Profound, poetic, and deliciously quirky—The play is a living x-ray of Montreal that lays bare its foundations, ancient and modern. A meta-experiment on the collectivity with contrasting feminist visions. From its outermost shell--a volley of letters--to its innermost core—a plot to destroy The Machine—the play's true target is tokenism. All of this in a city that can't even align its streets with the four points of a compass! Audience be warned: you're invited to a scratchy celebration of Montreal.
The action begins when a pair of non-binary artists belonging to “visible minorities” are commissioned to write a bilingual play focusing on the themes of Quebec, feminism, history of women, love, and immigration... Nothing less! But one author complains: "I'd rather die than write the multicultural feminist show. [...It] feels like I'm feeding some monster." The other replies: "I don’t wake up thinking: 'How diverse I feel!' [...] Let's blow up those categories." And intersectional chaos seizes their writings!
"In directing, Sophie Gee overcomes the difficulties of distancing herself from the stage; her artistic direction is well served by the original costume design by Sophie El Assaad and the dynamic choreography by Claudia Chan Tak. The production also features performers Chadia Kikondjo, Aida Sabra, Lesly Velazquez and Emilee Veluz, who demonstrate an overwhelming energy, especially Sabra in the role of the old Arabic-speaking neighbor." --Thanks: Daphnée Bathalon, MonTheatre, 07 Déc 2020
Habibi's Angels: Commission Impossible highlights the fact that it is still difficult for a newcomer to integrate even though visible minority artists have become fashionable. While the play evokes the Law on State Secularism (Law 21), it does not claim to be a pamphleteer. It is just a tragicomic fable, a bit pungent, in which many female spectators and, why not, some male spectators will recognize themselves. --Thanks: Nathalie de Han, La Scena, 04 Déc 2020
"...Sophie Gee's staging is inventive despite the social distancing, the four performers--to which are added Chadia Kikondjo, Aida Sabra, and France Rolland (Habibi's voice)--, frankly energetic, the scenography, simple and effective, the choreography by Claudia Chan Tak, quality, the use of video, very welcome, and the costumes by Sophie El Assaad, delirious. Their fun mix of multicultural motifs fused with a comic book aesthetic in a 'superhero Power Rangers' style is worth mentioning." --Thanks: Mario Cloutier, JEU Revue de théâtre, 01 Dec 2020
"In a society where a Tokenist Quebec government--making symbolic efforts to include minority groups in order to escape accusations of discrimination--refuses to acknowledge the existence of systemic racism, Habibi sheds a refreshing light." --Thanks: Mario Cloutier, 26 Nov 2020
SOPHIE (Director) : "So here we have the Angels who are--you'll see from the video because I don't think we'll be able to perform it live in front of an audience--but they are a play on women of colour; they have super, super, super bright clothing on, and they are a visible minority, and they've been tasked as these superheroes by this unknown person, Habibi, to make a play, to capitalize on the fact that they are women of colour. ...And, actually, like, the character of Habibi is trying to get trauma porn." --Thanks: Sarah Dehaies, CKUT Upstage, 26 Nov 2020
"The voice of Hoda, whom I reached by phone on November 20, is joyful ... 'It's a meta-theatrical piece,' she sums up, at last. I immediately realize that, without realizing it, we were actually talking about the play throughout the interview. Because the show comes to ask the same question that nourished our exchanges: how to put forward alternative stories about Montreal, without art becoming number painting?" --Thanks: Sarah-Louise Pelletier-Morin, Spirale, 25 Nov 2020
"Sophie Gee, director of Habibi's Angels (Talisman Theatre), also takes things with perspective. ... 'I think we can all benefit from calming down, from living on a fallow land, from refocusing on processes rather than on their products. Let's use this time in the theatre as an additional residency, which is a great artistic luxury.'" --Thanks: Catherine Lalonde, LeDevoir, 21 Nov 2020
Actors : 2.
The main themes of Me and You are integration, intercultural friendship, multiple identities, the need to be Quebecois, love, uprooting, and arrival in a new country, Quebec ...
Me and You is written by Pascal Brullemans and Talia Hallmona who were awarded the Louise-LaHaye prize for Moi et l’Autre. This award recognizes the excellence of a play for young audiences.
