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TNM (Théâtre du Nouveau Monde) 1989

Director : Guillermo de Andrea

The story of Romeo and Juliet is familiar to everyone, so we thought it was a little superfluous to have a synopsis. Instead here is an interview with Roy about his performance in this production that appeared in the Journal de Montreal, plus a review from Cahiers de théâtre Jeu.

Journal de Montréal

April 1989

There has been a long period of suspense regarding who will get the part of Romeo. At last – Roy Dupuis will play this almost legendary hero.

The director, Guillermo de Andrea, has seen Roy on stage, in particular in Le Chien. "He came to see me in my dressing room. He wanted me to act in Romeo and Juliet, but he didn’t know what part to give me. Eventually Marc Béland wasn’t able to do it and I was chosen."

Is it a dream of yours? "Yes, but it’s a challenge at the same time. The dream really started at rehearsals. I had become pretty fed up of Toronto where I had been doing Le Chien."

How did your first meeting with Geneviève Rioux go? "It was pretty special! It was in Quebec. We had to pose for the poster half naked. That breaks the ice pretty quickly!"

The pair are very different; Geneviève is rather intellectual; she thinks a great deal about her role, whereas Roy is more instinctive.

How do you see Romeo? "He perhaps has a romantic side but the character is above all searching for absolution. In this play we also have the two of them living in a corrupt world, there’s money involved, and families who hate each other."

In the three years that he has been working, things haven’t passed him by. First of all there was Harold and Maude, on tour in Acadia with Viola Léger. Following that he could be seen in other plays, and he even almost made a film in France. "It was called Section Halte; I played the leading part but because of production problems we never finished filming." On the other hand he can be seen in Dans le ventre du dragon, and he has also appeared in Jésus de Montréal.

Besides, he particularly likes the theatre and the cinema. He doesn’t believe in luck, but rather in fate. "You must have confidence in yourself but at the same time have awareness. You mustn’t forget that there are highs and lows."

And what period are you in at the moment? "A period of reflection! Romeo’s going very well."

He never actually chose this career. While rehearsing lines with someone who was auditioning at the National Theatre School, it happened quite by chance. As a result he dropped science! "It was fate; I see no reason why I shouldn’t believe that. That’s not to say that you should leave everything to chance."

In life, he likes the unexpected, surprises. "I couldn’t follow a routine. Sometimes I would like to have a bit of peace, but that doesn’t last."

He is learning more and more to get on with people. "When I was younger I was independent."

Born in Abitibi, he misses the countryside a lot. "I was raised in the woods. City life intrigued me for six or seven years. Now I’m aware that I can’t spend time in the forest. While there is still some left, I would like to make the most of it!"

And when the day comes that he owns a little place in the woods, he will have children because he’s very fond of them.


Cahiers de théâtre Jeu

Romeo and Juliet
Théâtre du Nouveau Monde 11th April – 6th May 1989

Review by Diane Pavlovic with footnotes added by Michel Vaïs

Text : William Shakespeare, translated by Jean-Louis Roux
Director : Guillermo de Andrea
Set Designer : Claude Goyette
Costumes : John Pennoyer
Lighting : Michel Beaulieu
Musical Director : Claude Bernatchez (from Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliet Symphony)
Choreography : Ginelle Chagnon
Cast (mentioned in review):
Romeo : Roy Dupuis
Juliet : Geneviève Rioux
Mercutio : Antoine Durand
Brother Laurent : Rémy Girard
Music by : Anonymus (Sylvain Bergeron, Marie-Louise Donald, Claire Gignac, Pierre Langevin)

A special event of a play, as much for the myth which it brings with it as for the current circumstances – the new interpretation performed by the Théâtre de l’Opsis earlier in the season, the recent Shakespearean Spring enjoyed by Montreal – the Romeo and Juliet staged at the T.N.M. was lacking in inspiration. Certainly, it appeared to be a very fine looking production: a bare set sculpted by skilful lighting, languid bodies moulded in sensuous fabrics, high-action scenes impeccably choreographed. But underneath the accents of the ballroom, the clash of swords and the laughs of the young men there was a sincere and rather tedious respect for a cultural value which they tried to rejuvenate without succeeding in making it contemporary. The totally gratuitous nudity (1) of the lovers of Verona, in an incredible scene where they emerge through the floor on a little round plinth, the overturning of the trestle that supports their corpses leading to the bodies sliding violently into a ditch, all these contrived ‘effects’ based neither on any unified vision of the work nor on any inner consistency of the performance, became just so many failures. This deceptively modern production which goes as far as to suggest a latent homosexuality between the boys – this too falls flat – was saved in part, however, by the acting. Geneviève Rioux made a radiant Juliet, all beauty and precision; her opposite number, alas! played an appalling Romeo (2). But apart from the unbearable ham acting of an Antoine Durand riddled with mannerisms, the rest of the cast came through it very well. Some magical lighting effects – an ethereal cross marking the exit of Brother Laurent, flimsy clouds outlining diaphanous dresses – the reverent tones of the music of Anonymus (3), the solemn silhouette of this accomplished Juliet, these will remain in the memory like so many brief sparks exacted from a routine, splendid and boring production.

Michel Vaïs’ footnotes :
(1) Nudity was more clumsy than gratuitous
(2) How could Romeo limp so much in between 2m leaps?
(3) But why were the musicians hidden to such an extent?

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