“The assembly” in: invitation to dialogue

«L’assemblée»: invitation au dialogue

Photo: Maxime Côté
Pascale Bussières

The dead angle of the committed art is often to speak to an audience already convinced. Some, such as Olivier Choinière (Manifesto of the Young-Girl) or Annick Lefebvre (I accuse), are trying to blow up the system from the inside, incorporating comments that is patently offensive to the public. Alex Ivanovici, Annabel Soutar and Brett Watson, them, are trying to alleviate this problem in the face of dissenting views before the transpose on the stage.

These opinions are those of four women of diverse backgrounds, ideologies and political horizons. Riham (Christina Tannous) is a muslim veiled ; Josée Rivard (Amélie Grenier), an ex-member of The Pack who vlogue to great bursts of anger, hate and conspiracy ; Isabelle (Pascale Bussières), a néo-Québécoise feminist and pragmatic ; Yara (Nora Guerch), a militant feminist, fourth wave. The transcript of this conversation was born the room that recreates the evening, interspersed with excerpts from follow-up interviews, conducted individually two weeks after the dinner.

The assembly presents the different points of view and keeping them well to take a position on them. There is no judgment on the part of Ivanovici and Watson (who play the role of facilitators), not more than about prodigals are standardized by the show. All the more does we to do about the human hidden under the image that society has of them, a duality which the presence of the four screens above the table, giving to see in real time the faces in the foreground.

The polarization of opinions in society today is real, it reads and hears every day. Not surprisingly, tempers flare several times on the scene by talking about integration, feminism or systemic racism. The compromise is it nevertheless possible ? Yes, but on one condition : that the four women are a ” common enemy “, Valerie (a unilingual English-speaking anti-islam and antiféministe), including the lack of openness will serve as a rallying point.

Except this time, they will spend more time trying to convince each other to open a real dialogue. All are struggling to get out of their own experience to understand another’s. Between the beginning and the end of the process, some opinions will change, others do not. The most telling is the altercation between Yara and Jenna while the latter argued that the four women ” are all suffering at the same level “, the sign of a distance irreconcilable between them. Finding poignant, but also pessimistic, as if the show contained the confession of the failure of his project.

This opening to the conversation, which is manifested by an invitation to the public to create on the stage its own assembly, is necessary and calls into question our ability to truly understand the other. As to whether the call for dialogue as a remedy to the polarization will be heard, nothing is less sure.

The assembly

Text : Alex Ivanovici, Annabel Soutar, and Brett Watson. Directed by : Chris Abraham. At the Théâtre Espace Go from 13 November to 2 December 2018.

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