Photo: Sally Jubb
Each night of the month of August before the public of the eclectic Edinburgh Fringe festival, comedians québécois and scots play a partition that tangles reality and fiction and that loosens the tongue in French as “français”.
They are both small nations who dream of always becoming a country, even if the word “nationalism” is increasingly more thrilled the western world. In First snow / First Snow, the author Philippe Ducros and the stage director Patrice Dubois join their voices to those of the co-authors of the scottish Davey Anderson and Linda McLean to draw the outline of a nationalism “inclusive” adapted to our time.
Light on a house in the country agitated by a stormy conversation. The family of Isabelle, albeit dysfunctional, is united by the hope to see the emergence of two new countries on the world map. But not at any price. Be wary of identity politics that oppose the ” we ” of the others, the authors have invented characters who talk of democracy and pluralism, reminding sometimes the Republic dreamed of by the Patriots of 1839, now a Scotland more democratic than ever in the margin of the referendum of 2014.
It was not possible in Québec to achieve this democratic ideal of debate inclusive on sovereignty, but I think that it sucks. Compare today with the Scotland allows you to ask the question of independence in terms of contemporary and current.
— Philippe Ducros
Each night of the month of August, before the public of the eclectic Edinburgh Fringe festival, comedians québécois and the scottish play that partition, which tangles reality and fiction and that loosens the tongue in French as in English. Headed by the Théâtre PAP, Hotel-Motel and the National Theatre of Scotland, the co-production looses its plot between the past and the present and breaks down the boundaries between the actors and their characters.
Suddenly, on the stage of the King’s Hall Edinburgh, the actress Isabelle Vincent seems to speak in its own name. Then, the actor of scottish origin congolese Thierry Mabonga relates his own story of immigration. “We wanted to tangle the fictional and the real, because our dreams of independence, which are practical, always include a part of the fantasy,” explains Philippe Ducros. The piece deploys this imaginary world and tries to hang on to contemporary perspectives, which are brought by the actors speaking in part in their own name. “
A referendum almost won
Backward up in 2014. By an historic evening of September, Scotland has very nearly divorce in the United Kingdom. Skeptical, Philippe Ducros saw the event in Glasgow in the company of his co-authors. They are galvanized by a spectacular rise of Yes in the polls and think they reach their country dream. It will not produce anything like it. But the small nation has nevertheless given the world a lesson of democracy. It is in part this state of mind, this large and vibrant collective process of dialogue, the piece tries to deploy.
“The political and democratic process surrounding the referendum of 2014 has been the greatest excitement that I’ve known in my lifetime to public service, enthusiasm by Davey Anderson. The fact to imagine what a country we wanted allowed us to ask all the big social issues and human than the institutionalized political never dares to approach in this way also total. “
With an impressive rate of participation of 84.6 %, preceded by several months of discussions held high, Scotland has impressed the whole world during this referendum process, which has also mobilised, oh joy, a large part of the youth of the country. A dream of the baby boomers, the independence ? Certainly not in Scotland.
Photo: Sally Jubb
The actress québécoise Isabelle Vincent, on stage with the actor of scottish origin congolese Thierry Mabonga.
“When you compare this to the processes of Brexit,” says Linda McLean, it has been incredible in Scotland to engage in dialogue about the nation to be born, in a perspective of deep reflection on our common future. The rhetoric of Brexit is based on the division. While the new country scottish envisaged under the sign of a reflection on what unites us. “
This is what tended also to Quebec in 1995, according to Philippe Ducros, despite the speech of Parizeau on the ethnic vote that the story keeps painfully in memory. “We have not been able, in Quebec, to achieve this democratic ideal of debate inclusive on sovereignty, but I think that it sucks. Compare today to the Scotland allows you to ask the question of independence in terms of contemporary and current. The attainment of independence, more than a question of identity and language, should be a matter of postage policy and democratic health, in the here-and-now. “This does not preclude, of course not completely the issue of the language, discussed here and there over the hour and a half show.
The economy against the independence
In Canada or the United Kingdom, the main obstacle to projects of countries comes from the economic powers and feeds off of the fear of the plunge in tax. The show, devised by Ducros et al dissects this idea from several angles, including through a character’s more conservative embodied by Harry Standjosfki.
Impossible to ignore these economic arguments. But the face of the full force is one way, according to Ducros and consort, to launch the debate on real world issues of our time, and on a basis of a more inclusive, far away from the question of identity “pure wool” or of the assertion language. “It is necessary, for example, build a country to fight against proposed pipeline, thus indicating that profits and no benefit social “, think Ducros. Scotland, far more social-democratic than its neighbors to the United Kingdom?, has also given this colour to the discussions in the ” yes ” camp in 2014.
Beyond this game of power between economic imperatives and the common good, to think of a nationalism that is inclusive requires to be aware of the true diversity of the society, and other power structures to dismantle. The piece evokes in particular the racism and neocolonialism — the realities visibly shared in equal parts by Scotland and Quebec. Food for thought.
First snow / First Snow
At the Edinburgh Fringe, in the programming of the Canada Hub, until 26 August. At the Théâtre de Quat’sous from 26 February to 23 march 2019. A co-production with Théâtre PAP, Hotel-Motel and National Theatre of Scotland.