Writing inclusive invites you to the theatre

Pink Karen Henriquez
Special Collaboration

March 9, 2019

L’écriture inclusive s’invite au théâtre

Photo: Simon Gosselin
Plays “Barbed wire” (pictured above) and “Bitch(s)” use of the methods of writing non-gendered.

This text is part of a special booklet.

While the French Academy, maintains, finally, but the tip of the lips, the feminization of professional titles, the quebec theatre seizes the burning debate. The creators here are trying to make a feminist response by the use of writing inclusive in their works.

Marie-Ève Milot, Marie-Claude St-Laurent, the founder of the Theatre of the Hungry, who are of ” the feminist analysis of their creation engine “, to realize that they attributed unconsciously the roles of authority for men. The result of this awakening, they are committed, by the theatre language, to overthrow the word dominant. “We became aware of our own gender biases and we decided that we needed to leave traces of this awareness through the literary material,” says Marie-Ève Milot.

In their more recent creations, Dog(s) in 2018, and the Guerrilla of the ordinary to the displays currently at the Centre of the Theatre of today, we can see their position language as in the writing of the text and in the staging. The main characters of these two parts are surrounded by the secondary roles, dégenrés. For example, the role of the boss in Dog(s) was played by Larissa Corriveau and Richard Fréchette.

This singularity, however, is the result of a long creative process that begins as soon as the write, with the use of the middle point. A use of writing gender-inclusive language that they grow to a climax because, during rehearsals, the actresses and actors may embody the same protagonists, regardless of their gender. “I find that it does not restrict the performers in stereotypical roles,” says Marie-Ève Milot. It thwarts the representativeness of this way. There is also a work that becomes more collective. We get a kind of kaleidoscope of the visions of each on the same character. “

L’écriture inclusive s’invite au théâtre

Photo: Dominic Lachance
The piece “Bitch(s)” uses methods of writing non-gendered.

Shake the language

The debate surrounding the writing inclusive is still experiencing many twists and turns, in the image of the recent decision of the French Academy. In Quebec, the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) recommended the feminization as early as 1979. But in the reality of the theater, the creators are themselves in the face of some reluctance. “I think people have fear that it may lead to an increase the text and the game, and it is true that it is a barrier to cross,” says , author of Barbed wire (2018), which featured Marie-Ève Milot in a monologue, not gendered. I think it can really be a springboard for the drama, rather than a brake. “

In the theatre, since the language is spoken, there is the opportunity to play with the codes of writing inclusive since nothing is set in stone and that the practice has yet to be theorized. “We can make this inclusiveness is poetic, beautiful, funny, and even disturbing if you want to,’ she says. The musicality of the words we live a lot since the first pieces that we have written. “

Make them visible from multiple speech

The approach of the Theatre of the Hungry also tries to be intersectional. In the same way that the genre, the creators are interested in the hétéronormativité, transidentité and racism. “When you understand that patriarchy and the discrimination is systemic, colonialism or racism, and that you see in your personal life, in the public space, in politics, in art, it makes you as a human and as an artist “, believes Marie-Claude St-Laurent.

Without claiming to represent all groups and all identities, they have the desire to hear other speeches that the speeches are in the majority, and this passes through the dialogues in the theatre. “I hope that this inclusion is done in a more natural manner, that all these reflections are also taking root in the re-workings of classical texts or in the language of the stage “, continues Marie-Claude St-Laurent.

We can make this inclusiveness poetic

— Annick Lefebvre

It is a path that some creative quebec are already starting to take with, for example, the feminization of the roles. Director Édith Patenaude has done in Titus (2017) reversing the roles of male and female. Brigitte Poupart, multidisciplinary artist, and co-founder of the company Transthéâtre, has revisited the masterpiece Glengarry Glen Ross, presented at Usine C in 2017, by proposing a distribution entirely female.

One of the objectives of the Theatre of the Hungry is that the position adopted by the language goes beyond the representation stage and becomes visible on the paper. A wish almost come true since they will soon be published in the Editions of the fuss is about.

Inclusiveness in a perspective of translation

Since this winter, Catherine Leclerc, professor, Department of French language and literature at McGill University, teaches the course ” Translation inclusive “. The students there compare the different writing strategies to be inclusive of both English and French. Interview with the professor.

What are these strategies ?

There are several strategies to apply. The language inclusive attack, for example, the gender bias that only men can engage in certain professions. It requires, in particular, by the re-introduction or the invention of titles for women. There is also the issue of grammatical agreement. We are taught that the masculine prevails over the feminine, but it has not always been the case historically. There are other ways to play chords that some people are trying to reintroduce.

Why have you chosen to give this course ?

It really comes from my reading of English texts, where the strategies that are inclusive are used in a way very spontaneous. Whereas in French, only feminist activists used strategies for writing non-sexist. I asked myself, therefore, a question of language : how to translate it ? English is more neutral than the French. While the French focused on the language non-sexist, for several decades, there is also a work that is done on the English language to name all of the diversities of the genre. In French, we do not have any this neutral terminology, it requires a gymnastics language more demanding.

What is the future of writing and the translation inclusive ?

There is a real dynamism around writing inclusive, of the guides are published, proposals are set out, the specialists are extremely busy. It is certain that some things will be implanted. This debate also belongs to a conversation in a political wider. We live in a heterogeneous society where it is dangerous not to recognize a legitimate place for all our fellow citizens.

Interview by Rose Karen Henriquez