“The institute”: credible and invested actors

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UPDATE DAY

The institute offers a humorous foray into the heart of a psychiatric center where patients suffering from various pathologies are treated. The play, by Michel Charette and François Chénier, is presented at the Théâtre des Hirondelles, in Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, until August 27. 

Rehearsal in front of the media of the play “L'institut”, by Michel Charette and François Chénier, presented from June 17 to August 27 at the Théâtre des Hirondelles, in Montreal, on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

Jean-Guy Gagnon (Marc St-Martin) is a man like you see on a daily basis. 

Marc St-Martin

He begs on street corners, shouts at passers-by, always with a smile, and hears voices in his head. He is above all a high-level bipolar, and, on the advice of his social worker, he will enter the Larochelle Institute for a closed treatment.

In addition to the dedicated medical staff and a bit weird , he will meet the libidinous Gus, the schizophrenic Jasmine who does not trust chairs, the depressed Carmen who is still crying for her husband, five years after his death, the transsexual Claudette, a former truck driver, and several others equally cartoonish.

Throughout the play, we will follow them in their wacky therapy sessions (“Find your hidden animal in you”), accompany Gus and Carmen's escape, up to the love story between two residents on the background of Romeo and Juliet…

Dichotomy

The text takes up the tone and codes of the summer theaters of yesteryear, but it suffers from 'an incomprehensible break in tone between the first and second part.

To set up their characters, the authors abuse a schoolboy humor that makes viewers' ears curl in 2022. People with schizophrenia are ridiculed, a young person suffering from Tourette's syndrome is excessively caricatured, not to mention the reception reserved for the transsexual character. It's not bad, but we thought we had gone beyond these ancestral clichés to make people laugh.

A scene featuring Stéphane Jacques, Joëlle Paré-Beaulieu and Marc St-Martin.

In the second part, without really understanding why and how, the character of Jean-Guy launches into a long, almost moving tirade on the empathy and compassion of the Institute's staff towards these people suffering from health problems. mentally, while asking the question of what society should do with people like them. This monologue comes as if to excuse everything exposed earlier, but is that enough?

Excellent actors

The actors do not, however, suffer from no lack of talent. Marc St-Martin is as comfortable in the role of Jean-Guy as he is effective in that of the young La Tourette. 

Henri Chassé's schizophrenic is as self-effacing as his Claudette is virile . Stéphane Jacques, France Parent and Joëlle Paré-Beaulieu also multiply the roles and costume changes at a frantic pace with rigor and accuracy.

We are almost surprised at the salutes of not seeing only five actors on stage, we had the impression that there were at least twice as many to embody the multitude of characters running in all directions.