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La Sagouine, 1,401 times now ...

March, 2011

La Sagouine is the all-time Canadian one-person show.

It follows Billy Bishop Goes to War, the all-time two-person show at the Segal Centre. Just as Billy featured 60ish Eric Peterson and John Gray, who have been playing their parts for more than 30 years, so La Sagouine features spry 80-year-old Viola Léger, who has performed the piece around the world 1,400 times in English and French.

Born in Massachusetts of Acadian parents, Leger was recruited for this role by New Brunswick author Antonine Maillet. La Sagouine is an Acadian washerwoman with wordly wisdom whose portrayal was described by the Toronto Star as “wonderful, warm and wise.”

Her life spans war and recessions. Her occasional malapropisms add humour to her common-sense observations.

Léger was a Chrétien appointee to the Senate and recipient of the Order of Canada.

At the Segal, March 20 to April 10. 514-739-7944.

Instructions to Any Future Socialist Government Wishing to Abolish Christmas, now playing at the Centaur, has the second-longest title of any play to grace the stage. (The longest was The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum at Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade.)

It tackles a big subject, the recent economic crisis. Embodied by Jeff, the hotshot manager of a high-risk hedge fund and his younger “right hand” gal Cass, the clever script ranges from capitalism vs. socialism to gender differences to computer decision programs.

Playwright Michael MacKenzie won awards for The Baroness and the Pig and Geometry in Venice. Director Chris Abraham directed many hits at the Segal, including Geometry.

Actor Gemma Jones-Smith recently starred in Blithe Spirit.

Actor Ted Dykstra directed Billy Bishop while rehearsing for Instructions. (I had the privilege of seeing Ken in his own one-man show, Tolstoy`s Kreutzer Sonata, in Toronto. Hopefully someone will bring it to Montreal. The writing, music and acting were magic.)

At the Centaur until April 10. To reserve: 514-288-3161.



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