father |  Passion, again

Marc Messier chose to tackle the high-flying dramatic score by playing the play's title role. fatherPresented at the Theater du Nouveau Monde.


However, he vowed never to go on stage again. After traveling across Quebec with his solo show, Marc Messier found the stages too tiring. Theater? Very demanding physically and mentally. Then, after 3322 performances Broue With 38 long years spread out, he no doubt thought he deserved a little rest.

This is why Emmanuel Reichenbach of Encore Spectacle offered him the role of Andre on a silver platter, this old man whose memory will fail, Marc Messier flatly refused.

“He told me to read Florian Zeller's text before forming an idea. I read it twice and each time I was moved. It was so good. I took it as a sign! Andre is a helpless person, like everyone who suffers from this disease. [l’alzheimer]. A character I can't pass up. And I don't regret my decision. »

Although this perfectionist was enthusiastic about the production, the contract had a non-negotiable requirement: he had to own the text a year before the premiere.

Photo courtesy of JF Hamelin, LE RIDEAU VERT

Mark Messier (seated) and Eric Bruno inside Death of a Traveling Salesmanon the Rideau Vert stage

Since June, I have been working on this text with an editor. It was the best decision of my life. When I played Death of a Traveling Salesman At Rideau Vert, I came in butt-first, so to speak. I was literally on edge and swore it wouldn't happen twice!

Mark Messier

In fact, he was quite prepared father During the first group reading, he pretended to read his text so as not to scare anyone. “But Mark told me, he already knew his lines by heart! », says Eric Bruno.

An achievement if we know how very complex this text is to master. Director Edith Padenat explains: “It's a text full of microcosms. Plus, the character is confused, so there are a lot of gaps in tone. An acrobatic speech that requires plasticity of the brain… a challenge even for a 24-year-old actor! »

The strength of the text (and the skill he showed in interpreting it) undoubtedly explains why Anthony Hopkins won the Oscar for Best Actor in 2021 for his portrayal on the big screen. Florian Zeller, who wrote the text of the original play, also directed the film.

Will Mark Messier suffer from the comparison between theatergoers and moviegoers at TNM? Not a single piece. “Drama and cinema are two different mediums. The approach is not uniform. Acting a role in theater is always very difficult because we are not allowed to repeat! But as Edith says, it's fine [Patenaude], the play is not a remake of the film. »

She adds: “This project allowed me to find very sweet people who are very kind and generous to old people like me! Edith Patenaut is a beautiful girl who slowly gets everything she wants. I trust him completely. I am a team person. And the joy of working on a team is what keeps me in this job. “For that fatherHe is flanked on stage by Adrian Pletton, Sophia Blondin, Fayol Jean Jr., Noemi O'Farrell and Catherine Trudeau.

An insatiable hunger to play

With his successes on television (just think Count up Or small life), in cinema (he worked with André Forcier, Patrice Chau and, more recently, Anik Jean) and in theater (with sketch comedy). Broue mind), Marc Messier's CV is already dizzying. But the ever-interesting actor seems to have a hunger for the profession that is hard to satisfy.

Before the final show Broue, on April 22, 2017 in Sherbrooke, Mark Messier already had new plans in mind that gave him wings. “At that time I had two dreams. I wanted to write a one-woman show in theater. I played Death of a Traveling Salesman I wrote my first single at Rideau Vert and during the pandemic. »

Photo by Sarah Mongeve-Birkett, La Presse Archives

Mark Messier presented a solo program titled Alone… on stage.

Today, a solo adventure Alone… on stageE completed. And this is the drama program Dad It has occupied it for months. That's good enough for Marc Messier. “Waking up in the morning and doing nothing, I love it. I like cycling, playing tennis, listening to music, reading…”

It must be said that this father has not yet fully emancipated himself with time. She shared custody of her 20-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. He is also the father of a daughter from the first union, who is today a professor of biology at the university.

