Portrait of the Quebec of the post-First world War, “The time of peace” shall not die can never be in the hearts of the viewers here.
Denys, Paris, which had marked the spirits in the skin of George-Loved “Ti-Coune” Belleau and his twin brother, Amédée, was surprised to see that even today, teenagers speak to him about these two roles mythical.
“The history teachers say to kids listening to “The time of peace,” because it tells our story note, Denys Paris. There are also a lot of immigrants that are watching the series for Quebec. Once, a worker, a syrian came to me, and, seeing me, has frozen. He asked me if I was an actor, if I was playing in “time of peace”, and he told me that it was his favorite show…”
Denys, how you were you prepared to play the role of George-Aimé (Ti-Coune) at the time?
“Pierre Gauvreau (the author) had written the role in thinking of me. I hadn’t been hearing. It was giving me a lot of confidence and trust. In the first year, the character was very quiet. Then, I started to make sounds. I was informed, I went to the Hospital Louis-H. Lafontaine hospital to inform me on the mentally disabled of the time. Ti-Coune is expressed a lot by the sounds and cries, and I integrated it. Sometimes, before some of the scenes, like the rape of Noëlla in the barn, the director Yvon Trudel gave me hints, such as : “I want you to do crying three million people!”. Other times, he told me not to do too much.”
You even say that Radio-Canada received letters scandalisées in link with your character…
“The first two years of the broadcast, in 1980 and 1981, everyone thought that Radio-Canada had committed a real mentally handicapped. When I was done, “Chez Denise” or “Le clan Beaulieu”, in the past, people recognised me in the street, but then, they weren’t in the report, since it was a role of composition and that I was much made-up, with red eyes. I was no longer an actor, I was a real mentally handicapped! Then, Radio-Canada has begun to make me give interviews, and Pierre Gauvreau, to break that image, created the character of Amadeus, who had to explain where was Ti-Coune.”
Is that the role of Ti-Coune was limiting for the rest of your career? Do you feel you have remained identified with this character?
“Everyone thinks that, but this is not true. After, I made “Under the sign of leo” (second version) in 1997, another series of extraordinary, which should also be republished, in my opinion. I have over 15 years of television on 42 years in the business, but I have played in over 75 productions at the theatre. I have been spoiled in the theatre, the stage directors have given me roles fabulous. The tv, I can pass, but not the theatre. I have a career in theatre, a lot, and in dubbing. I’m used to it I am asked to do imitations, including the one that I am asked most often, that of Janine Sutto (smile). And I have taught for 17 years at the École supérieure de théâtre de l’UQAM.”
You are 65 years of age. Over the years, you have said farewell to many comrades of work. Several actors of the “Time of peace” are now dead…
“It’s hard. I lost Nicole (Leblanc, alias Rose-Anna, who died in 2017), which was my great sister, and Andrée Lachapelle (alias Marie-Thérèse, who died last fall), who was my spiritual mother. I was like his adoptive son, I spent my eve of Christmas in it. I am the last of his friends to have seen it. It was also very, very hard. I’m starting to get over it. Pierre Dufresne and Jean Besré (Joseph Arthur), also. John Besré, I had to go eat at The Express with him the next night of his death. I always say that I am a Guinness world record for mourning…”
“Time of peace”, from Monday to Wednesday from 17 h to 19 h, ICI ARTV.