To download the technical requirements, click here.
For more information or a copy of the full-length DVD, please contact Elise Legrand at Scène Ouverte Agency: Elise Legrand Diffusion.
Given the buzz of the seven META nominations, Talisman partnered with CAST and LTAC to present a public reading of Clean Slate at Concordia University. The talkback that followed the reading was very insightful for the Theatre and Translation students that attended. Talisman shared the behind-the-scenes creative process: translation support from PWM’s programs, the viewpoints approach, costume design inspirations, etc.
We presented two readings of Gametes by Rebecca Desraspe in a recent translation by Leanna Brodie. This play depicts two friends who have been inseparable since their early childhood. Both are career women driven by a burning desire to be successful, and feel fulfilled--but biology complicates their lives. Professor Erin Hurly of McGill University welcomed us to her feminist and LGBTQ theatre class. We are excited to be creating new links with our local universities.
Our mainstage production of Clean Slate was a popular and critical success. The show ran from March 18-30th at La Chapelle Theatre, and was described by Montreal Theatre Hub as "modern theatre at its best: timely and well-rounded." Talkbacks featured the actors, director, producer, and Caroline Lavoie.
This month, Artistic Director Lyne Paquette, along with author Marie-Hélène Larose-Truchon, translator Alexis Diamond, and director Emma Tibaldo, had the amazing opportunity to visit New Orleans, Louisiana, to workshop and present a reading of Talisman’s translation of Midnight at the Southern Rep Theatre as part of a cultural exchange initiative.
In collaboration with Playwrights' Workshop Montreal we hosted a public reading of Clean Slate, Jenny Herbin's, Talisman commissioned translation of Marie-Hélène Larose-Truchon's Table rase. Six friends gather at a site of their shared childhood: They drink, they laugh, but most importantly, they admit things they’ve never before had the courage to say.
In collaboration with Playwrights' Workshop Montreal we hosted a public reading of Midnight, Alexis Diamond's, Talisman commissioned translation of Marie-Hélène Larose-Truchon's Minuit. In Midnight, a family fights to conserve their heritage in a dystopian society where language and culture are highly regulated, in an allegory of Quebecois issues of language accommodation.
In collaboration with Playwrights' Workshop Montreal we hosted a public reading of Wildfire, Leanna Brodie's, Talisman commissioned translation of David Paquet's Le Brasier. Wildfire is a comedy as fiercely dark as any Greek tragedy, a multi-generational drama, a triptych that follows different characters, all subject to the weight of a haunting family history.
We created an event: "Does Montreal need a theatre space dedicated to LGBTQ+ performance?", a roundtable hosted by Richard 'Bugs' Burnett featuring fascinating speakers: Michael Martini, Maxine Segalowitz, KeXin Li, Nathalie Claude, and Charlie Julien.
These talkbacks featured Charlie Boudreau, Executive director of the Image+Nation Film Festival and Concordia University's Dr. Thomas Vaughn and McGill University's Dr. Ada Sinacore.
In partnership with the National Theatre School of Canada for the Journées de la Culture on Sunday October 1st at the Monument National, Arianna Bardesono will discuss the process of directing Kathleen Staveert and Mirian Katrib in the play Me and You. The two actresses will also read excerpts from the play.
Me and You, an exploration into Quebec’s rich cultural diversity, was one of our most successful productions and it continues to find new audiences. With the assistance of the Cole Foundation, we staged a reading of the play on Wednesday April 12th at Concordia University with Mirian Katrieb reading the role of Talia and Kathleen Stavert reading the role of Julie. Concordia University's Prof Judith Woodsworth moderated the talkback.
For Yukonstyle we reached out to the indigenous communities with the aim of building bridges between their cultures and Québécois culture. Community leaders and women artists receive complementary tickets to performances, and were invited to group discussions and post-performance talk-backs. Attending: Nahka Bertrand, Chantel Henderson, Anik Sioui, Cherry Smiley, Rosemary Reilly, Dayna Cielen, Jean Stevenson, Delbert Sampson, Nadine St-Louis, Emilie Monnet, Floyd Faval, Moe Clark, Pamela Warden, Nina Segalowitz, Vicky Boldo, Nakuset, Timothy Armstrong, and Dayne Danger.
