In June, Abby Paige presented her new one-woman show, Les Filles du QUOI, at Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier. If you were one of those lucky enough to see it, you know what an amazing author and actress Abby is. On July 27 she took the time to talk with us for our July Pause-Déjeuner presentation. She began with a powerful reading from the play in the voice of La Corriveau, the play’s main female character. Even in this setting, on Zoom with a handful of participants, Abby visibly changed, becoming La Corriveau rather than someone reading from a script.
La Corriveau is a quasi-real person, what we would call a witch, from Québecois lore. La Corriveau speaks to us from the dead, reminding us that we all tell stories to make sense of the world; true stories, or stories where we bend the truth to our advantage. Sometimes our stories about our ancestors we use to establish a link to a perceived glorious past.
The play begins with La Corriveau singing in Spanish from inside a gibbet. When asked why in Spanish, Abby explained that she wanted to unsettle the bilingual folks in the audience, putting them on the same plane as those who might find the French in the play unsettling. She also explained that the songs La Corriveau sings refer to connections between the living and their ancestors.
The conversation that followed Abby’s reading was warm and friendly and informative. Several of those in attendance had not seen Les Filles du QUOI and were curious about possible future performances of the play. Abby said she doesn’t currently have plans to take the play on the road or to film it, but she’s open to possibilities. Do you know someone with a theater looking for material?