This warm feeling you get when you go to a family party, whether it’s at your grand mother’s house or at a close friend, that feeling that gives you the impression that you are right where you belong. That’s exactly how I felt when I went to see Foirée Montréal. I went to the play early to make sure I’d have a good seat. When I got there my surprise was to see that the entry to the theater was the scene. And the party was already on! The comedians were just there dancing, playing music, welcoming the “guests”, as if we were entering their party. Honestly, it’s pretty much what it was. As soon has I walked in, I was greeted with Christmas cookies and Jamaican-inspired cocktails. Then they invited me to make myself comfortable and sit wherever I wanted.
To put in context, Foirée Montréal is about destigmatization of stereotyped areas. It’s there third edition, and each year they’ve selected different area. This year is Montreal North. The set is composed of a bar where you can take a hibiscus shot, a piano covered with Christmas lights, chairs aligned along the wall, a big table with plates full of cookies for everyone to take and lighted stars hanging from the ceiling. You get it, homie, Christmas party vibes.
The play is composed by eight storytellers, two musicians and one animator. They start by asking us who can name a place in Montreal North, a store, a park whatever we know. So people start sharing pleasant memories about what they know in the area and actually there is quit a lot. After, they ask who is afraid to walk there alone at night. Only a few peoples raise their hands. Then, the comedians start to share stories about their childhood. It’s important to know that a lot of the text is actually based on their own childhood memories. I think that the perfect way to describe the play is a party of modern-yesteryear. They are all together telling their stories, sometimes signing, sometimes rapping about them, interacting with each other, laughing, arguing and playing music to break awkward moments. Everyone has a story showing the deep attachment they have towards the area.
Martine Francke shares the inspiring story of her mother who moved from Poland to Montreal North, where she knew her daughter would be safe, where happiness starts with streets named after flowers. Ines Tabli is struck by her first love on the 69 Gouin bus. Then Ahmad Hamdan tells the story when he was invited to a Christmas party for the first time at 16 years old. It is a night with a lot of firsts: first Christmas, first shooter, first kiss (with his grand-mother by the way). He felt home with his friends family, he felt like he belonged. Then he says, “Je suis Québécois. Mais pas Québécois de souche.” Even though he was not born here, for him this is home. Family is the people with whom you choose to share your life with. Whether it’s your actual family members or close friends, home is where your heart is.
We should learn to forget about barriers that are not even real and remember the human factors more often. Foirée Montréal is heart-warming and true. I highly recommend that you see it before it ends!
Foirée Montrealaise is at Théâtre La Licorne (4559 Papineau) until December 22. Show runs 2 hours. Tickets HERE.