Creation, Text, Direction, Performing
Le Boudoir was an evening of retro and stylish entertainment, celebrating Sapphic love—where silent films, circus, dance, theatre and music were happily celebrated. Created and masterfully orchestrated by Miriam Ginestier, artistic director of Studio 303, and also producer, dancer, filmmaker, and organizer of the famous queer party series: Meow Mix.
It was produced between 1994-2006 in beautifully restored old-fashion cabaret halls and theatres in Montreal: Le Lion d’Or, Le théâtre Corona, Le National.
It echoes an artistic period of innovation and subversion inspired by early forms of entertainment. A very unique experience of performance in place, in a mad frenzy of production and creation, using the mixture of genres (“high art” responding to “low art”), skirting generational and linguistic barriers—a slick but very spontaneous show where professional and amateur co-star.
An integral contributor to Le Boudoir since 1997 (as an actress, dancer, performer, creator of numbers), Nathalie Claude realizes an old artistic fantasy. She writes, directs, and performs between 2001 and 2006 five plays inspired by the theatrical genre of the “Belle Époque” and the bedroom comedies, which she calls: her “vaudevilles”.
Les Heureuses Libertines (2001 and 2006); La leçon d’Anglaise (2002); Émotions au Salon (2003); De cape d’épée de jupons et de quelques frissons (2004); Les Mauvaises Filles (2005).
Each play was portraying francophone and anglophone protagonists; the French and English texts being simultaneously delivered, inviting the largest number of spectators to enjoy the unfolding of the stories, in a merry bilingual brothel, so typical of Montreal.
Through the years, those that have played in the vaudevilles include: Nathalie Claude, Deborah Dunn, Jackie Gallant, Miriam Ginestier, Dominique Leduc, Suzanne Lemoine, Kim McCraw, Félixe Ross, Skidmore, Nadine Sures, Dayna McLeod, Alexis O’Hara, Leni Parker, Alison Vishnovska and Isabelle Lussier (percussion).
Doors are slamned, there is a promiscuity spread out publicly; countesses, baronesses, good and bad girls, queens, spies, schoolgirls and female musketeers fall in love, desire each other, cheat, leave each other and meet all over again.
Having fun perverting known stories, and beloved “clichés”, Nathalie Claude uses classic misunderstandings (Georges Feydeau, William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, Alexandre Dumas) and creates openly lesbian plays riddled with puns, double entendre, rhymes and colorful romps. They were accompanied by live music from the Montreal pianist of international fame: Mimi Blais, who has classical training and is a specialist of “ragtime” music.
Nathalie surrounded herself with professional actresses, and key performers from the queer scene to create playful and consistent casting. The vaudevilles became the centerpiece of the Boudoir, and the public favorite. The high production values, the zany and bilingual writing, remarkable costumes and live music following every beat of the action on stage, gave Le Boudoir magical moments that will remain engraved in the memory of it’s laughing hilariously audience.
Presented in Montreal for Le Boudoir between 2001 and 2006 – Lion d’Or, Théâtre Corona, Théâtre Le National.