If he talks a little about his children, it's not so much modesty, but to protect them from a star system they didn't choose. “They don't want to be in the lead. It's not their job, it's mine. »

He also admits that stardom brings some annoying sources. “When you break up after 20 years and everyone knows, it adds extra pressure, let's say…”

But he's warm and smiling as strangers greet him during a photo shoot at the crowded lunchtime restaurant La Crozanterie Figaro. Apparently, this man doesn't have too much ego to explain his impressive career.

Catherine Trudeau played his daughter in the play fatherCan attest to this.

I belong to the generation Count up And I admit that at first, I was excited to know that I was going to play with Mark [Messier]. But I soon discovered that he was a lovely man, very generous. And very open.

Catherine Trudeau

In fact, everyone we spoke to about Marc Messier praised the bravado of this chameleon actor who excels in both drama and comedy. The key figure explains: “One makes you cry, the other makes you laugh, but deep down, it's the same thing. It's all about rhythm. For life to be reliable, you need to find its rhythm. »

Has he ever faced a setback in his career? “It has been my dream for a long time to act as a detective in a movie. Years ago, I even bought the rights to a book. Chicken specialty, by Patrice Lessard. But everything in cinema is too long. The plan was not followed. Today, we only see detectives on screen! »

A passion born in classical college

From project to project, from major role to even bigger role, Marc Messier has become an indispensable figure on the Quebec cultural scene.

However, nothing destined Mark Messier for a career in art. Growing up across the street from an ice rink in Granby, the barber's son had a playful childhood: hockey and swimming occupied his days. And he was far from a bad guy: he had already received an invitation to a training camp from a Canadian junior club! An English teacher at De Granby College served as a spark by asking a 15-year-old student to present his father's monologue in front of the class. HamletShakespeare.

“I really got something!” Since then, theater has become an obsession. »

Eager to leave Granby for Montreal, he enrolled in literature at the University of Montreal, but his love of theater forced him to return to the South Shore. for two years. In fact, he was one of the first students to major in theater at the Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe in the late 1960s.

If within the walls of CEGEP he meets his first mentors, Jacques Zouvi, Jacques Létourneau, it is within the walls of a bar that he will have the most decisive meeting of his life: the meeting of two comrades, Michel Cote and Marcel from Alma. Gauthier.

Journal of photographic documentation

game BroueIn the 1980s. From left to right: Marc Messier, Marcel Gauthier and Michel Cotte

The chemistry was spot on with Michael [Côté]. We were two greedy guys and they didn't take no for an answer. We wanted things to happen.

Mark Messier

They came in the form of a sketch play and presented it at its opening in a 60-seat room at the Théâtre des Voyagements, Boulevard Saint-Laurent… “Do Broue It was a magical experience. We can do whatever we want in front of full rooms. When the play became a commercial success, there was a little bit of backlash from the community, but we had no problem with that, Michael, Marcel and me. We wanted to become famous actors in the classic sense of the word. We were able to earn our living! But we don't take anything for granted. We always had a little doubt. Comedy is a fragile thing. You left out the comma, that's funny! »

Today, she admits that Michael Cote's death has left a huge void in her life. “I still have trouble coming to terms with it. He left so quickly. We were so close. I have so many memories of being on stage with him…”

Thanks Broue, Marc Messier soon had the luxury of saying no to projects that didn't excite him. And that's still true today. “I only say yes to what I like. I don't want to say it again! I want to grow old healthy, graceful and sweet. I like to travel, have a good time … » And rest? “It's hard to make a firm decision in this industry. But if I retire I will not make a big statement in the press. Nobody cares! »

To those who wish to publish her autobiography one day, she says, full of anecdotes from the shoot: “I'd rather act than write my autobiography. I feel it is very interesting for everyone…”


Visit the event page

father

father

A play by Florian Zeller, directed by Edith Patenaut. With Marc Messier, Adrien Bletton, Sofia Blondin, Fayolle Jean Jr, Noémie O'Farrell and Catherine Trudeau.

New World TheatreMarch 19 to April 13

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