July 4, 2020

19° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast



Advertise With Us

Childhood trauma takes centre stage

LOUIS-PHILIPPE CHIASSON PHOTO</p><p>A reunion of old friends in Cercle Molière's L’Incroyable légèreté de Luc L., from left: Pierre-Guy Blanchard, Luc LeBlanc, Christian Essiambre.</p>


A reunion of old friends in Cercle Molière's L’Incroyable légèreté de Luc L., from left: Pierre-Guy Blanchard, Luc LeBlanc, Christian Essiambre.

Existential dread: I have it, you might have it, and the latest theatrical offering at Théâtre Cercle Molière definitely has it.

A co-production with Quebec City's Théâtre Sortie de secours and théatre L’Escaouette of Moncton, N.B., L'Incroyable légèreté de Luc L. is a stand-alone play but also the third and final part of a trilogy, with each play telling the story of a different character: the first of Christian E. (Christian Essiambre) in Les trois exiles by Christian E., the second of Pierre-Guy B. (Pierre-Guy Blanchard) in Le long voyage by Pierre-Guy B. and the third of Luc L. (Luc LeBlanc).

The three actors play three friends from New Brunswick who grew up together and became artists but made different choices that took their lives in opposite directions.

Many, if not most, stories are about leaving and returning home. The stories of Christian E. and Pierre-Guy B. follow that structure. Each left their childhood home behind in search of something better elsewhere. But in this play, Luc L. is our hero, and Luc. L. never left.

Without the drama and glamour of travel, Luc’s story is perhaps less exciting than that of his friends, but it becomes clear early on that Luc is wrestling internally with trauma caused by a childhood of violence and addiction.

Luc, who has become an actor, must come to terms with this trauma to begin healing and, presumably, to succeed in a career that demands raw sensitivity and vulnerability. Despite his supposed lightness, he wrestles with some heavy demons, and in L'Incroyable légèreté de Luc L. we’re all along for the ride, so buckle up.

The dialogue-driven play is housed within a bare-bones set illuminated by practical design by Marc Paulin. The music is provided by Luc’s pal Pierre-Guy, who mixes the sound live to wonderful effect, crafting frantic soundscapes to tonally support Luc’s cerebral journey.

The minimal tech of the show supports to the truthfulness of the dialogue. Nothing is hidden by the set or obscured by fanciful lighting choices. Everything relies on the shoulders of the three capable performers on stage, each of whom — in performing heightened versions of themselves — embody the characters in a way nobody else could.

The direction of the transitions doesn’t always work as seamlessly as it should and it can be difficult to pinpoint a trigger or meaning behind when we shift from one scenario to the next, and while a knowledge of East Coast doesn’t seem necessary to enjoy the show, my minimal knowledge had me feeling left out of some of the culturally-specific jokes.

It’s also useful to note that this play is enormously dialogue-driven, so if you prefer to go in without the help of subtitles even though your French never improved past a high school level, do yourself a favour: set aside your ego and accept the subtitle tablet. You can thank me later. They are available for Wednesday and Saturday showings, and can be reserved at 204-233-8053.

Ultimately, L'Incroyable légèreté de Luc L. is a smart play about friendship, career and the choices we make as we attempt to survive the things in childhood that cause us harm. It’s heavy stuff, but Luc L. tells his story with an incredible lightness, just as he promised.


Twitter: @franceskoncan


Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us