How do you feel alive? This is the big, beautiful and anxiety-provoking question that the tortured and hilarious characters of Unbearable Long Embraces ask themselves repeatedly, the play by Russian playwright Ivan Viripaev in which Christine Beaulieu is shining these days, at the Prospero Theater. This is also the question that will run through our entire interview.
“Everyone wonders that in their life,” she observes. When do I vibrate? When do I feel myself touching the existence of my dreams? »
Draft answer: Christine Beaulieu feels alive when she is in good company. Christine Beaulieu feels alive when she interacts with people from different backgrounds – “when I have rich, stimulating, creative conversations”. Christine Beaulieu feels alive in the theater, one of the most fertile crucibles for those who love to have rich, stimulating, creative conversations.
But for the magic of theater to work, an actress must give of herself. “It’s inevitable: if you go on stage and you’re not generous, it’ll never be interesting. »
The actress takes both hands and pretends to pull on each side of her chest, as if she wanted to separate her ribcage in two.
Opening up to the beauty of what surrounds you, to the point of view of others and to life in general: this is, in a few words, what Christine Beaulieu aspires to on a creative and human level. Open up, even if it means making mistakes, even if it means facing obstacles, even if it means leaving yourself open to injury. But open up, whatever the cost, because it is the only way to perhaps make the world a little better.
Christine Beaulieu feels alive when a play in which she plays brings together people who do not regularly attend theaters, which was obviously the case for J’aime Hydro, one of the most important, and most improbable, successes of the Quebec theater of the last 10 years.
“It’s fun to put on a show and realize that in the room, it’s not just people who love theater, but that there are people who worked at Hydro-Québec, politicians, environmentalists,” she explains. “That makes me vibrate. »
“All areas are a little closed in on themselves,” she regrets. We are all specialized, in our bubbles, when we should all create more links. Theaters should be in more conversation with universities. We have a lot to do together, we could feed each other more. There are many connections between us that we ignore. »
In Les Salmons de la Mitis, the show she created in the Jardins de Métis, in Grand-Métis, and which has since become a lovely book (illustrated by Caroline Lavergne at Éditions de la Bagnole), Christine Beaulieu writes that we must not “forget the fragile balance of nature’s beauty, because it is largely its beauty that makes us happy.” A conviction which also drives, in a completely different register, its new sustainable renovation show, Déconstructire (offered on ICI Tou.tv Extra).
It is in the name of preserving the environment, but also the beauty, that of natural ecosystems, that she opposes new hydroelectric dams being built in Quebec. By presenting his 2035 Action Plan to the deputies of the National Assembly, the CEO of Hydro-Québec, Michael Sabia, pleaded in favor of the importance of an energy transition, without however ruling out the possibility of such dams being erected. . Which may seem contradictory.
Are our leaders sensitive to the idea that a harnessed river is a collective loss? “This is the heart of what makes us make certain decisions: do our decision-makers sincerely care about protecting the environment and ecosystems? I don’t know to what extent, for François Legault [and Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy], a wild river, a wild territory, wild species are important. replies the actress, who nevertheless retains, from her meeting with the Prime Minister in 2019, the memory of a conversation tinged with respect and listening. “They are above all in the desire to enrich Quebec, that’s their speech. »
In Les salmons de la Mitis, Christine Beaulieu invites her readers to put themselves in the shoes of a salmon, a capacity for projection that humans are the only living beings to possess. Contemplating the world from the point of view of a fish running into a dam: the exercise may seem laughable, although it is beneficial.
“If we are able to put ourselves in the shoes of a salmon, there is an empathy that can arise from that, and also a responsibility to take care of it,” thinks the author. Because we can have an impact on the well-being of another species. »
In the name of her friendship with the indigenous peoples, and because she could not bear the idea of approving, even tacitly, all the horrors that the clergy inflicted on them, Christine Beaulieu was apostatized. You will therefore have understood that she does not believe in God.
“But I believe in life,” she said. Already, the fact that there is life, on our planet, in the rest of the universe which is dead, is extraordinary. We are extremely lucky to be alive. That’s what I believe in. »