He was called the blond demon, because he dumbfounded his opponents and captivated the spectators with his formidable talent. The almost mythical hockey player that was Guy Lafleur is now at the heart of a tribute show signed by Cirque du Soleil.
Titled Guy! Guy! Guy! – a real rallying cry chanted by the public when Lafleur jumped on the ice at the Montreal Forum – this show will bring together 30 artists on the stage of the Cogeco amphitheater in Trois-Rivières from July 19.
Fernand Rainville, who has worked on several Cirque du Soleil shows, including Wintuk, Amaluna and Axel, is directing. Here, numbers of inline skates, wire or Russian frame will follow one another in a highly acrobatic suite.
He explains: “The emotion that lifts us when a goal is scored in hockey is the same that we feel in front of the tricks of the acrobats. Time seems to stand still. It feels like we are witnessing a unique moment. It is this emotion, a mixture of euphoria and admiration, that the director and his team wish to revive in the spectator.
To achieve this, it is not a question of creating a purely autobiographical show on Guy Lafleur, but rather of proposing a story imbued with a good dose of poetry and humor.
Thus, the public will be able to follow the story of a young hockey enthusiast who will discover who was the famous number 10 of the Montreal Canadiens.
Fernand Rainville knows that by tackling this show, he is handling an extremely delicate matter. “With Guy Lafleur, we touch on the sacred. He is one of those who, in the 1970s, gave Quebecers confidence. In this decade of great deployments, his team has replaced religion! Thanks to Lafleur and his teammates, we were the best. I have no room for error! »
To prepare, he went through all the biographies, looked at tons of archives, listened to famous games, including Game 7 of the semi-final against the Boston Bruins in 1979. He also spoke at length with Martin Lafleur, Jr. of the hockey player. Fernand Rainville thus rediscovered an exceptional athlete, but also a man of great generosity.
“It was not for nothing that when he returned to the Forum in a New York Rangers uniform [on February 4, 1989], the spectators gave him a long nine-minute ovation,” he adds. .
Like hockey games, the show Guy! Guy! Guy! is divided into three periods, each corresponding to a period of the active life of the man who was also nicknamed Flower. This will be an opportunity to slip in some little-known facts, including the fact that the five-time Stanley Cup winner has written poetry in the past and that he had kept the habit of writing by candlelight.
Can we expect Lafleur to come and haunt this show? “We will hear his voice, yes, and also see him through archival documents. Several quotes from Lafleur, but also from those who knew him, will also punctuate the show.
On the musical level, we can hear several pieces from the 1970s and 1980s. André Gagnon, Robert Charlebois and Boule Noire are among the artists invited here. “Unlike previous shows presented in Trois-Rivières, which focused on singers like Beau Dommage or Les Colocs, we can go beyond covers and offer original material,” says Fernand Rainville. The prolific Philippe Brault works on composition and musical arrangements.
A multi-instrumentalist musician has also been integrated into the show, in particular to offer some excerpts on the organ recalling the good days of the Forum.
Visually, the arena where the Canadian signed all his exploits will be evoked by the bleachers, the bands, the scoreboard… Yves Aucoin, who worked in particular on certain pre-game celebrations for the Habs , signs the scenography and lighting design. Félix Fradet-Faguy, who worked with Robert Lepage, notably on 887, worked on the many video projections that will serve as a coating for the whole. “We really wanted to keep the spirit of hockey in the visual signature of the show,” says Fernand Rainville. Even the famous Stanley cup could join the festivities!