These are not plays like any other. We do not watch them in theaters, but rather online. By their visual signature, they resemble films. In the past year, the youth theater company Youtheatre, in collaboration with Télé-Québec, launched three digital plays aimed at teenagers. The most recent creation, Ce monde-là, features Naïla Louidort and Rebecca Vachon in a moving confrontation. A confrontation that speaks of racism, sexual assault, but also listening.
The digital coin This world is one of a kind. First, by its form.
Two cameras each filming one of the protagonists in an impressive 37-minute sequence shot imagined by director Véa.
Far from simple theatrical capture, “it’s a film that is based on a play”, describes, with accuracy, Rebecca Vachon, who plays Bijou, a popular teenager from a privileged background.
And, unfortunately, continues his playing partner Naïla Louidort, This world is also unique in its background. When asked what attracted her to the role of Neyssa, a young immigrant of Haitian origin, the actress is sorry that her answer is obvious.
“It’s a shame it’s that answer, but I think it says a lot about our community. What attracted me was to tell the story of a young black girl. […] Often, in projects, we will have winks at its culture, its origins, its referents, but a space where we listen to it, where there is a story, where we talk of his background, of his family, it’s so rare! »
“These are communities that have been there for I don’t know how long, that we have made invisible,” adds the actress who we saw last winter on television in The Emperor and Big Brother Celebrities.
This world begins when Neyssa physically attacks her friend Bijou in a hallway at their high school. The scuffle that turns into a fight sends the two teenage girls into detention. Why does Neyssa resent Bijou? What caused this outburst of anger? We understand throughout the play that the young girl experienced a sexual assault at her friend’s house without her noticing.
Troubled by Neyssa’s revelations, Bijou tries to help her by offering solutions.
“For Bijou, it is difficult to understand the reality of Neyssa, explains Rebecca Vachon. It hits me when she says, “We just have to tell the cops.” And Neyssa replies: “Yeah, because I’m exactly the kind of person the cops are going to help me.” »
“The realities are different,” adds Naïla Louidort. We must recognize it. It is necessary to talk about it. »
And give yourself “the space to hear the answers,” she continues.
The actress was also involved in the process of rewriting the play, the original version of which, In This World, was imagined by Canadian Hannah Moscovitch in 2008.
“I wanted the updates to be thoughtful, felt, real, not stereotypical,” director Véa says of this new version translated by Marilou Craft.
To do this, the team asked itself many questions. “Is this the picture of the always angry black woman? Is it the white savior complex? Should we go so far as to change the partitions? “, enumerates the director.
Ultimately, “what was important was that it was the word of a black woman. Let a friend hear it and listen to it,” says Véa.
After awkwardly proposing a multitude of solutions to Neyssa, this is what Bijou ends up doing: she listens to the need of her friend, who snuggles into her arms.
“The end result is that they live together,” Vea continues. They get along. [Bijou] says, “That’s your reality. I will adapt. I will be with you.” »
“I find that the theater, the cinema, it allows you to enter into empathic contact with different realities”, adds Rebecca Vachon, who we recently saw on stage in A doll’s house, part 2.
The trio hope that teens who see the play will use this foray into the life of a “young black woman survivor” to ask themselves questions, both about consent and racism, and that these will push them to be more attentive. “I hope it will help them think about these subjects in a sensitive way”, summarizes the interpreter of Bijou.
This world is the last digital play in a series of three created by the youth theater company Youtheatre and offered on the Télé-Québec website. In addition to the story of Neyssa and Bijou, teenagers are invited to discover the works Pandore and I’ve never… This last piece, which features Éléonore Loiselle (Désobéir: Chantale Daigle’s choice) won a prize at the most recent Gemini gala.