Delphine Bienvenu and Matt Holland in Episode 5 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 the neighbourhood of Pointe-St-Charles.
In episode 5 of En Pointe, the controversial closure of the local YMCA has brought together the neighbourhood for a heated debate on the future of the financially troubled community centre. Gathered in front of the building to hear the Director of the Y’s public announcement on the matter are various community members with opposing interests. On one side, a realtor and wealthy property investors (recognized as Tania, Léopold, and Eliza from episode 4) argue in favour of the condo developments in the area. On the other end, an activist, city councillor, and working class residents defend the importance of the Y and its resources and services to the locals. Tensions rise and we see a dispute of the rich vs. the poor that reflects the real-life disparities that still exist between social classes in Pointe-St-Charles.
Of the short plays I’ve seen so far in the En Pointe series, this has been the most impactful so far. The history, politics and social issues of Pointe-St-Charles became that much more clear. This Sunday’s performance provided a good follow-up and development to the previous episode, which heavily addressed the topic of gentrification as well. The acting from the bilingual cast of Anna Beaupré Moulounda, Delphine Bienvenu, Matt Holland, Mike Hughes, Cat Lemieux, Frédéric Paquet, Christine Rodriguez, and Anne-Marie Saheb was superb.
The passionate characters and the conversation also seemed to fire up several audience members, many of whom I assume must be locals. You really felt the gravity of the situation and their opinions on the matter from the boos and cheers. The touch of having the actual neighbourhood YMCA looming over the “stage” as part of the scenery made it all the more real.
Another beautiful summer afternoon, another great show from Tableau D’Hôte Theatre. I’m getting invested in these characters and their stories and am looking forward to upcoming performances. The next episode, the sixth in the series, takes place on Thursday, September 3rd at 6pm.
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.