(photo credit: Pascal Gely / Hans Lucas)
– translated from French –
⬥ Thanks to a choral, fiery and determined show, Émilie Monnet resurrects Marguerite Duplessis from the ashes of oblivion for a volcanic hour.
Without ever succumbing to the violence of an indictment, Marguerite : le feu is a memorial steeped in humanity, with theater, dance and song in Indigenous and contemporary intonations, even Gregorian for the time of a trial evoked recto tono. But it’s also an eruptive jolt when, like a volcano, what has remained buried under the ashes of history for too long explodes.
Le jour du seigneur, « Marguerite : le feu » ou la résurrection des cendres de l’oubli, July 2023
⬥ Despite the scarcity of sources, the Franco-Anishinabe multidisciplinary artist restores the fruit of her quest for memory in a piece halfway between documentary and performance.
The staging redraws the colonial past through a captivating synaesthesia of sound and visual landscapes.
Callysta Croizer, Les échos, Avignon 2023 : Marguerite attise le feu de l’histoire coloniale, July 10, 2023
⬥ The injustice of a trial whose outcome is written in advance is palpable in the fiery dances mingled with incomprehensible legal language mocked by the Camusian absurdity of Marguerite’s struggle. The sense of injustice turns to anger, then to rage. The actresses look you straight in the eye. You feel their anger, their incomprehension, their sadness.
Garis Gentet, L’humanité, Marguerite : le feu – un volcan gronde, July 9, 2023
⬥ This show is not an investigation, nor a counter-trial. It’s a song of love, grief and tears, a powerful oratorio. The impossible spoken-sung portrait of a native Antigone. A “score” that is “a way of reappropriating history”, says the Canadian Emilie Monnet behind the project.
Jean-Pierre Thibaudat, blog Mediapart.fr, Avignon – La véridique histoire inachevée de l’autochtone Marguerite Duplessis, July 10, 2023
⬥ Emilie Monnet […] offers a powerful show combining song, dance and declamation, during which we discover fragments of Marguerite’s life, but also the darkness of this slave domination which reduces individuals to the rank of objects.
This multi-disciplinary performance is carried out in a single stroke, with no downtime, as if stimulated by the urgency of this burning issue, by four performersé
Emilie Monnet offers us a collective performance of great formal beauty and emotion, a fire that has blazed for nearly three centuries and a cry for justice.
Jean-Louis Blanc, Inferno-magazine.com, Marguerite : le feu – Une superbe performance collective, July 2023
⬥ A great deal of work has gone into words, diction and rhythm. Words spoken, repeated, whispered, shouted, get stuck in our heads. The name “Marguerite Duplessis” will continue to echo in spectators’ heads. […] A remarkable piece of choral work that also leaves room for each woman’s individuality.
Here, past, present and future mingle in the service of memory. Rituals of dance and song convey all the rage and call up the collective imagination of the past and native culture. These moments are powerful, full of history, rage and hope in the midst of despair.
Héloïse Kupfer, Maze.fr, Marguerite : le feu – Un phoenix au féminin, July 18, 2023
⬥ Émilie Monnet’s challenge at the prestigious Festival d’Avignon is off to a flying start! The Quebec artist of Anishinabe origin received a warm welcome at the premiere of her play Marguerite : le feu, presented on Friday [July 7] at Théâtre Benoit-XII.
Stéphanie Morin, La Presse, Émilie Monnet, éveilleuse de conscience, July 11, 2023
⬥ Émilie Monnet “invents” here (as one invents a treasure) a flamboyant staging, making bodies and souls vibrate, to celebrate on a theatrical stage the exemplary energy of this freedom-loving young woman of the 18th century.
Four performers […] will make the unthinkable of racial discrimination – past and present – heard for an hour. Through song and dance, words raised like incantations, raw words that speak uncompromisingly of their fate, past and present, they carry high the revolt of rebellious women of all eras, of whom Marguerite is the standard.
The four performers in chorus are reminiscent of the Greek chorus responsible for initiating the tragedy by commenting on it. They form a single entity whose echoing voices work to sculpt Marguerite’s portrait through present-day traces.
La revue du spectacle, “Marguerite : le Feu” Itinéraire d’une autochtone québécoise, July 2023
⬥ Poignant, poetic, eloquent.
Claudine Arrazat, critiquetheatreclau.com, Marguerite : le feu Émilie Monnet, July 16, 2023
⬥ Songs, music and dance become the standard-bearer of a political claim that closely binds a new generation of women who intend to pay tribute to the struggles of their ancestors.
Colonial history intertwines with contemporary themes. Marguerite : le feu conveys the words of Indigenous past and present in a performance that is as political as it is metaphysical.
Sophie Trommelen, artsmouvants.com, Marguerite : le feu Émilie Monnet, July 26, 2023