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(Margo Kane and Lorne Cardinal in For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again
– photograph courtesy of Dave Eagles)
by Dale Bass
For Glynis Leyshon, directing For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again is amazingly simple.
That’s not to downplay the work she is putting into the next production by Western Canada Theatre (WCT), which starts previews tonight (Jan. 26) at Sagebrush Theatre and opens on Saturday, Jan. 28.
It’s just acknowledging a simple reality: This play features two of the country’s most talented actors performing a work that Glynis says is proof — if any is actually needed — that Michel Tremblay is Canada’s best living playwright.
Now approaching 80, Tremblay’s works have long been viewed most often as complicated metaphors for Quebec politics through the years, Leyshon said, “and the great works he has done have mainly been fiction.”
This one, however, is different; Tremblay goes back into his own life to write about the mother he lost at the age of 20.
Written 33 years after that death, Tremblay does not rewrite his own history, but rather revisits moments, times that obviously left an enormous impact on him because of his mother’s involvement.
“The incidents in the play are things that happened when he was the age of 10, 13 — he does very specific things,” Leyshon said, “like the day the police came because he was throwing ice or the day he finally told his mother he hated her roast beef.”
They may seem like everyday moments — and in many ways they are — but, with Lorne Cardinal and Margo Kane playing the only two characters, the play becomes “an homage to his mother,” Leyshon said.
“In many ways, she reminds me of my mother.”
Directing it is more a matter of “not getting in the way of the words,” she said.
Leyshon directed Wit last year for WCT and said the two plays, while similar in the personal, often painful journeys they present, are dissimilar in the way the words come pouring out of the actors’ mouths.
With Wit, Lois Anderson, who played the university professor learning about humanity as she dies from cancer, the script was harsh.
Tremblay’s script “is like a piece of music,” Leyshon said, “The music of the word.
“What’s really required is for me to be a good ear.”
This article appeared in Kamloops This Week on January 26, 2012.