The problem with pink Audience age range : 6 and older / In Theater : COVID-Proof
Playing happily on their private pink carpet, each day is full of fun and stories for friends Alix, Sasha, Lou and Noa. From afar, the outside world seeps into their games. A plane flies overhead? They grow long, long wings. It starts raining? No problem: they splash in the puddles, instantly waterproof. But everything changes when they get terrible news from the outside: the colour pink is for girls. Suddenly, the perception of others becomes a major preoccupation, muddling their imaginations in the process. They are boys! This place – this pink place – is not for them. Not anymore.
A Quebec-France co-production : Le Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke and La [parenthèse] – Christophe Garcia
Recipient of the Louise-Lahaye Prize 2020 / Érika Tremblay-Roy – Playwright
Published by Lansman Editeur
Watch Video Excerpt
Author / Director
Choreographer / Director
Assistant Stage Director
Alix : Samuel Décary
Noa : Nina Morgane Madelaine
Lou : Olivier Rousseau
Sacha : Alexandre Tondolo
Le Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke
The mission of Le Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke is to develop the practice and attendance of theatre in children and youth by placing words and dramatic art at the heart of research and by offering multidisciplinary teams the creative environment that allows them to experiment with the musical, visual and physical languages.
A theatre that defies convention, always looking for new ways to tell a story and make it blossom and to grab young audiences attention by playing with the codes of performance, inviting them to visit a universe that ignites imagination. A theatre that allows for greater freedom of interpretation, giving young audiences’ sensibilities and intelligence a different perspective and trusting their ability to discover new versions of a story. A theatre that cares about showcasing the talent of local artists while establishing new collaborations with companies from abroad, thus multiplying exchange opportunities between creators from different artistic scopes and disciplines.
In 47 years of artistic activity, Le Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke has created more than 90 plays presented in Québec, Canada, United States, France, Scotland, Belgium, Switzerland and South America.
La [parenthèse] / Christophe Garcia
The dance company La [parenthèse] / Christophe Garcia was founded in 2000 with the desire to tell stories through dance, music and text. From the very beginning, its founder was driven by the desire to build bridges between the arts, generations and continents.
Each show offers a unique universe : small intimate shapes alongside ambitious shows. The poetry and dynamism of the artists impart a common tone to all productions.
Since its inception, La [parenthèse] / Christophe Garcia has presented more than 25 creations that have made their mark in France and around the world. The company continues to project itself in creations on different scales, which always remain unifying, joyful and human.
Artistic director – Le Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke
Author and director – The Problem with Pink
Trained as an actor at l’École de théâtre du Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe, Erika Tremblay-Roy is an author, director and actress, and is particularly inspired by children and youth theatre. Among other plays, she wrote Tante T and Autopsie d’une napkin, a text for which she received the Louise-LaHaye Award in 2012. For her play Petite vérité inventée, created by Théâtre Bouches Décousues in 2013, she is nominated as a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Awards, given by the Canada Council for the Arts. For Lettre pour Éléna, a co-production from Le Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke and French dance company La [parenthèse] / Christophe Garcia, she is awarded the following prizes : Prix LOJIQ : Francophonie and CALQ : OEuvre de l’année for the Eastern Townships. She has been Le Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke’s artistic director for the last 8 years.
Artistic director – La [parenthèse] / Christophe Garcia
Choreographer and director – The Problem with Pink
Trained as a dancer and initiated to theatre, singing and music, Christophe very quickly gravitated towards choreography. First admitted at l’École-Atelier Rudra-Béjart in Switzerland, he joins Béjart Ballet Lausanne. Between France and Canada, he collaborates with several artistic figures and international organizations, like Robert Lepage and Ex Machina, Robert Wilson and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Winner of several international choreography awards, he is noticed by his work during European and North-American events. Christophe is invited to work and create for repertory companies: Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Opéra-théâtre d’Avignon, Ballet d’Europe, Dantzaz Compania, Jeune Ballet du Québec and Jeune Ballet de France. Founder and artistic director for the La [parenthèse] / Christophe Garcia company, based in Angers, France, this is his third collaboration with Le Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke.
Themes explored in the play
The Problem with Pink features a group of four friends who are strongly connected through play and the pleasure of imagining stories. When fear of the judgment of others creeps into their world and hinders their candor, division and mistrust take hold within the group. For young audiences, it is an opportunity to reflect on FRIENDSHIP.
• How do we know we are friends with someone ?
• Can we be friends with someone who is very different from us ?
• What is the most important element in a friendship ?
• Can a friendship last a long time ?
Boy and girl
The question of gender identity is at the heart of societal issues. This exhilarating play gives children a living matter to reflect on what they will do with the clichés associated with boys or girls in their future. It invites them to enter life with their little bundle of unique experiences and to conceive the future with boldness, brightness and freedom. The play allows us to exchange with the children on what makes A BOY OR A GIRL.
• Can we make a distinction between games for boys and games for girls ?
• Can we make a distinction between careers for boys and careers for girls ?
• Who decides what it means to be a boy or a girl ?
• What can you do if you disagree with the differences made between boys and girls ?
In the play, there comes a time when, to escape from the gaze of others, the characters venture underground, without suspecting that this escape will rob them of their imagination and ability to dream. Each in their own way, they will find the way back to the surface and quench this vital thirst to see further, to think freely and to invent a world that meets their expectations. This quest allows us to bounce back with the audience on the importance of IMAGINATION.
• What is the purpose of imagination ?
• Can we imagine everything ?
• Is what we are imagining real ?
• Is imagination a right ?
Alix seeks to fit a manly, intrepid, unshakeable model… Sasha is trying to hide what might make him seem outside the norm… Noa no longer finds his place in the established social scheme… Lou navigates by instinct and gets confused by the narrowness of the path to use. More broadly, this play can be used to discuss the issue of IDENTITY.
• How do we know who we are ?
• Can we decide who we are ?
• Is it easy to be different from others ?
• Is it easy not to act like everyone else ?
A study guide is available. It explores the creative process of the two directors ; introduces philosophy as a tool to help children to question and exchange extensively with their classmates ; explores the concepts of identity, diversity, fear, adaptation and acclimatization, by reminding teachers that children see concepts differently than adults.
Two preparatory workshops are available before the performance : 30 minutes preparation on the themes explored in the play and one hour workshop based on the dancing movements explored in the play.
Finally, the company is also open to creating other tools with presenters in order to maximize the school audience experience.
« A small show for all audiences that is remarkable in several respects: easy to understand and precise, it is likely to give tools to children who impose gendered behaviours on themselves and are cruelly separated between dominant boys and dominated girls in the schoolyard. Even better, we can see how boys suffer from this masculine and virile behaviour that is forced upon them. All this is expressed in between two genres, where dancers speak, thought is seen, bodies feel pleasure and ache, and dialogues feed the joy of movement. And the triumph of the love of pink and of free development of oneself. »Agnès FreschelZibeline Journal, 7 december 2018
« This is the great strength of this writing partnership : knowing how to translate in motion what words don’t say and voice what the choreography only touches on. The two languages lean on and respond to each other, which takes the point further and pushes the idea differently. »Karine TremblayLa Tribune, 15 november 2018
« What a great field trip! My students and I really appreciated it. Thanks to all those who, from near or far, have contributed to making this show a rich and thoughtful exercise that will help anchor tolerance and openness in children. »Ann CourtemancheCoeur-Immaculé Elementary School, 16 november 2018
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