New podcast series re-imagines stories from the village of Sainte-Monique
This story is translated from Radio-Canada's French-language coverage of selected works from the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Originals grant. À lire en français sur le site de Radio-Canada.
Once upon a time in the village of Sainte-Monique, a man was so scared of bears that he built an anti-bear hut. The house had only one very small window and one very small door that you had to crawl through.
"When people attend a show in Sainte-Monique, they see that house, with the fellow who comes with it. This year, we had to recreate it in their imaginations," explained Jimmy Doucet, a director and playwright.
Usually, the audience gets to know the area by walking around four or five villages where the plays are staged. That was the case with Sainte-Monique, a village of 500 people, which normally welcomes 2,000 spectators per summer.
However, the pandemic changed things this year.
"We regularly do impossible things: we cut an ancestral home in two to make a doll's house, we built a replica of an early-1900s boat and we mounted shows where the audience left on an adventure in the forest with the characters. So, we had to quickly reinvent ourselves," he said.
For the first time since 1995, the man who was also director of summer theatre at the Vauvert tourist centre and producer of summer theatre at La Pulperie in Chicoutimi, found himself unemployed in the summer. Beyond his own precarious situation, it was that of his organization that worried him; he had to be able to keep on as many employees as possible.
"When I was little, my dream was to become a radio host. In examining our options, we realized that the best avenue would be podcasts. My eyes lit up!" he said.
The larger-than-life tales of La route des légendes have therefore been captured in audio format, making for a six-episode season. Connexion Création allowed the project to see the light of day since the municipalities that normally contribute to Doucet's projects had seen their budgets melt away with the pandemic.
The podcasts made it possible to preserve the creations of Doucet and his team, who, in normal times, create 15 or so shows every year.
"There is something really fun about it staying, that it continues. Maybe in 10 years, there will still be people coming across it who will get the urge to go have a look at Sainte-Monique, the village where the man who was the most afraid of bears in the world once lived," said Doucet, who will be staging another large show in the region next year, La Fabuleuse histoire d'un royaume.
This story is part of Digital Originals, an initiative of the Canada Council for the Arts. Artists were offered a $5,000 micro-grant to either adapt their existing work or create new work for the digital world during the COVID-19 pandemic. CBC Arts has partnered with Canada Council to feature a selection of these projects. This story is translated from Radio-Canada's French-language Digital Originals coverage. You can see more of these projects here.