Les Femmelettes held a special event for La Nuit Blanche at the Espace La Risée, breaking away from their monthly show with an all improvised night, and delighting insomniacs with a rarely seen candour.
“I want tonight to be free for all and get drunk,” said Marie Christine Pilotte, a comedian and the host of Les Femmelettes’ cabaret, while they were planning the show two hours before it. Julie Dignard, the group’s stage director and also a performer, said she wanted their unique show for La Nuit Blanche to be an extension of what usually happens twice a month behind closed doors: each performer would casually present some of their latest material (some of it written that very same day) and others would comment their texts, in order to improve on it.
Les Femmelettes took the stage — which was set for another theatre piece, adding to the night’s spontaneous groove — from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. with beers in hand and hung around, chatting with spectators and asking for their input as they improvised on themes, presented new material, and even read some that they had not memorized yet.
“The tradition is that it is during La Nuit Blanche that I create my best act of the year,” said Josiane Aubuchon, a young comedian and a long time member of the group, an hour before her performance. She still did not know what she was going to present.
Tradition is a strong word for an event that was only going to happen for the third time, but according to the spectators’ reaction to the unusual concept, it might just become a real one for Les Femmelettes. People gave their opinions on the performances and tried to explore with the comedians unexplored paths for their sketches, often leading to interesting interactions between the audience and the artists. Overall, both seemed to appreciate the candid experiment.
Most of the public came on a whim: the event was free and publicized through La Vitrine and Facebook. They could go in and out of the small theatre in Rosemont as they wished, and most of them arrived around half-way of the show just after midnight. The theatre’s staff and some of the performers had to scuffle and find a load of extra chairs as the room filled itself all of a sudden, doubling the number of spectators from 30 to 60 in a couple of minutes. “I expected there to be, I do not know, only eight people there,” said Pilotte. “I was pleasantly surprised to see such an audience tonight.”
Only a fraction of Les Femmelettes went on stage. Julie Dignard presented the comedians throughout the night while Patrick Belisle took charge of the music and did a short sketch of his own. Anna Moulounda Beaupré presented a new version of a Tupperware saleswoman sketch, Marie Christine Pilotte did a hilarious parody of a bad rap music video clip on YouTube, Josiane Aubuchon improvised a sketch on a reality television program about dating in region, Catherine Hammann interpreted a new age life motivator, and Geneviève Fortier read an emotional text on her experience with online dating apps and her relationships with men of colour.
Les Femmelettes is a comedy cabaret presented every first Monday of each month at the Espace La Risée theatre at 1258 Bélanger Street in Rosemont–La-Petite-Patrie. The creative group interprets what it is to be a woman today through stand-up comedy, slams, songwriting and sketches. The group includes Josiane Aubuchon, Linda Bouchard, Céline Brassard, Julie Dignard, Catherine Hamann, Francine Lareau, Nadine Massie, Anna Moulounda Beaupré, Véronique Pascal, Marie Christine Pilotte, Julie Robillard, Anka Rouleau and Patrick Belisle. Tickets are $15 and are available at the door and on La Vitrine’s website.