Monday, September 16, 2013

The Question... Sylvain Bélanger on Billy (les jours de hurlement)

Screaming Billy
by Estelle Rosen

Born in Montreal in 1972, Sylvain Bélanger studied acting at the National Theatre School of Canada. He is a founding member of Théâtre du Grand Jour and has been the artistic director of the company since its inception in 1999. As a director and playwright, he uses theatre to question the individual’s accountability in our “end of history” era where many of the underlying structures of modernity have collapsed. He has directed Joan MacLeod’s Cette fille-là (The Shape of a Girl), Bernard Lagier’s Moi chien créole (presented at the Comédie-Française) and, for Théâtre de la Manufacture, Olivier Choinière’s Félicité and David Greig's Yellow Moon. Since September 2012, he is the artistic director of Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui. 
CHARPO:  I understand the essence of Billy questions the vacuousness of prejudicial stereotyping. What was the motivation to produce this play?

BELANGER: I wanted to work on what makes Quebec people go backwards, socially and collectively. I asked this simple (and at the same time, very complex!) question to Playwright Fabien Cloutier. A few months later, he began working on this reaction that people have to always criticize what is wrong, pointing at others as part of the problem, while never including themselves as part of the solution.

I think that this country is, for many reasons, static and inefficient. And I think that collective responsibility is impossible to achieve when you shout with anger everywhere and at everyone, including the system, without working on a possible solution. The system is representing us and we have the absolute power to change it. People in this play are paid and live on a system that they constantly criticize without doing anything to change it. So I think they put themselves in the victim's position. People are fully responsible for the role they chose to play. We should always be free to be a factor of change and progress. 

It's the same with our approach to politics. 

Meanwhile, and that's where the play is motivated by the young mother's part, when someone wants to make a difference, sometimes for the wrong reasons, blinded by anger and prejudices, they can lose all judgement and honesty. They can lose the most precious things they have. 

What I read in this play is this: when you try to save someone that never asked for anything, and try to do it for the wrong reasons, you may miss the chance to make your own revolution… 

Billy (les jours de hurlement) runs to September 28

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