How often do you get a chance to see a genre and gender bending horror/love story about two queer women in a rocky romance? Vic and Flo saw a bear, translated and adapted for the stage from Denis Côté’s award-winning 2013 film, will be running for two weeks this fall at Montreal’s Centaur Theatre.
The English adaptation has been done by Michael Mackenzie, who is also directing the play. Mackenzie has had a special relationship to Quebec theatre—he has won the ‘Best Production’ prize and both the French and the English critics award—as well as having his plays produced across Europe. He worked with Robert Lepage on ‘Dragon Bleu’, and he was the dramaturge for the Cirque du Soleil show ‘Ka’ now playing in Las Vegas .
Mackenzie says he was instantly drawn to Côté’s film for its dramatic complexity set against the stark reality of the characters. “The lack of stereotypical characterization means that you really have to look/listen to the actors—there are no short-cuts to understanding them. At the same time, Vic and Flo combines elements of a love story, with a backdrop of a domestic drama, the Noir genre and then into the horror genre with final twist of Quebecois magic realism.”
The cast includes the award-winning Montreal actress, Julie Tamiko Manning (Vic) and rising star Natalie Liconti (Flo); as well as Leslie Baker (Jackie) who has worked internationally as a creator, teacher, performer; and up and coming stage and film actor Alexandre Lavigne.
For Talisman Theatre, which has made a name for itself in its stagings of Québecois plays in translation, this is a new departure. But company artistic director Lyne Paquette says that it is a natural evolution at a time when Quebec culture has been going through a period of outstanding success for its films (three Foreign Language Oscar nominations in the last 4 years). “The film Vic et Flo on un ours also won the Berlin film festival prize for opening new perspectives on cinematic art. Our stage version is doing the same thing for Montreal theatre. It is a play that crosses all sorts of boundaries and it is already opening doors to new partnerships.”
The queer characters at the centre of the play and its cinematic origins have attracted the attention of Imag+Nation, the LGBT film festival running at the same time and Talisman will be partnering with the festival in cross-promotion. “We love the outreach that Vic and Flo is leading us to in Montreal,” Paquette says. “This is going to be the event to watch on Montreal stages this year.”
Talisman Theatre presents
Vic and Flo saw a bear
Direction, translation and adaptation Michael Mackenzie
November 23-December 2, 2017
Previews: November 21 and 22
Wednesday to Saturday at 7h30 pm
+ December 2 at 2h30 pm and 7h30 pm
At Centaur Theatre, 453, Saint-Francois-Xavier, Montreal