Life can be a series of little lotteries if only you’ll acknowledge them.
The latest lottery win for actor Gabrielle Jones is her role as Germaine Lauzon in the touring production of the smash Quebec musical, Sisters: The Belles Soeurs Musical playing at Theatre Calgary until Nov. 4.
This is an English version of the musical based on Michel Tremblay’s landmark 1965 play about a Montreal housewife who wins one million trading stamps in a department store contest.
Revelling in her great fortune, Germaine invites friends over to help paste the stamps into booklets so she can claim her prizes, but, in doing so, old tensions, rivalries and envies rise to the surface and boil over.
Jones quickly acknowledges she has a plum role in the electric new Canadian musical, but it’s hardly a walk in the park, even for a seasoned actor like herself.
“It’s a very demanding part in a very demanding show, but the material supports you emotionally. You get picked up and carried away by the writing, story and characters and that all goes back to the source material.
“Michel Tremblay’s play and characters are still as vibrant and relevant and truthful as they were 50 years ago,” says Jones.
When it opened in Quebec 52 years ago, Les Belles-soeurs caused quite a sensation. Detractors claimed the language was too racy and the female characters far too outspoken and, perhaps, even outlandish. Still, Les Belles-soeurs continues to be produced all over the world and remains Tremblay’s most beloved and popular work.
“There will be some audience members who will be shocked by some of the language and some of the subject matter in the play, but that’s part of its lasting appeal.
“This is a beautiful example of French Canadian kitchen sink drama and it is so wonderfully female-centric,” says Jones, who won a Calgary Critics’ Award nomination for her starring role as Golde in Stage West’s production of Fiddler on the Roof.
Gabrielle Jones (centre) and the cast of Theatre Calgary’s Sisters: The Belles Soeurs Musical.
Jones explains that, for Germaine, winning the trading stamps “is the highest moment of her life.
“She lives such a small, constrained existence. She literally thinks these stamps are her ticket to eternal happiness. In her working-class culture being able to buy things, have things and get things is what makes a person happy.”
When Germaine invites her friends over for a stamp pasting party, it’s about more than just free labour. …read more