We are happy to welcome the newly arrived Syrians to see Yukonstyle. Thanks to Canada Council for the Arts and Sunlife Financial’s The Arts and Culture Welcome Refugees initiative
Lyne is a founder (with Emma Tibaldo) of Talisman Theatre. A graduate of the National Theatre School (2005), set design is Lyne's second career. Prior to this, she had worked as a professional engineer (McGill, 1987). Beginning as an Assistant Designer at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and as an intern at Michael Curry Designs, Lyne has since designed for many theatre, dance, puppet, and opera productions in Montreal. She has designed sets and costumes for Talisman productions since 2005.To contact Lyne, click here.
Patricia is a proud mum, a marathon runner, a researcher, and a coordinator who has a BSc, a BComm, and an MA in Philosophy. She loves making our numbers balance. She shares her time between Talisman Theatre and several other Montreal-based arts organizations.To contact Patricia, click here.
Chris served as Talisman's first President of the Board of Directors, recruiting Board members and establishing policies. He serves as a grant-writer, event organizer, and fundraiser--conducting prospect research and developing Talisman's case for support. Chris also serves as Talisman's digital communications consultant, establishing its web and social media presence. He implemented Talisman's CRM (Contact Relationship Management) system to manage communications in compliance with Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL).To contact Chris, click here.
Graduated in Business Administration specializing in marketing. Iria has experience in market research, strategic planning, marketing campaigns and event organization in Spain. She is enthusiastic, a hardworking person, with the initiative to solve problems efficiently and always with a positive attitude to face new challenges, this time being a part of Talisman Theatre.
Inés is a theatre director and cofounder of the theatre company Mundanal Ruido Teatro. For more than ten years, she has combined both artistic creation and education. She holds a degree in Theatre Direction from the Spain’s Royal School of Dramatic Art, a Master degree in Translation and a Certificate in Pedagogy. Currently, she is a teacher in the Master of Studies of Theatre at the International University of La Rioja. Her artistic production has been presented in Spain, Portugal and Dominican Republic. Currently, she is part of Talisman Theatre within the DémART program of the Conseil des arts de Montréal.
Masha Bashmakova is a Montreal-based theatre artist from Russia and the UAE, navigating the ways in which creative expression serves as a deep and necessary language in expressing interpersonal and social-political challenges, conflicts and empathies. Her current practice spans visual and performing arts, with a specific focus in performance, theatre directing and interdisciplinary creation. In the last few years, Masha graduated from Concordia University’s Performance Creation program and has been performing with RANT Theatre, a participatory social-intervention performance form, as well as working on other process-led works.
Christine has been a member of the Talisman Theater Board of Directors since 2011. She holds a Master's degree in Business Administration and has extensive experience in information technology, having held various executive positions in the engineering, procurement and construction sectors.
A graduate of HEC Montreal and a member of the Order of CPA, Julie acts as an auditor for various organizations in Quebec's arts and literature landscape. This specialization and her extensive and deep knowledge of accounting have given her a great understanding of the financial and governance issues specific to this sector.
Paul Chambers is a visual artist and lighting/stage designer. From 2008 to 2013 Paul was the technical director of Tangente: Contemporary Movement Lab. His interest and collaboration in new projects has always stimulated his artistic journey. Since 2007, notably with studio 303, he leads pedagogical workshops for artists who would like to deepen their knowledge of lighting design. Paul is also a lecturer at Concordia University since 2015 in the Contemporary Dance department and a mentor at the National Theatre School of Canada.
Catherine Doyle holds a Bachelor of Journalism, with Combined Honours in Political Science, as well as a Bachelor of Arts, from Carleton University. She has experience in corporate communications, media relations, internal communications and government relations. She has worked in some of the most highly regulated industries, where she has managed public affairs campaigns, provided strategic advice and developed messaging on issues on ranging from anti-doping in sports, corporate transformation projects, and emerging regulations.
Maria is the North American IT Regional Director for a major Engineering and Construction firm. She has worked in the IT field for more than 20 years and has held various management positions both locally and internationally. She is ITIL expert certified with extensive experience in the Information technologies construction and engineering fields.
