Le Monastère features local, talented professionals up close and personal
Every Concordia student passes by the corner of Ste-Catherine St. and Bishop St., never thinking twice about the church located there. Fenced off on one side, St Jax doesn’t appear very welcoming, let alone home to a circus!
Le Monastère is a non-profit organisation based in Montreal with the sole purpose of providing affordable, high-caliber entertainment to its diverse audiences. Founded in 2016 by Rosalie Beauchamp and Guillaume Blais, the organisation has been selecting unique venues to allow the public to view performances up close.
With blue and pink lights creating a purple atmosphere, and voices harmonising throughout the church, Feb. 14’s premier was led by “ceremony masters” Brother Tim and Brother Joe. The comedic duo are polar opposites: Tim is quite tall and slim, while Joe is at least two feet shorter. They introduced the talented performers, all Montreal locals, while performing their own stunts and gimmicks in monk’s robes.
The evening began with Chinese pole acrobat, David Ayotte. Wearing red jeans, Ayotte climbed the pole, throwing himself off, miraculously catching himself and continuing to moonwalk upwards. Watching him made palms sweat, a feeling that persisted throughout the evening.
Following Ayotte’s act was aerial acrobatic duo, Guillaume Paquin and Nicole Faubert. Pushing off of and using each others bodies, the couple made intricate, vital and graceful movements. Without pure synchronism, the duo could have easily injured themselves. Yet their performance was sensual- impossible to look away from.
After the duo landed safely onstage, hula hoop artist Melodie Lamoureux took the spotlight. Her gold hoops brilliantly reflected the coloured lights, while Grimes’s “Genesis” began to play. Lamoureux managed to have six hoops circling different limbs all at once. Coordinated spasms somehow allowed the hoops to change colour. It was mesmerizing.
Enter Francis Gadbois. The acrobat literally threw his bike around the stage, performed wheelies unlike anything seen on the streets, and rode around the stage backward, sitting on the handles facing the seat, standing up on the seat and again on the handles. Gadbois, or as his website refers to him as, Gadbike, is a multidisciplinary performer, skilled not only in extreme biking, but juggling, poetry and mustache care.
Le Monastère features uniquely performers that call Montreal home, many of which have performed all over the world with Cirque du Soleil and other international circuses. Montreal’s talents are abundant—from the occasional snow unicycler to summer stilt-walkers, the city’s circus and performing arts culture runs deep, much deeper than the Old Port and Bell Centre.
St Jax will be Le Monastère’s home year-round, with its next performance scheduled for April 5. The cabaret promises new acts every time. For more information about Le Monastère and to find out their scheduled show times, visit le-monastere.ca.