Kevin McCoy: between the two suitcases and three performances

Kevin McCoy: entre deux valises et trois spectacles

Kevin McCoy in the Mongolian yurt that he will bring on the stage of the Diamond for The devisement of the world, a piece in which he explores the relationship father-son more to follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo.

February 8, 2020

Updated on February 17, 2020 at 13h35


Kevin McCoy: between the two suitcases and three performances

Kevin McCoy: entre deux valises et trois spectacles

Geneviève Bouchard

The Sun


Arrived in Chicago in 1996, Kevin McCoy was far from suspecting, asking his two suitcases in Quebec city that he would shortly take his place, in French, on the theatre scene here. In its French language courses, he placed the first stone in what would become his “Triptych of migration”, the three plays embedded in its own route and visiting the same time his own family history.

After Addition in 2006, and Norge in 2015, the author, director and actor is about to finish a trilogy Diamond with The devisement of the world, where the exploration of the relationship father-son is highlighted by a fascination of the voyages of Marco Polo. In addition to this new creation, it will mark the end of the cycle by revisiting in the next few days the first two chapters of this adventure theatrical. Everything will culminate on February 22 with a marathon stage, between 15h and 22h — where the three shows will be presented at once.

“It’s a bit olympic, non?” launches the sympathetic man of the theatre, now Quebec for the love he has for nearly 25 years. This choice to leave his country was going to tint his practice : he treats precisely of immigration in Addition, her mother, and her grandmother, also an immigrant, are at the heart of Norge and it is the turn of his father to invite in The devisement of the world. The proposal represents a lot of work, including the work of memory : “but if I change a little bit of a reply, the author is not too angry”, joke the one that signs the text and staging of the three parts. But to revisit condense the journey and the thoughts that have lived practically since his arrival in Quebec is also in charge of emotions for Kevin McCoy.

“It touches me, because it is 23 and a half years,” he says. One thing is clear, it is that I have not made this journey alone. Everyone that I met — from my profs, francization or other immigrants in my school has had a huge impact on me. It has become the subject of my creations. All the people I’ve met in Quebec city and even in other countries have stoked a reflection on where I am today. I feel a great sense of gratitude for everyone that I have met on my path and enriched my life.”

Born as French-speaking

The first piece that Kevin McCoy was mounted after his arrival at Quebec, he was created in the context of its French language courses, from people, like him, newly landed. “Fifteen nationalities, speaking a dozen languages,” sums up the American origin, which was at that time set itself the ambitious goal of being completely bilingual “and without the accent” at the end of a year. “You hear today that my accent is still very present!” rigole-t-il.

The troupe improvised has offered three performances of the show The world in a suitcase in the basement of the now-defunct school in Stadacona. But the experience has launched quite a journey for the man of the theatre, who practiced his art in the United States, but that didn’t necessarily put his hat to author in the language of Molière.

“Limoilou, it is the birthplace of my québécitude. This is where I learned French. This is where I was born as French-speaking. And this is where I met the world,” says the one who has taken up the pen professionally a few years later to sign Elsewhere. “Is-that I imagined to create in French? I didn’t know, but it happened to me because of the context”, he observes.

“The theatre community has really welcomed in an extraordinary way, resumes Kevin McCoy. I was able to do things that I had not suspected in Chicago.”

Kevin McCoy: entre deux valises et trois spectacles

Kevin McCoy

The Sun, Patrice Laroche



If he has left the United States to live with the loved one who shared his life, Kevin McCoy remained until their deaths very close to his parents, frequent visitors from Quebec.

“I am moved by October 1996, they came as early as may 1997 and they came every year, without fail. Of times without really announcing it. They said : “we took our plane tickets and we arrive next Sunday for two weeks… Is that okay?”” tells laughing man of the theatre.

“They loved Quebec,” he adds. We did road trips. We did the tour of the Gaspésie two times. I went up to Forestville. We went to the Lac-Saint-Jean, Mont-Tremblant, in the Cantons-de-l’est… I brought them everywhere in Quebec. They have loved it.”

In 2015, even before getting to the end of the course of Norge, where his mother and his grandmother, occupy a great place, Kevin McCoy knew that his next project would be dedicated to his father, who died just before the first.

“During the many years that I have done my research for Norge, he was there, he notes. It was very, very curious as a person. He wanted to know. I inherited it from him a little. When I told her one day everything I had found on the family of my mother, he said : “hum!” For me, it meant : “when are you going to write a show about me?” He never said, but I’ve experienced it. But maybe it’s just me, too…” Geneviève Bouchard



For the room Norge, Kevin McCoy has traveled in Norway in the footsteps of his maternal grandmother. For The devisement of the world, rather, Venice and Mongolia, who have welcomed him into the legacy of Marco Polo, who is said to be “fascinated” by the journey of the merchant.

“I’ve also done a lot of research in books. The journey of Marco Polo has lasted 23 years… I told myself that I needed to make the show before it! But I’ve done the beginning and the end of the trip. I have been to Venice several times to do research. And I went to Mongolia with my partner in the show, who is herself an immigrant,” says Kevin McCoy about Sarangerel Tserenpil, or Saraa for short, with which it shares the boards. Louis Fortier is also part of the experience. Geneviève Bouchard




Created in 2006, this solo shines the spotlight on immigrants living in Quebec city. Kevin McCoy is again the central role it had been originally entrusted to a person by the name of Sean — and goes to the encounter of the world through interviews with people who came from elsewhere, the whole put in parallel with his own experience of immigration.

The piece “Elsewhere” will be presented on 18 February at the Diamond.


In this piece created in 2015, Kevin McCoy, who shared the stage with the pianist Esther Charron, was interested in the mother-son relationship while discovering his roots : he flies off to Oslo on the trace of her maternal grandmother, a Norwegian who went into exile in the United States at the age of 14 years.

The play “Norge” was presented on 19 February at the Diamond.

The devisement of the world

While his father is dying, Kevin McCoy goes to his bedside in the United States. Accompanied by Sarangerel Tserenpil and Louis Fortier, he delivers a reflection on the relationship father-son walking in the footsteps of Marco Polo in Italy, and Mongolia.

The play, “the devisement du monde” is presented from 11 to 20 February. The triptych will be available in full from 15h on 22 February. A lunch break of 90 minutes is scheduled to take place from 18h.

Le Soleil

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