Marie Brassard’s driving force behind the creation of her one-woman play, Jimmy, was her dreams.
“It’s like a drug trip,” Brassard said of dreaming. Through these delusions, she said, one’s thoughts are allowed to be free. This crafted an imaginative and creative atmosphere full of rich material that led her to write the play.
Jimmy is Brassard’s first solo play. It depicts the story of Jimmy, a 33-year-old homosexual hairdresser caught in the mind of a homophobic General in the 1950s. Through his dreams, Jimmy meets Mitchell, a soldier, and falls deeply in love with him. But just before they are about to kiss, the General suddenly dies, leaving Jimmy in what Brassard describes as a “limbo in this state of pure happiness.” He is frozen in time and does not come back to consciousness until 50 years later in a Montreal actress’ fantasy. She, in turn, falls for Jimmy and conjures up what Brassard considers “baroque dreams” where he ultimately grows confused about his true gender identity.
“He is obliged to follow her in her dreams,” Brassard said. Fighting to desperately reclaim his true love, Jimmy has to find his way out of the actress’ dreams and back to Mitchell’s embrace.
Created in June 2001, Jimmy was Brassard’s first approach to a one-woman show, something she had always wanted to do. Having worked closely with co-creator Robert LePage in the past, Brassard’s need for a solo project intensified as she became more aware of her dreams and subconscious.
“I had in my mind these desires of what I wanted to put on stage,” she said. “In order to find a way back to myself and the artist that I am, I had to be alone.”
The creative process Brassard used to create Jimmy was to journal all of her dreams, which, she said, turned out to be a very interesting development. She started thinking about the notion of the dreamer and their role in the formation of subconscious desires. She questioned the very concept of dreaming and how it affects our daily lives. Through this practice, “using my dream, and this idea of the dreamer, I came up with Jimmy,” she said.
Having become Brassard’s signature role, this will be the last time Jimmy is brought to life in Montreal. The play, which has been performed in both English and French, has allowed Brassard to tour the world. “It will be a good opportunity to say farewell to Jimmy,” she said. “It will be the last time I perform it here in Montreal.”
Jimmy is playing from Nov. 25 &- 28 at 8:30 p.m. and Nov. 29 at 2:30 p.m. at the Centaur Theatre, 453 St FranÃ§ois-Xavier. Tickets $26 for students. For more information, call 514-288-3161.