Guided tour of the “Lower city”

Visite guidée de la «Basse-ville»

Photo: Vincent Lafrance
While the lovers wrapped their meeting up to make may be a budding romance, the other a young woman trapped inside.

Playwright, actor and director living in Quebec city, Thomas Gionet-Lavigne monte for the first time — except error — one of his works in Montreal. And it is with a piece deeply rooted in a landscape that is less known to the old capital as the author of Away (2012) and love (2016) makes his entrance to the Small Unicorn. With a narrative that is very simple, but that does not lack charm.

Dealing with loneliness, urban, boredom and the difficult quest for love in young vingtenaires, Lower Town portrays its action, you guessed it, in this section of a city divided vertically. In a neighborhood where “there is nothing to” complain about the two female characters. We are going to follow these great friends during a day of idleness shared with a young mechanic, a native of the Beauce, that one has met the previous night in a bar. While the lovers wrapped their meeting up to make may be a budding romance, the other a young woman trapped inside. And the uncomfortable trio will spend the time walking along the Saint-Charles river ” within our means “, describes beautifully the second, in reference to the modesty of their universe.

Because, unlike his girlfriend (Katrine Duhaime, fun ingenue), who seems to be satisfied with her job as a cashier, the waitress at the unemployment (intense Charlotte Aubin) door, frustration evident. The strong tirade, in which she describes everything that she would like to have in his or her existence to the horizons rather limited, is one of the few great effusions of a room where the characters do not burst a long speech about their condition. But speak especially with a language that is direct, simple, and sometimes insufficient, to name the real.

Compositions felt

Thomas Gionet-Lavigne puts his magnifying glass on this popular medium with a look that is a little off, which allows the humor to emerge (the show maintains a lightness of tone, until the final revelation of the node drama), but with a lot of sympathy. And it takes very little for the author to paint this portrait to the accents right. There is a kind of bias of minimalism. Witness this scene where the three characters share a sense of wonder common to a bird, the time very simple, which softens a bit of the underlying tension between them.

And if the thin story holds the attention, it is thanks to its interpreters, who will take each of the compositions felt and well-defined. Jean-Denis Beaudoin, particularly, brings a freshness and a sensitivity that is irresistible to her character, a touching innocence. Another artist of the capital that it is good to discover here.

Lower town

Written and directed by : Thomas Gionet-Lavigne. A Theatre production red Herring. To the Little Unicorn, until 15 February.