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(Posted Feb. 9, 2018)

Créations In Vivo bringing children’s theatre to Orléans
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Créations in Vivo will present their latest production, ‘Charly’, at the Shenkman Theatre on Feb. 10. Heather Jamieson/Photo

An exploration into the power of imagination through the magic of puppetry comes to the Shenkman Arts Centre on Feb. 10 with two performances of “Charly in the Desert.”

This will be the world premiere of the play co-authored by Ève Alexandre-Beaulieu and Créations In Vivo artistic director Stéphane Guertin.

The play was inspired by a tour that took Alexandre-Beaulieu through Burkina Faso in 2008. The experience of being a minority, as a white Canadian in an African country, motivated her to explore the themes of cultural and linguistic differences and how to find commonality.

Told through various forms of puppetry, it is the story of two children who find themselves part of a blended family. Charly, 9, is white, Canadian and not happy about his mother’s new African partner and his daughter, Inna, 11, who have moved in with them.

Frustrated by the children’s failure to get along, their parents tell them to either find a way to overcome their differences or a planned vacation will be cancelled. The youngsters are locked in Charly’s bedroom and ordered to figure things out.

The antagonism between them quickly reveals the scope of their differences and the marked contrast in their life experience. But, as anger fades and imagination takes over, the children find common ground and learn to cooperate in an imaginary desert world they create.

“The element of the imagination as a place where so much is possible, including the resolution of conflict, was my main thread in directing the play,” explains director Gabrielle Lalonde.

While Créations In Vivo has presented bilingual productions in the past, as well as an English show for a Lithuanian tour, Guertin says this is the first time a show has been created in both French and English at the same time. This will be the company’s first English presentation at the Shenkman.

The venue is particularly exciting for the cast and crew, as actors/puppeteers Chloé Tremblay and Sébastien Lajoie, and stage manager Louisa Haché, were raised in Orléans. The third performer, Kiara-Lynn Néï, moved to Orléans six years ago.

They are all very proud to be working professionally at the Shenkman Arts Centre. “I love this theatre,” says Tremblay. “It is a wonderful place to create and a beautiful location.”

The play will be touring to schools and theatres in both French and English in the months ahead, explains Guertin. “This is the kind of show I want to present to children. It offers many possibilities to talk about a variety of important topics.”

On stage in the Richcraft Theatre on Feb. 10, the 10 a.m. performance will be in English, with the French performance at 3 p.m. eared for children as young as five, Lalonde says the level of French in the 55-minute play is quite appropriate for French Immersion students.

After each performance, the audience will have an opportunity to meet the cast - and the puppets - and learn more about the art of puppet theatre.

A joint presentation of the Shenkman Arts Centre and MIFO, tickets for “Charly in the Desert” are available at www.shenkmanarts.ca

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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