Paris-Edmonton by Giselle Lemire, Carline Claire and Ariane Mahryke
August 12 – 16, 18 – 21 at Venue #39: La Cité Francophone
An interview with Carline Claire.
Describe your show in five words.
Quirky, Physical, Bilingual, Relatable, Poetic
Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?
No matter the experience; a scourge, a horrendous public loss, a personal melodrama or tragedy, the only way through to the other side is through it. We can stay in denial: drift along in a limbo state, in that in between no-person’s land, in numb resistance, but eventually we can decide to land. If we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Paris-Edmonton is a bilingual play, English and French, equipped with surtitles for anglophones, which tells the story of a young woman who faces an identity crisis while trapped on an airplane mid-way between Edmonton and Paris.
Paris-Edmonton was written cross-continentally – can you talk a bit about how you collaborated to create this show?
I live in Paris and I had been writing a bit on my own, the hints of a play perhaps, when my mother [Giselle Lemire] and I discussed the idea of doing a Fringe show during my visit home. (We’d been talking about collaborating artistically for a while.) On her side, she had written a spoken word piece about a woman living in Paris that inspired me to start threading things together. I incorporated 4 more of her spoken word texts to my writing and (many Skype sessions and Whatsapp conversations later) we had a script. It wasn’t officially finalised until end of July though because we finally started working face to face and moving around! It helps actually being physically in the same room, which has been a real luxury for the past three weeks since my arrival in Edmonton:)
Aside from the fact that one writer was living in Paris and the other in Edmonton, why did you want to contrast the two cities in Paris-Edmonton?
I’m originally from Edmonton and I moved to Paris in 2012 but due to visa issues, found myself living in Edmonton for a year in 2014. The play is more about the experiences that sprung from my “forced” move back home. The title of the play is stolen directly from the title of a song my sister (singer-songwriter Ariane Mahryke Lemire and director of the play) wrote for me when I found myself living with her, super depressed in the dead of Edmontonian winter instead of my beloved Paris. It isn’t so much a contrast between the two cities, more so the main character’s contrasting exploration of self in two very different environments.
You mention in your press release, “when you least expect it, life has a way of stopping you in your tracks and forcing you to look at it.” What ideas or questions did you want to explore in Paris-Edmonton?
We spend a lot of time trying to make our lives the way it “should be” or the way we think we want it to be. Sometimes we focus so much on that, that we pass right by what could be a more interesting path. And then sometimes situations come up where we have no choice. We have to take a closer look at things and face them or we may just self-destruct. Paris-Edmonton looks at the search for identity, making peace with our past, turning 30 and not having your shit together, and the most important relationship we can have: the one with ourselves. In the play we take these themes, which are quite universal, but give it a bit of an absurdist. It’s important to be able to laugh at ourselves amidst the messiness.
Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?
It is a family collaboration, a mother (Giselle Lemire) and two daughters project and features music off of Ariane Mahryke Lemire’s upcoming new album.
The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.