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Comic, this label is not always adequate

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Are the many actors who put on solo shows all trying to become comedians? No, replies Christian Bégin, who will present the first of 8 deadly sins in October. “The production house promotes it that way, except I always said it was a comedy show, but that’s not all. ”

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Domenico late

Domenico late
The print

The problem with categories is that they often get stuffy like a straitjacket. Because the shows they present solo do not perfectly match the stage of the theater, Emmanuel Bilodeau, Fabien Cloutier, Jean-Sébastien Girard and Christian Bégin, whom you will all be able to see on stage this autumn, speak with the “I” of your more or less comical, they all end up, by default, in the humor box.

“I always said it was a hybrid show,” says Christian Bégin. We are not in a traditional form of standing, there is no mathematical mechanism of laughter nor this injunction to constant laughter. But of course we sell it in the comedy niche. ”

In The 8 deadly sinsthe host of There are people at mass he will therefore try to measure, between lightness and seriousness, reflections and confidences, if he still has what it takes, at the age of 59, «to metabolize all the changes that society is subjecting us to, at high speed. Generous in laughter, the text also allows for other tones.


PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, PRESS ARCHIVE

Christian Beginning

And that’s something I have to defend with the producers [KOScène]. It’s not a battle, but I still have to explain that moments when people don’t laugh aren’t a problem for me. I’m just going to visit another playground with them.

Christian Beginning

The output for TLMEP

The man of the theater does not ignore the suspicious eye with which some contemplate his alleged transition to humor, the one who, in 2004 on the set of Everyone talks about it (TLMEP), lukewarmly commented on Stéphane Rousseau’s performance in Barbarian Invasions and, more generally, the invasion of comedians on cinema screens.

An output that regrets having personalized, although it persists and marks in its denunciation “of the market value attributed to individuals by their status, which leads to marquis choices, rather than artistic choices.”

The irony in all of this? Christian Bégin taught for a decade at the National School of Humor, produced productions for Martin Matte, Maxim Martin and Jean-Thomas Jobin, and doesn’t despise comedians any more than he despises olive oil.

It turns out that Christian Bégin made his bones as a comedian, even before studying theater. In the early 1980s, he took part in Jean Beaulne’s Super talent show and finished a good second behind André-Philippe Gagnon and his saxophonist. “Let me tell you, when it passed before me, I didn’t want to go anymore!” ”

Never mind, the young man self-produced a first one-man-show at the Elysée in 1990, What remains of my loves?then in 1997, he revealed his character as a moving crooner I have a crush on you or J’ai une orangeade sur toi. “Today I don’t go on stage as a comedian, he said, but I have no problem claiming the status of a comedian, because I have already practiced this profession. ”

speak directly

Purely mercantile decision to put label humor on these onstage only created by popular comedians? Emmanuel Reichenbach denies it. “I often find the categories to be a bit rigid,” says the producer of Encore, the stage behind the tours of Anne-Élisabeth Bossé, Fabien Cloutier, Marc Messier and even the horticulturist Marthe Laverdière. But, he agrees, “there is this very strong desire in the public to spend time with an artist they love.”

And the opposite is also true, confirms Christian Bégin. “For me it is part of the desire to break through the fourth wall, to speak directly to people, to have an answer. It’s a thrill completely different. ”

Quebec historian of humor, Robert Aird explains that the term “comedy” didn’t become essential until the 1980s, when the laughter industry was taking shape. “Before we had either monologues or fantasists,” he points out, recalling that those who are considered the founders of Quebec humor – Yvon Deschamps, Clémence DesRochers, Sol – necessarily came from another medium: music, theater or literature.

I don’t think actors who venture into that field do it like comedians. At first glance, the forms proposed by my companions do not resemble those made by Adib Alkhalidey or Virginie Fortin, where, even if there may be moments of poetry or philosophy, laughter is at the center of the approach.

Christian Beginning

The curious fisherman sometimes asks the spectators, at the end of the running-in, if the evening was “confusing” for them. And no one answers in the affirmative. “I see it on TV: we often talk about Madame de Chibougamau, who will not understand. But Madame de Chibougamau is not a whore. If yours show that’s okay and if you give the keys to people, they usually follow them. ”

The 8 deadly sins according to Christian Béginfrom 19 to 21 October at the Théâtre Outremont, then on tour throughout Quebec

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