Art

Christine, the queen-boy: sovereign freedom

CRITICAL / Over the course of a theater season, the works that overthrow you and take you away can be counted on the fingers of one hand. After Antigone, presented to the Trident last month, the turn of La Bordee to hit hard and in the dark with Christine, the queen-boy. Impeccable distribution, text of great finesse with contemporary echoes, seductive setting of twilight, all combine to make the historical play of Michel-Marc Bouchard a show worthy of the highest standards.
L has freedom buzzword if there is one, accompanies man and his fiancee on their spiritual journey for millennia. The fate of Queen Christine of Sweden (Marianne Marceau), stuck in the Lutheran straitjacket of the middle of the 17th century that prevents her from living according to her deep nature, aptly illustrates this notion of free will to make sense of existence.

But it took courage for the young anti-conformist ruler, refractory to marriage, to find her way. So she will call to the rescue the philosopher Rene Descartes (Jean-Michel Dery) to provide some lessons to better understand the contradictory emotions that jostle in her, including his attraction to his lady companion, Countess Ebba Sparre (Ariane Bellavance-Fafard). At the time, remember, the “symptoms” of love were analyzed mechanically, Descartes believing for example that the seat of the soul was located in the pineal gland of the brain …

The frenzy of the young queen, anxious to have a sophisticated country, filled with schools and libraries, like her insatiable curiosity, will not be without causing a lot of conflicts at court, that they are private or stewardship. Whether it is her cousin Karl Gustav (Eliot Laprise), madly in love with her to the point of being ridiculed, the Chancellor of Sweden (Rejean Vallee) and her narcissist son (Simon Lepage), guardians of the established order, or the naughty Queen Mother Marie-Eolonore of Brandenburg (Erika Gagnon), many will try to reason with her. In vain.

Cantilevered with her duty, Queen Christine will choose to adjure the Lutheran faith to embrace the Catholic faith, helped in this by Rome, ready to satisfy all his whims to attract him into his lap. “To deny my people, to deny my faith, to deny my father, to deny all that I am to be what I want to be.” The royal entourage and the people will cry out for a treason that still persists in Sweden today.

In the demanding title role, Marianne Marceau offers a great performance, in turn determined and rebellious facing a mother who would have desired a son on the throne; a touching vulnerability in intimate scenes full of sensuality; scathing with black humor when she defends her opponents; broken of rage contained at the time of choice. The character of a great modernity, with its lot of ambiguities and paradoxes, provides a lot of emotions.

This ten-person piece, in perfect symbiosis, comes in a magnificent staging by Marie-Josee Bastien (assisted by Émile Beauchemin) evoking both the winter blackness of the Scandinavian countries and that squatting the spirits of the Lutheran era. In a corner, a heap of fragments of glass reminiscent of the cold and the ice, a striking contrast with the heated discussions that take place in the two-tier staircase, backstage.

Note also the care taken in the choice of costumes, where the long black leather coats abound, fruit of the work of Sébastien Dionne (assisted by Marie-Sophie Gauthier).

In a word like a thousand, a powerful and masterful moment of theater.

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Alan Carter
Alan Carter
Alan Carter has been a reporter on the news desk since 2015. Before that she wrote about young adolescents and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Koz Post, Alan Carter worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella.