Patti Smith, an icon of freedom

Patti Smith, icône de liberté

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
The play premiered at Espace Go takes the form of a sort of”anthem to creation” of light, which gives plenty of room for the music and to the musicality of poetry, describing its two authors, Brigitte Haentjens and Dany Boudreault.

Singer, poet, writer, photographer, Patti Smith is a true icon of american art. Because the night is freely inspired by the life and work of this was the forerunner of the punk sound, a haunting that will have contributed to ” making his own myth.” The play premiered at Espace Go takes the form of a sort of” anthem to creation ” of light, which gives plenty of room for the music and to the musicality of poetry, describing its two authors, Brigitte Haentjens and Dany Boudreault.

Recruited first as an interpreter, the actor and playwright — the most dangerous woman in Quebec, I’m kurt Cobain (no matter) — eventually co-wrote the show with the stage director. “When Bridget phoned me, it was almost a call of destiny. I was already a huge groupie of Patti Smith, whom I have known for Gone Again, his album is more folk. Then, the reading Just Kids came to crystallize my fascination for the early 1970s in New York city. A time that I have not known, but Brigitte yes. This is what is interesting in this dialogue between us. “

In this superb autobiographical short story released in 2010, Patti Smith talks about his arrival in the megalopolis twenty years, and his meeting with another young person driven by an absolute desire to be an artist, with whom she shares a bohemian existence of creation : the future photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. In their link to the art, they are ” inseparable “. The designer is surrounded, or even inspired, by many major artists whose she knows how to speak beautifully. So enter the world of Patti Smith, such as Because the night, it is also touching to the universe of other creators : Rimbaud, Jean Genet, Sam Shepard. And Jack Kerouac, the ” link Quebec to americanness. The influence beatnik is major in the writing of Smith, ” says Dany Boudreault.

Lead performer, the great Céline Bonnier would also be a lot treasured this spectacle in the collective sense as ” very strong “. The room does not offer a imitation of the creator of Horses, but rather an evocation, a “diffraction” through more of a voice. And other characters come and give their point of view on the singer. “We didn’t want to be didactic or psychologisé,” says Brigitte Haentjens. We wanted to keep the hand performative, fragmented. “

Paradoxical Patti

What fascinates the director in Patti Smith, including its paradoxes. “She brought on stage an androgynous look which didn’t exist at the time. But at the same time, she was a real groupie for every male who passed by. It was a poet who came at the rock ‘ n ‘ roll a little bit by chance. She was up at the end of the rock, and then she left the stage [for a decade] to have children, before you come back. It is very rare. “Fascinated by female artists, the director of Malina was rather up to date on the fates marked by self-destruction. “She, she still works at age 75, she is on stage. I find it really beautiful. “

Patti Smith, icône de liberté

Photo: Loic Venance
Patti Smith, a pioneer of the punk sound, mesmerizing

“It is not just an exercise of admiration, insists, however, Dany Boudreault. Really, there are contradictions. Many feminists did not agree with his vision, in some respects. “Him, a teenager, was fascinated by his face emaciated on the cover of the album Gone Again :” I had never seen a woman like that. “

Since his childhood, Smith rebelled against the dictates imposed by a vision of femininity. “It is ultra current,” said the actor. We asked several times this question [of genres] during the process : what is it to be a man or a woman ? And what is it to be oneself, beyond this aspect binary ? There is a whole spectrum. “

For the singer, who could enter into a trance during his shows, art also bears a transcendent dimension, he adds. “She has a quest deeply spiritual. It seeks to see the face of God through rock music. “The duo sees in Patti Smith the incarnation of a spirit of freedom.

And revolt against the established order. Brigitte Haentjens is also struck by the lack of standardization of the art of the 1960’s and 1970’s compared to our era, with its paths ” at once policés and one-dimensional. What is beautiful at this time, it is the inventiveness, the creation of new pathways. And it was not in the business “.

In my phases of discouragement, I asked myself : what’s the good of making art ? Who is it for ? For daring to add his signature to all of those who came before us, it is necessary to provide illumination.

— Patti Smith

This image of the artist as a free being, in the margin, contrast with the desire of the current to be recognized by the multitude. Today, we believe that if you’re an artist, it is essential that you are popular. It is difficult to remain in the margin. Even in theatre, there is a big pressure to reach the general public. But [playwright] Heiner Müller said that the day that you like everyone, you should start to ask you questions “.

By searching through the history of punk in new york, she has exhumed the remains of an era long gone, with its collective movements. And its artists to the excesses — toxicological, sex — borne. Such behaviors are no longer tolerated publicly and would endanger the career of an interpreter, note Dany Boudreault. “We’re in a effectiveness. The value of time has changed so much. It is disciplined. “

“But when it comes down to pleasing everyone, too, comes his accomplice. This is the day and the night, to be an actor, if it is compared to what it was 40 years ago ! Today, we need everyone to be well mannered, polite and arrived on time to play tv. While me, I have known generations of actors : they were monsters ! “

Not to mention the attitude-I-not caring about and mocking deployed by the musicians to the media, a real “fuck you” to the institution “. In watching many interviews, the duo has been fascinated by “the courage, the integrity” of artists.

The “formatting” in art

Should we regret this freedom ? The director considers in any case that it is necessary to question the “formatting” item ” It is very hard to resist. And this [relates to] the modes of production. It is not for nothing that I take so much time to do my shows. “Long incubations, which allow for the depth. A spirit that should also reflect Because the night. “It is a spectacle to be rigorous, but with a lot of freedom on stage. Not everything is set in place. There are moments of explosion. “

Because the night

Text : Dany Boudreault and Brigitte Haentjens, in collaboration with Céline Bonnier. Directed by : Brigitte Haentjens. Dramaturgy : Andréane Roy. A co-production of Space Go, Sibyllines, and the French Theatre at the national arts Centre. With Alex Bergeron, Celine Bonnier, Dany Boudreault, Martin Dubreuil and Leni Parker. Musicians : Bernard Falaise, Rémi Leclerc and Alexandre St-Onge. To Space Go from 5 to 31 march.