You Will Remember Me by François Archambault (trans. Bobby Theodore; dir. Roy Surette) is a terrific play to leave us with, as Roy Surrete directs his farewell work as artistic director of the Centaur Theatre.
There were many fantastic aspects to the production. To start, the set by Eo Sharpe was spectacular. The idea that the domestic enclaves of life are fraught and lie in a kind of surrounding wilderness really worked. Although having guy wires was a bit literal for a work about Alzheimer’s. The lighting was magical and the follow spot often preceded the movement of the actors in intriguing and symbolic ways. The soundscape and the final brain-fritz-fest were incredibly effective.
I was just a tad disappointed in the costumes of the women. Lally Cadeau was magnificent as the wife of an egocentric media star and academic. Her performance had just the perfect mixture of guilt remorse and determination. She also got most of the zingers in the play. I just did not buy a fine Quebeçoise woman and wife of an academic wearing so much beige. Johanna Nutter gave a very measured and fine performance as the daughter of the narcissist. Her painful desire to connect with her father was beautifully expressed without any of the possible maudlin results. I had a hard time believing that a news reporter in this province would dress quite as dowdy as she was costumed. Amanda Silveira was delightful as she balanced her punk persona with a genuine affection for an old man in his demise. She was coiffed and dressed in the manner of her generation and this did function well. Charles Bender did a terrific job in the least realised of the characters… he was the boyfriend of the daughter played by Joanna Nutter. He just wasn’t given room to evolve. Obviously, his talents merit a larger part.
Jean Marchand was magnificent as Edouard. His physical and mental decline were subtly and perfectly depicted. He was didactic without boring and outrageous with little effort. Marchand is one of Canada`s treasures and he was perfectly matched with Lally Cadeau who made us believe that this had been a marriage with a hidden volcano of emotions. It is also clever that Marchand`s diatribe about Quebec and the metaphor of forgetfulness in a province which screams that it will never forget.
The transitions in this play took up a lot of time and there were scenes that seemed a bit long, and the persona of the boyfriend could have been cut. All in all it is worth it to brace the cold weather and head for the Centaur for a truly fascinating farewell.
You Will Remember Me plays at Centaur Theatre, 453 St-François-Xavier St. to April 2. Tickets: $51 (Thursday, Friday, Saturday evenings), $45 (Tuesday, Wednesday evenings), $39 (matinée), seniors: $43.50 (evening), $38 (matinée), under 30: $36.50, students: $28. Call 514-288-3161 or visit centaurtheatre.com.