Catherine Vidal, first recipient of the prix Jovette-Marchessault

Catherine Vidal, première lauréate du prix Jovette-Marchessault

Photo: Valérian Mazataud The Duty
Now confined to her home, Catherine Vidal continues to work two shows scheduled in 2021.

By causing the immediate closure of all the theatres of Quebec, in mid-march, the pandemic has suddenly interrupted the room Underworld, of the American Jennifer Haley, directed by Catherine Vidal with The Unicorn. Two months later, it has also forced the latter to receive on-line, in the containment, the first prize Jovette-Marchessault, designed to highlight the contribution of women artists to the theatre community.

This award, featuring a $ 20,000 scholarship, is a creation of the Conseil des arts de Montréal and Espace Go, in collaboration with Imago Theatre, the Theatre of the Hungry and the Women’s movement for equity in theatre (F. E. T.). It is part of the many initiatives to come out of the Shipyard feminist for the place of women in theatre, held at Espace Go in 2019.

It is 14 years since Catherine Vidal has discovered the writings of Jovette Marchessault, falling on the room, Anaïs, in the tail of the comet, inspired by the writer Anaïs Nin, in the public library. Then, she discovered the piece of land is too short, Violette Leduc, also signed Marchessault.

There are temporary measures that we turn to the digital, but it will never replace the living arts

— Catherine Vidal

Already, when she made her entrance at the Conservatoire de théâtre in Montreal, Catherine Vidal dream to be a film director, even if it is registered in interpretation.

“I was too young to do the staging, I had the face of a young first, and I didn’t have a female model in the implementation stage,” she recalls. At his graduation from the Conservatoire, his dream takes. It sets the scene Walser, a collage of texts of Robert Walser, but also The large notebook by Agota Kristof.

Unlike many women metteuses stage, which have a more limited access to the major scenes of the Quebec, Catherine Vidal, says it is nurtured by the environment. In 2018, she has directed The idiot, by Dostoevsky, in the Theatre of the New World.

In this regard, it wished to express its solidarity towards other women of the theatre, less pampered than she in this regard. “If I just wanted to my fate, I would not be in solidarity “, is it. However, it notes that more and more women are embracing the craft of the director “without the feeling of imposters’.

“We decide in our place “

Confined to her home, Catherine Vidal continues to work two shows scheduled in 2021. She laments, however, the cancellation of two performances of Marivaux, as she set the stage with the graduating class of the Conservatory of dramatic art.

“These graduates will go under the radar “, she says.

“There are temporary measures that we turn to the digital, but it will never replace the live arts “, it believes. As the theatre director Brigitte Haentjens, who has recently expressed publicly, Catherine Vidal regrets that the speech “infantilizing” of the authorities. “It is a pity that we do not be all collaborative,” she said. It receives a lot of invitations to do things, but we decide in our place, ” she said.

Born in 1938 and died in 2012, Jovette Marchessault has been a novelist, author, a drama, a painter and sculptor.

In a text published in the Canadian theatre Review in 1985, Linda Gaboriau described the work of Marchessault : “This voice, it is that of the women of his pieces, which speak loud and clear, to commemorate, to denounce and to celebrate. “

Linda Gaboriau adds further that, in the room the saga of The chickens, the heroines are Anne Hébert, Germaine Guèvremont, Laure Conan and Gabrielle Roy ” help each other to grasp the extent to which the official History has not only distorted the role of women in society, but also lied by omission “.

This work is therefore in line with the objectives established in the aftermath of the Construction of a feminist for the place of women in theatre. The other finalists for the prix Jovette-Marchessault this year were the women of theater Pol Pelletier and Catherine Bourgeois.

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