Monday, January 20, 2014

The Question... Director Matthieu Labaudiniére on All My Sons

Why Not?
by Estelle Rosen

Matthieu Labaudiniére is in his third year studying mechanical engineering at McGill University. He was born in Paris, France, but raised in the United States. In addition to his studies, he stays involved in the theatre community and the soccer community around McGill. He is part of a racing team that designs formula style race cars to compete all across the world.

CHARPO: Why does an Engineering student direct a theatre production, and what are the challenges of directing a classic play as your first effort?

LABAUDINIÉRE: Why not? Man is not a one-dimensional creature, but is full of contradictions. Just like he is capable of a whole range of emotions, he is also capable of mastering many skills. In the past year I have acted, directed, studied engineering, given business presentations, written articles about soccer, played soccer, announced soccer games, worked as a camp counsellor, been a frosh leader, and enjoyed the benefits of a healthy relationship. Could I pinpoint one of those that was the most important, that I would have enjoyed doing for the whole year? No, of course not.  Each of those activities helped me grow as a person in its own way. I need to stimulate all dimensions of my personality and that includes engineering and theatre together.

Sometimes when you walk down the street, you realize you have been zoning out for a while, and so you take a look over your shoulder to see how you got to where you are. When I think about how I got from young infant to director, I think of my sister. Two and half years older than me, my sister used to drag me into her room and choreograph dances and direct skits for us to perform for our parents. These could be Christmas songs, jazz dances, play skits, or whatever she wanted. I looked up to my sister back then, and it hasn’t changed much today. As she went off to be part of local cabarets and such, I tried to keep up. When I had to leave her and go to boarding school, I wasn’t planning on doing theatre, but just dance. I randomly tried out for a play and was irrevocably changed by my director. I was inspired, pushed, challenged to light a fire under myself and keep going. And so I did, and here I am now. 

This is my second attempt at directing, the first being Les Justes by Albert Camus. Unlike the latter, All My Sons is a relatively well known play. This adds an exciting element to the act of directing because it involves so much more memory. People have their own past interactions and experiences with the play. Perhaps they have seen a production or studied the text in a class. Therefore they have pre-existing notions on what the play looks like in terms of costumes, personalities, set, etc. As a director, I want to challenge these memories and take them from a different angle, my angle.  Just like every actor brings his own experiences to his character, the vision for each director is influenced by his own relationship with the text. 

All My Sons runs at McGill Players Theatre  Jan. 22 - Feb. 1

1 comment:

  1. It's people like Matthew that inspire me to follow my passions wherever they lead me. I hate how I feel pressured to focus solely on a singular facet of life when I have the need to experience everything to the fullest potential.


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