Holder of a law degree and a Master of Business Administration, Gérald Gauthier has extensive experience in public and corporate affairs, including regulatory affairs, mainly in the rail transportation sector. He worked in a private law firm specialized in civil and commercial law, before joining Canadian Pacific Railway, and later, the Railway Association of Canada, where he held several executive positions, including the presidency.
In the last ten years Michael's plays have been produced in translation in Avignon, Budapest, Germany, Hungary, Montreal, Ottawa, Prague, Quebec, Stuttgart, and Tel Aviv. He works with the Cirque de Soleil, Robert Lepage (ex machina). He is writer/director of The Baroness and the Pig (2003) and is director and co-writer of Adam's Wall (2008). He currently has three film projects funded for development by Telefilm and SODEC. Michael has a Ph.D in the Political Economy and History of Science. He lives in Montreal with his partner and two sons.
Emilie holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from McGill-HEC Montreal and a bachelor degree in biochemistry from Sherbrooke university. She has evolved in various industries over the past 20+ years, such as pharmaceutical, cosmetics and telecommunication and she has succeeded in managing different functions including business development, project management, marketing and fundraising. In the higher education field since 2016, she now acts as Director of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving.
Ada L. Sinacore, Ph.D. is the Chair of the Gender, Sexuality, Feminist, and Social Justice Studies Program in the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, the Director of the Social Justice and Diversity Research Lab, and an Associate Professor in the Counselling Psychology Program at McGill University. Dr. Sinacore has over 20 years of experience working in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. Dr. Sinacore has received numerous honours and awards. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association and received the Distinguished Member Award from the Section on Counselling Psychology of the Canadian Psychological Association. Most recently, she will be receiving the Faculty of Education Award for Distinguished Teaching at the 2017 Convocation.
Lyne is a founder (with Emma Tibaldo) of Talisman Theatre. A graduate of the National Theatre School (2005), set design is Lyne's second career. Prior to this, she had worked as a professional engineer (McGill, 1987). Beginning as an Assistant Designer at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and as an intern at Michael Curry Designs, Lyne has since designed for many theatre, dance, puppet, and opera productions in Montreal. She has designed sets and costumes for Talisman productions since 2005.
Since its founding in 2005, Talisman Theatre has championed the same artistic mission: "To produce professional English-language premieres of contemporary Quebecois plays" in translation for the English stage.
Talisman's mission is one of interculturalisme: working with contemporary issues, we strive to build bridges between Montreal's two solitudes by making the Quebecois perspective accessible to non-francophones. Talisman speaks from the heart of an ever-evolving Quebecois culture directly to non-francophone audiences, by preserving the Quebecois 'edge' often blurred (anglicized) in the translation process.
Our goal is to educate as well as to entertain and to help open up the diversity of different cultures for younger minds. Talisman will continue to produce these high quality works and grow, by: expanding the number of productions from 1 to 2 each year; increasing the life of each theatre production by touring outside of Montreal; and, extending our outreach to young people, students and minorities, through sponsor-subsidised tickets.
Talisman Theatre is an award-winning, Montreal-based production company in its fifteenth season. It was founded in 2005 by Lyne Paquette Artistic and Executive Director of Talisman Theatre (a renowned Set Designer), and Emma Tibaldo, a Montreal director (now Artistic and Executive Director of Playwrights' Workshop Montreal). Lyne and Emma met as students at the National Theatre School.
Based on this relationship, Talisman has established a productive partnership with Playwrights’ Workshop, a Montreal institution, which contributes to the development and dramaturgy of contemporary translations, providing workshops for authors, the translators, designers, and actors.
All Talisman shows since 2005 have been produced with its core artistic team of professional designers. This firm foundation has allowed Talisman to develop its craft and vocabulary to make each Talisman production fully-integrated and culturally significant. The entire Talisman artistic team is bilingual and the Talisman process uses the Quebecois model for production development.
