La Sagouine, a play featuring one of Acadia’s most famous characters, was recently featured at Toronto’s Pleaides Theatre and enjoyed great success. Penned by Antonine Maillet, La Sagouine is portrayed by Viola Léger who embodies completely this 72 year old shrewd Acadian washerwoman. She presented a series of monologues in front of a Toronto audience asking for more. Theatre critics were full of praise and described La Sagouine as a “national treasure”. The play was presented in English for two weeks at the end of May and in French from May 31st to June 5th. The last time La Sagouine was played in Toronto was in 1979.
Many cultural critics gave a perfect score to Viola Léger in the role that has made her a well-known figure on the Canadian theatre scene. Praises were also given to the team surrounding Léger: Director John Van Bureck, set designer Yannick Larrivée, and lighting director Robert Thompson.
“La Sagouine is a cultural and artistic treasure,” simply states The Globe and Mail. Cultural critic Christopher Hoile of Toronto’s Eye Weekly states: “La Sagouine is simply essential viewing. (…) There really are no words to describe the quiet brilliance of Léger’s performance. You simply cannot imagine anyone else so fully and so compassionately embodying such an immensely rich character.” Robert Crew of the Toronto Star says: “It is, in fact, one of the little gems of Canadian theatre — gritty, honest and utterly true to life. I’ve never seen La Sagouine in French and my feeling is that it would add an extra dimension to what is already a warm, wise and wonderful piece of theatre.” Critics praised the universality and realism of the monologues and gave notice to a solid direction and the glorious lighting.
La Sagouine was presented for the first time in 1971. She is the wife of a fisherman and, at 72 years old, scrubs floors for a living. She tells us stories in her own way, speaking of life in general, politics, and poverty with great wisdom and a wonderful sense of humour.
La Sagouine back in her hometown!
La Sagouine is back in her hometown. As every summer, the Dinner Theatre La Sagouine will be presented at Le Pays de la Sagouine in Bouctouche, New Brunswick. For the first time in many years, presentations in English will take place in July and August. Presentations in French are also on the schedule. Le Pays de la Sagouine kicked off its 2010 season on June 20th. More information at www.sagouine.com.