy on manipulation and hypocrisy in the art world takes place after the death of Paul Sorodin, a famous painter, and revolves around the tribulations of his family and associates as they sort out who actually did what when to develop his career and reputation.  Interestingly, Noël Coward was not only the author of the play, but he was the first to perform the lead role of Sébastien Lacréole, the artist’s valet and confidant (played here by Daniel Jean, a veteran QAC actor). An extremely witty play, it does require extra effort to follow the jokes as many are set up long before the punch-line is delivered. The characters are, to say the least, colourful and include proper English ladies, a flamboyant Russian princess, an American dancing girl, and a Jamaican religious fanatic – all connected in tortuous ways to ‘the great Sorodin’. 

The excitement was tangible during the dress rehearsal on Monday night, especially as the cast involves a number of new additions to the company’s pool of talent – over a third of the actors are making their first appearance on the QAC stage.  For Patrice Louison, originally from Guadeloupe, “it was ‘laugh at first sight’ for the cast during the first reading”, and all agreed with him that the play only seems to get funnier over time. He also noted ironically that “this is my first play where I have no lines, but still get to sing”. (Sidebar - Louison’s voice alone is worth the price of admission.)  Veteran community theatre actor Doug Werden, a recently-arrived American, is also impressed with his first QAC experience, stating “I am amazed at all the talent on this stage – it’s the best comedic production that I have ever been involved in.  Even the deadpan lines are delivered with precision”.  Patricia Grimaud, another experienced newcomer from Montréal, agrees, stating that “it’s great to be associated with such dynamic group of people, and Mark is such a wonderful director – both calm and succinct in his guidance and direction”.  Simon Jacobs, a long-time Québec resident and a professional musician for the past two decades, is happy to be back on the community theatre stage but is relieved that “the play does not involve anyone removing their clothes or playing the violin”, in particular himself.  Finally, Marie-Andrée Garneau, one of three francophones in the cast, has found the play to be an enriching experience, stating “I have met many new people, and although I only speak French in the play, it’s been a great chance to practice my English”.  All in all, there appears to something for everyone in this production.  The show is open to the general public from April 30-May 2 – see the Community Calendar for details.