Photo credit: Michel St. Jean
Original concept, design and directed by Catherine Bourgeois
Text by Amélie Dumoulin
Featuring Stephanie Boghen, Tamara Brown, Stéphanie Colle and Anne Tremblay
VIOLETTE, the latest production from JOE JACK & JOHN, will be presented at Espace Libre from May 12 to 30 2021. VIOLETTE, a show for a single audience member, combines theatre and virtual reality providing an innovative and intimate experience. Limited number of tickets available.
This spring, Violette welcomes you into her space. She lets you enter the privacy of her room, and then of her imagination. Only you. Step into her place as into the home of a friend; put on your VR headset; see a universe of snow and forest materialize in front of your eyes; become the sole witness to Violette’s untold story, both magical and tragic. Finally, take your headset off and return to “real life”. You may never look at this world – the one you share with Violette and the rest of us – quite the same way again.
“I feel that Violette and I have a lot in common and I am very proud to bring her story to life. I can relate to her, she is a great example that other people have similar problems, and it gives me positivity and hope,” said Stephanie Boghen, who plays the role of Violette and who lives with Down syndrome. “I am excited about meeting every single spectator, each one is so different. When they enter Violette’s world, I feel I can be myself and Violette at the same time, she inspires me to be brave and open. I feel the spectator’s emotions in a very direct and tangible way, since we are just the two of us.”
Helmed and presented by an entirely female and inclusive team – three of whom are actors with an intellectual disability – this new creation breaks down barriers while addressing a reality experienced by too many intellectually disabled women. During their lifetime, between 70 % and 90% are victims of sexual abuse.
“VIOLETTE is the story of a young woman and her confinement; in her room and in her shame. To free herself, Violette welcomes one spectator at a time to share her secret, in a twist of magic-realism,” said Catherine Bourgeois, artistic director of JOE JACK & JOHN and the show’s creator/director. “Our goal at JOE JACK & JOHN is to create a unique and intimate encounter, and also to inform people about the devastating facts of women living with an intellectual disability. We are using virtual reality, a relatively new technology, as a way to generate connection and empathy, creating a momentary relationship between the spectator and Violette.”
This theme resonates particularly with the inclusive mission of JOE JACK & JOHN. Since its inception 17 years ago, the company’s goal has been to bring forward marginalised voices and to make audiences reflect on current issues. After critically acclaimed works such as Just fake it (2011), je ne veux pas marcher seul (2015), Abîmés – quatre courtes pieces de Samuel Beckett (2016) and Dis merci (2018), JOE JACK & JOHN marks their first immersive work, as well as their first appearance as a company in residence at Espace Libre.
At the intersection of virtual reality and theatre, VIOLETTE presents a universe where fiction and reality are interwoven to give life to unprecedented human connections. JOE JACK & JOHN aims to create intimate encounters that will stimulate empathy and reflection on a sensitive subject. Virtual reality is known as a medium of empathy because it allows the user to take the point of view of another person and to live and experience a new reality in a very direct way. The work runs for 25 minutes and is available in English or French.
Accessibility: Accessible for people with reduced mobility and wheelchair users. Please note that there are no ASL/LSQ interpretations, audio descriptions or relaxed performances available for this show. For more information: joejacketjohn.com/en/violette/
Sanitary standards: The headsets and headphones used during the experience are sterilized between each participant using a CLEANBOX – an independently lab tested device that employs UVC light to eliminate coronavirus.
Trigger warning: The work addresses the theme of sexual violence and other abuses that women with disabilities may experience. However, there are no graphic scenes of these acts in the piece.
May 12 > May 30, 2021
Espace Libre 1945 Fullum, Box Office: 514-521-4191 Tickets: $35 https://espacelibre.qc.ca
Of Note: Tickets for the English version are 20% off from Fri. May 14-Thurs. May 20 with the promo code VIOLETTE21