Lysis | The cursed play arrives on stage

So many tiles have fallen on the heads of the creators of the play Lysis that one could believe in a curse: replacement of the main actress three months and dust before the premiere, two postponements due to the pandemic, many changes to the cast… But after four years of heartbreaking waiting, this show of stature is preparing to meet its audience at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde. Finally.


Posted at 1:37 a.m.

Updated at 7:00 a.m.

Lorraine Pintal admits: there was a moment when the director wondered if it was worth continuing the adventure of Lysis. After all, the pandemic forced the permanent cancellation of many shows. Why persist, when bad luck was besetting this almost titanic production with its 17 performers and musicians on stage?

“I needed to speak to the two authors, Fanny Britt and Alexia Bürger. I wanted to know if the point remained as relevant as in 2018, when they started working on the project. I also needed confirmation that the person who plays Lysis, Bénédicte Décary, was not going to leave the ship. She really nourishes the title role, she’s a unifier… She carries this role at arm’s length. »

Once reassured on these two aspects, Lorraine Pintal rolled up her sleeves, replaced the five (!) performers who had to desert the project for reasons X or Y and took the text out of her drawer. Because presenting this play is necessary, the theater woman continues to believe.

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PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

Bénédicte Décary with director Lorraine Pintal

This piece is still too blatantly relevant. It’s about violence against women’s bodies and the abuse of power that is in the DNA of the boy club, but it’s also a play about female power, sisterhood. In Lysis, women want to be recognized and access positions where they can think about changing the world. Above all, this piece brings hope and will provoke enriching discussions.

Lorraine Pintal, director of Lysis

The play features a group of feminist activists who aspire to a more egalitarian world. Led by Lysis (Bénédicte Décary), these activists targeted the pharmaceutical company Forest, headed by Victor Forest (played by Jacques L’Heureux). This man without morals is ready to do anything to get rich. Including endangering the mental health of the women he is supposed to help with the drugs he markets.

So that the masculine stops prevailing over the feminine in a society that is failing on all sides, these women are ready to make the greatest sacrifice: that of stopping giving life. Because what is the point of giving birth in this sick society where some are not born with the same opportunities as others?

Lysis is not just a feminist play, believes Bénédicte Décary. It’s a David versus Goliath mythological story. We are talking about the fight against the corruption of an elite thirsty for profit. Women are leading this fight, but this is about evolution and possible advances for all human beings. We really hope that it will be passed on to future generations. The play will touch the heart of all those who face adversity. She also invites us to act in our respective circles. »

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PHOTO CATHERINE LEFEBVRE, ARCHIVES SPECIAL COLLABORATION

Bénédicte Décary in January 2022, on the eve of (another) postponement of performances of Lysis due to the pandemic

There is also a truly beautiful love story at the center of Lysis. A story between two equal beings who help and support each other. It’s very strong and very modern.

Bénédicte Décary, interpreter of Lysis

Electrifying return to creation

The two women say it without hesitation: they experienced heartbreak and bereavement when the pandemic forced the postponement of performances to January 2022. It was the second time that the wings of the production were clipped in the middle of flight and this time the team was only a few days away from the premiere.

The blow was hard to take. But it will not have been in vain, swear Lorraine Pintal and Bénédicte Décary.

“All this waiting allowed a deep understanding of the work,” says the director. It’s amazing how much we’re still discovering about this piece. The character line became so clear. The issues facing the activists could also be clarified. »

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PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Lorraine Pintal during rehearsals for Lysis in February 2020

In fact, we were treated to two complete creative laboratories for this show. It’s a luxury that we should treat ourselves to more often.

Lorraine Pintal, director of Lysis

“There is a complexity, a new depth to the text,” adds the actress. It’s very stimulating. The project has matured and is ready to find its audience. It’s as if this storm had finally given us a gift. »

Since the cancellation in January 2022, the text has changed little, they say. A fine comb, little more. “We have a very good text in our hands,” believes Lorraine Pintal.

The cast has changed many times since the start of the project, but the director has always stayed the course by bringing together performers of various ages and backgrounds on stage. Thus, experienced actors like Pier Paquette, Isabelle Vincent or Widemir Normil cross swords with younger ones like Sally Sakho or Dominick Rustam.

For Lorraine Pintal, the presentation of Lysis will take on a very special character, and not only because of the many obstacles that have stood in its way. Indeed, the play will be her very last production while she also wears the hat of artistic and general director of the TNM.

“It is a great privilege to end my 32 years at the head of TNM with this play written by women, which speaks about the plight of women. I love epic theater and this play is in, without a doubt! It’s a story with suspense and twists and turns. This show is an origami that changes shape as soon as you change perspective. »

At the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde from May 7 to 1er June

Visit the show page

Chronology of a rebirth

April 2019

The Théâtre du Nouveau Monde announces that it will give a large place to women in its 2019-2020 season. Lysisa creation by Fanny Britt and Alexia Bürger, is one of them.

January 2020

Monia Chokri, who was to play the title role, is withdrawing from the project due to scheduling conflicts. She is replaced by Bénédicte Décary.

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PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

First reading of the play Lysis with Bénédicte Décary and the original cast

March 2020

Quebec orders the closure of public places due to the pandemic. The representations of Lysisscheduled for April, are postponed.

Fall 2021

Return to the rehearsal room with a new cast. Nine performers from the original cast were replaced.

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PHOTO CATHERINE LEFEBVRE, ARCHIVES SPECIAL COLLABORATION

Unable to present the play on stage, the TNM recorded it. From left to right: Bénédicte Décary, Nadine Jean and Olivia Palacci.

January 2022

One week before the premiere, the performances of Lysis are once again suspended due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

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PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

Bénédicte Décary, interpreter of Lysis

May 2024

Arrival of the play on the stages of the TNM, with, once again, a reworked cast.

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