Storytelling and Literature
Jocelyn Bérubé, Jean-Marc Massie
A long-awaited and astonishing event: a confluence of two figureheads of Quebec folklore, of traditional and contemporary, of two unique yet complementary voices reaching out to the receptive ears of a sensitive and sympathetic audience. Two artists outside the mainstream of showbiz, whose mastery of their craft proves that you don’t have to be a big star to shine with a dazzling light. Presented in French.
Among Montreal storytellers, Jean-Marc Massie is arguably the media darling. He obtained a PhD in Political Science from the very serious Sorbonne in 1994; however, he refused to bury himself in Montreal’s cultural underground to stifle the complex existential questions that tormented him. On the contrary, he enlisted them as raw material for wildly eccentric performances that combine improvisation, storytelling, and pure manic energy.
On his audible peregrinations, Jean-Marc likes to speculate about such things as the various forms of alienation experienced by the uprooted villager, the urban bum, and the neurotic suburbanite. He offers a realistic account of a magical quest to forge a mythology at once traditional and modern, where the woodland path and the log cabin coexist with asphalt and concrete.
Since 1998 he has been the host of Les Dimanches du conte, a weekly storytelling series at the Sergent Recruteur resto-bar. The series attracts an enthusiastic audience (mostly young adults) eager to discover the words and sounds that have been shaping this “ancient art” for thousands of years.
When he was 17, Jocelyn Bérubé ran away from his native village of Saint-Nil in Quebec’s Gaspé region to join the circus—in fact, he helped found Montreal’s Grand Cirque Ordinaire. A product of the city’s cultural heyday in the 1970s, the company changed the landscape of Quebec theatre, and many of its members are still active and acclaimed on the Quebec arts scene today. It was here that he made his debut as a wandering musician, a troubadour of the spoken word, a painter of poetic portraits of everyday heroes… and, more than 25 years later, he’s still at it. He’s the genuine article, the epitome of the “anti-star:” he tells and retells, proclaims and recites, watches and listens, and most of all, remains unswervingly true to himself.
Jocelyn is one of those great artists for whom Art represents “simply” the ultimate fulfilment, yet doesn’t affect their relationships with others. His secret weapon is his humility. Together with his magnetic talent as a poet and storyteller, it opens the door to an authentic connection with a man at the height of his expressive power and wisdom—an artist of rare gifts indeed.
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