Le Retour

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in Illustration | 3 comments

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Since illustrating the cover of Nicole d’Entremont’s A Generation of Leaves, I’ve witnessed her continued discovery of the depths of that story. After taking a play writing class at Maine College of Art’s Continuing Studies Program, she began developing dialogue for her novel’s characters that would become Le Retour.  Her play will be on stage next week at Salle Pere Maurice in Tusket, Nova Scotia, presented by Theatre Generations. Show times are July 7 and July 14 at 7:30, tickets are $12 at the door. For more information, call (902) 740-4094. Nicole will be in the wings, and will sign copies of the novel after the performance, with 50% of the proceeds benefiting the Theatre Generations.

Her novel takes the reader from Pubnico, Nova Scotia to the trenches of World War 1. Le Retour goes into new territory, with the return home of the second son, Elzear.

She wrote, “The coming home stories always seem to get little air time. I wonder why? Maybe they just aren’t the stories we want to hear. The story my father told me about Uncle Felix when he returned home and, seeing that his mother had pinned a newspaper photograph of General Douglas Haig (Commander of British and Canadian troops) on the wall, tore it down and threw it into the parlor stove fire with the words, if they want another war, they’ll have to find me in the woods.”

She discovered the complex and bitter history of the return of Canadian soldiers. Her play is a work of the imagination, with inspiration from these family anecdotes. The d’Entremont ancestral roots still run deep in Pubnico.

For the poster, Nicole envisioned the scene of a returning soldier. I found my photo of a Pubnico house taken on a previous trip to Nova Scotia, a common sight in that area of Acadie.

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I found excellent sources of Canadian war posters like this online.

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But what does a Canadian soldier look like from the back? A less glorious view in reality.

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I needed more detail; thank you, internet.

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I presented these rough ideas to the playwright.

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Nicole had an immediate response to the second sketch, in which the face of Leonce, the first brother who was killed, looks out from the brooding sky as Elzear returns. With a few revisions, this became the final poster.

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Currently the play is in rehearsal, and Nicole sent these photos. Plenty of action!

Aubrey, narrator and Boudreau family friend, is played by Réal Boudreau who speaks an elegant mix of “franglais” in the play.

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Léonce, the first Boudreau son off to war, played by Tim Schraeder, and Elzéar the second son, played by Léo d’Entremont, struggle as Aubrey attempts to intervene.

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Shelly Clark, Elzéar’s love interest, played by Carrie Thompson and Elzéar share a moment as (if you look closely) Léonce stares from the wings.

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Next week will be full dress rehearsals. The troupe formed Theatre Generations to apply for grant funding to take the play to Belgium next year, the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1. May their all-volunteer efforts bring history home for all of us, in memory of the sacrifice as well as the loss of generations. But will we ever learn?

Happy 150th birthday, O Canada!

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Merci, Jamie!

  2. Not sure if my comments went through???
    In short,kudos to both you, Jamie, and Nicole

  3. This is wonderful, Jamie. Hurrah to you and Nicole!

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