Denis Cöté's Vic and Flo saw a Bear (November 21- December 2nd, 2017), a gender-bending love/horror story between two queer women, fits perfectly into the niche we have established for ourselves with our previous productions:
That Woman (2006),
That Woman (2007 remount),
Down Dangerous Passes Road (2008),
Rock, Paper, Jackknife... (2009),
The Flood Thereafter (2010),
Coma Unplugged (2011),
The Medea Effect (2012),
The Aeneid (2013),
Billy (The Days of Howling) (2014),
The Medea Effect (2015 remount),
Me and You (2016),
Vic and Flo (2017),
Clean Slate (2018).
Billy was nominated for a META in the Best Indie production categorie. Our 2014 production of The Aeneid won the META for ‘Outstanding Independent Production’, and was nominated in three other categories. The Medea Effect (2012) won the META for ‘Best Actress’ and ‘Best New Translation’ as well as being nominated in four other categories. Our 2011 production Coma Unplugged was nominated for ‘Best Set Design’ at the 2012 Cochon d’Or. The Flood Thereafter was nominated for MECCA awards in three categories. Talisman productions have been nominated for and won the Quebec Critics (AQCT) award for best English Production (2008, 2009), and our 2010 production. We have also collected testimonials from the media and educators on our website.
Talisman has received six CAM, six CALQ, and eight CCA production grants, as well as five CCA translation grants. Private financing has been obtained from the Cole Foundation, Power Corporation, The Foundation of Greater Montreal, The Zeller Family Foundation, and from private donors. In 2010 Talisman received a CCA Flying Squad grant to develop our first three-year Strategic Plan (2010-2013) with a Montreal-based theatre management consultant, Robert Gagné. We now have a full Board of directors and we have created our new (2016-2019) 3-year plan. Talisman received its first multi-year grant from CALQ in 2014, from CCA in 2015 and CAM in 2017.
Talisman Theatre has established strong links within Montreal’s French and English theatre communities. In 2015 we return to The Centaur Theatre with Province as part of the 2015 Brave New Looks. We had our first local tour, staging a remount of The Medea Effect (2012) at the Segal Center for the Arts Studio. We took Province to New Orleans in 2015 for a reading with view to a co-production with the Swine Palace Theatre at Louisiana State University. We have developed a partnership with Theatre La Licorne, a Montreal hub for Quebecois translations of contemporary Scottish and Irish works, with a reading of Billy (The Days of Howling) (2014) on their stage in 2013.
Over the years Talisman Theatre has become a landmark of Montreal's arts scene, receiving previews and reviews in the English media: blogs, print, radio, and television (CBC, CTV, Global). We have also been reviewed in the French media (Le Devoir, Voir). A recent article featuring Talisman Theatre appeared in the French journal JEU Revue de theatre, ‘Breaking Through the Language Barrier’: “When thinking about companies who popularize Quebecois drama, in English, the name at the top of the list is Talisman Theatre—this is exactly their mission.”—Philippe Couture and Christian Saint-Pierre December 2012.
Talisman Theatre operates with a ‘light infrastructure’ consisting of our Artistic and Executive Director (Lyne Paquette) who manages the day-to-day operations of the company, and what we refer to as our ‘theatre family’, consisting of our core team of designers, our invited directors, and translators. Our board members make invaluable contributions with their advice (legal and governance) and active participation (graphic arts, videography).
Talisman Theatre is active in the development of Montreal's English-Language Artistic community. We are proud to be part of The Group of 5+, a coalition of six professional theatre and dance-theatre companies in Montreal who are in the process of planning a permanent space for creation. In this we have the financial support of the three levels of government. This creative space will enable the cost-benefits of sharing of physical resources and services and will assist us all in raising our individual visibility. The Group of 5+ includes: Dulcinea Langfelder & Co.; Imago Theatre; Playwrights' Workshop Montreal; Geordie Production; and Talisman Theatre.
I'm the Artistic Director of Talisman Theatre and I'm asking you to support us by making a donation because I believe in Talisman's unique mission to produce English-language premieres of contemporary Quebec plays, and because I believe you feel the same.
Talisman Theatre builds bridges between Montreal's cultural minorities and the greater population by bringing them the full experience of living in or entering Quebec culture. Please help us to continue building bridges by visiting the links above and making your donation.
When you click above to donate you can either be added to our list of Friends, OR you can make an anonymous donation. With either choice, as a donor you will receive a charitable donation tax receipt to reduce your tax burden!
Yours with gratitude,
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