Delphine Bienvenu, Frédéric Paquet, Anna Beaupré Moulounda, George Bekiaris, and Émilie Barrette in Episode #4 of En Pointe. (Photo Credit: Jaclyn Turner)
Audiences in Montreal are in for a treat this summer as the Tableau D’Hôte Theatre company presents its new series of street theatre, a bilingual, socially-distanced production inspired by pandemic life in Pointe-St-Charles.
Episode 4 of En Pointe takes us to an open house in the neighbourhood where property sellers and buyers meet. On the real estate market is a chic, spruced up home owned by Léopold and his wife Eliza (played by Frédéric Paquet and Delphine Bienvenu). Helping them close a deal on the place is the well-dressed, savvy realtor Tania Morency (Anna Beaupré Moulounda). The wealthy couple don’t live there and they have no intentions of doing so; they’re just in the property game for the profit.
Arriving to look at the home are potential buyers Marcus and his pregnant partner Elaine (George Bekiaris and Émilie Barrette). They have big dreams of building a family life in Pointe-St-Charles, an idealized future that they believe they will manifest with a New-Agey, “law of attraction” kind of psyche. They can’t really afford the place, but are lured by Tania’s talk of investment to continue shopping.
Eliza is not feeling so great about the whole thing, and longtime neighbourhood resident Vincent (Amir Sám Nakhjavani) has caught onto it. As he drops by to check in on the scene, he questions Eliza and Léopold’s motives. He’s concerned for his fellow working class neighbours who may soon also be displaced from their homes in the middle of a crisis. Léopold pompously shoos Vincent away and Eliza is left thinking.
Frédéric Paquet, Delphine Bienvenu, and Amir Sám Nakhjavani (Photo Credit: Jaclyn Turner)
Written by Mathieu Murphy-Perron, the short play reflects the real-life gentrification process that the Pointe-St-Charles and other Montreal neighbourhoods have been undergoing in recent years. It highlights the class disparities and social segregations that exist in the area and other communities in development. The play seems to take strong side against the property investors, but it does humanize them to some extent through the character of Eliza. The other characters are less dimensional.
Similar to the previous performance I saw last week, it was nice to be out in the open air enjoying a show with a small but attentive and respectful crowd. This time, we were seated on the lawn of a typical Pointe-St-Charles home. Funnily enough, some local residents and pets decided to make some appearances of their own by coming out on their balconies and walking through the performance. That’s live theatre for you.
The next play in En Pointe takes place on Sunday, August 30th at 3pm. Check out the website www.tableaudhote.ca for information on the secret location and for more details on the series.
“Curtain” call for En Pointe (Photo Credit: Jaclyn Turner)
Tableau D’Hôte Theatre’s En Pointe runs for 9 performances from August 6th to September 27th, 2020 across Pointe-Saint-Charles. Free admission. Every show is presented at a different location, revealed on the day of performances. Bring a mask.