Identity and mythologies of a people come alive in Théâtre Cercle Molière’s On marronne ? (Si ça te dit, viens), written by playwright Gustave Akakpo and directed by Geneviève Pelletier. The production has four final days of showing before it finishes for the season on Nov. 4.
The story follows Adelaide, who is from Senegal but ends up in French Guiana, her journey of moving to a new land overnight and the struggles of identity that come with it.
Presented through her character, questions rise about topics like collective identity, memory and the mythologies of a people.
Adelaide is in a new environment that she calls home, but while preparing to preach at an Evangelical gathering, she decides that she wants to teach Indigenous ways of teaching, said Pelletier, artistic and general director at Théâtre Cercle Molière.
Pelletier said the play discusses subject matter on how spirituality and religion can affect someone on a daily basis, spiritual journeys and a variety of other themes.
The goal of the play was to ask, “how can we talk about these things, and feel like everyone has a space to talk about their perspective on things?” Pelletier said.
“We felt that because Indigenous cosmogony has been so vilified and sort of underground for so many years, where do we place those with what we call ‘the book religions?’”
Pelletier said the book religions, in contrast with Indigenous spirituality, “have been more colonial approaches to Indigenous lands.”
Pelletier pointed out Senegal’s creation stories have been vilified by colonial statutes. Despite these heavy subjects, the production infuses itself with rap, dancing, music and slam poetry, adding a lightness to it.
Théâtre Cercle Molière believes that performing arts should be accessible, which is why they have a pay what you can system for tickets. However, accessibility does not end there for the company. During shows, including for On marronne? (Si ça te dit, viens), there are tablets available that feature subtitles in both English and French, providing anglophone or non-French speakers with a means of understanding what is being said on stage.
“I think access is really important,” Pelletier said. “I feel there are lots of barriers for people to come to the theatre, and we really try to examine those in a variety of ways.”
Pelletier hopes to see a variety of different folks at the last showings, and added that there is a question and answer period almost every night in order to create dialogue around the productions occurring this season.
Théâtre Cercle Molière will be showing On marronne ? (Si ça te dit, viens) until Nov. 4 2023. Tickets and more information are available on its website.