Protest of young artists at TNM | Director and dissident

Last Thursday, at the premiere of Dear Chekhov, by Michel Tremblay, a group of young theater artists delayed raising the curtain to denounce the management that is leaving TNM to “die”. After the hall protest and discussion with director Serge Denoncourt, about fifteen protesters entered the hall to read a short message to the public. “We are in danger of coming here to tell a truth that hundreds of us believe in: The Théâtre du Nouveau Monde is dying. And do not offer anything new. » press met on Tuesday TNM director Lorraine Pintal and spokeswoman for the protest group: author and director Hugo Fréjabise.

Posted yesterday at 07:00.

Luc Boulanger

Luc Boulanger

Q. Lorraine Pintal, how did you react to the protest last Thursday?

Lorraine Pintal: I found it violent; there was a bit of panic on my team. Then I wondered why no one had tried to warn us. Because TNM has a reputation for being very open to dialogue, to talking. I understand the difficult reality of the next generation, but why aim at us now, after two years of pandemic, in full recovery? It’s a ridiculous time to explode TNM.

Hugo Frejabise: Because TNM is a symbolic, historical, mythical place. This theater represents the idea that young artists have for a national theater that occupies a central place in society. However, there is an impression that the theater is complacent about power.


The artistic and general director of TNM since 1992, Lorraine Pintal

Q. This is not the first time TNM has been challenged. For several years, we can read quite virulent criticism of the company and its management…

Lorraine Pintal: It’s true. And whenever it happened, I met the opponent one by one. Moreover, before press do not call me, I was planning to meet. You know, a theater like TNM is a big iceberg. From the outside, we see only its top; not everything below. Clearly, we wonder with each program about the causes you advocate, such as lack of heritage and diversity. We are not where you would like TNM to be, but we are making progress.

Q. In 1974, after graduating from the Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, you were very critical of the TNM and the lack of women on your team. Could you have participated in a challenge similar to that of Thursday?

Lorraine Pintal: At that time, we demonstrated on the street, in front of the entrance, not inside a theater. After all, Hugo, if your group had stayed in the lobby, I would not have said anything. I was behind the scenes and unfortunately could not intervene when Serge [Denoncourt] decided to leave you in the room when the show was about to start.

Q. Are you angry with Serge Denoncourt for letting the protesters enter the room? Because according to him these young people had the right to express themselves.

Lorraine Pintal: I do not understand ! I have a lot of respect for actors to ruin the start of a show. The performers were nervous and I was afraid it would destabilize them throughout the performance.

Hugo Frejabise: There are people who thought it was orchestrated, staged by Serge Denoncourt…

Lorraine Pintal: It’s safe! Opening the doors and making a prologue to your demonstration, some people may have thought so. If Serge wanted to criticize the TNM, to shoot himself in the leg, that’s his problem!


Author and director Hugo Fréjabise

Q. Hugo, was it your theatrical creation team, Rassemblement Diomède, that organized the protest on Thursday? The leaflet is not signed by anyone.

Hugo Frejabise: The movement prefers to remain anonymous. I understand that anonymity is scary, but it is the basis of democracy, like secret ballot. And also to protect artists from reprisals. Some people are afraid to end up on a blacklist.

Lorraine Pintal: I can assure you right away, there has never been a blacklist on the TNM. For or against, the house is open to all talented artists who have something to say. They will always be welcome. It is part of the TNM values.

Hugo Frejabise: I know it looks like we’re hitting the family. But I have the impression that TNM is moving away from pure creation as in the 1970s, with Jovette Marchessault, Claude Gauvreau or Crafts are thirsty. TNM does something new from the old. We ask young authors to take Camus, Dostoyevsky, Ibsen.

Lorraine Pintal: Each theater has its own territory. It is important that not everyone does the same thing. TNM’s mission is to create a bridge between the classics and the contemporaries and to write the founding texts in the present. And we need classics. We do not know our past in Quebec, there is a huge shortage of memory, everyone is looking to the future!

Hugo Frejabise: I’m fed up with the classics, I have nothing against it. Koltes said we want differently in the XXAND century than in the time of Marivaux. The theater must be able to resist its time. Why in times of health crisis did TNM not go out to play, on the streets, to convey the words of artists in the public square?

Lorraine Pintal: On the contrary, I find that there has been a great deal of solidarity from the cultural environment during the crisis. We worked on all fronts at once. You send the ball to TNM, and I catch it in the jump. But we are not alone.


Author and director Hugo Fréjabise in discussion with TNM director Lorraine Pintal

Q. Did the fact that the artistic direction has been the same for more than 30 years play a role in your decision to choose TNM as your target?

Hugo Frejabise: Nr. It’s the size of the system and its management model that worries me. In my opinion, the essence of theater is insurgent, revolutionary. The theater must find the place of resistance in relation to power. And naively, I would have hoped that the TNM was this place of freedom, this public agora, away from the games of power.

Lorraine Pintal: This, I think we should do by discussing it all together. Not hitting each other on the back between artists. If leaders see real media solidarity, it is likely to move faster.

Q. Finally, this meeting is a good thing right?

Lorraine Pintal: Personally, it pushes me forward. There is no need to always agree between us, otherwise it would be boring. I believe in the clash of ideas.

Hugo Frejabise: I realize you found the time bad. But Che Guevara said there is never a good time to make a revolution.

The statements are abbreviated and summarized for clarity and conciseness.

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