Sam & Angèle: a comforting performance

The performers invite their audience to explore the harshness of daily life and the softness of boredom

In a cozy atmosphere, on a stage filled with fabric objects, Samantha Hinds and Angélique Willkie perform the comforting Sam & Angèle. Initiated by choreographer Sovann Rochon-Prom Tep, the 50-minute creation confronts the ideas of work overload and self-care.

Warm light bulbs illuminate La Chapelle’s theatre. They enlighten Mestari’s fabric creations. These include a large pair of glasses composed of multiple patterns, a large microphone, and a phone. From the start, the performers’ complicity is palpable. The show marries text, the singing, and movement. The performers’ voices are the only sound filling the space. They sing together, creating harmonies. Hinds starts dancing, and Willkie observes her in a benevolent way. Roles are then switched. 

The duo establishes their dynamic through eye contact and smiles. They share the stage but also the energy of the space. As the performance evolves, different themes emerge. 

“Work overload is one of the themes of the show. It didn’t emerge because we wanted to do a show that talked about work overload, but because in the discussions we had as a team,” explained Rochon-Prom Tep.

This idea came about through songs written by the team. During the performance, Hinds and Willkie repeat “On travaille trop,” contrasting the monotony of the word repetition with their luminous voice tone and energy. They later sing an ode to boredom, inviting the audience to reflect on self-care. The caring energy between the performers culminates at the end when Willkie gradually fades the lights down to complement Hinds’ relaxation on stage. 

The creator explained that he hopes seeing the performers taking care of themselves will inspire audience members to dive into introspection in their own lives when it comes to self-care. The welcoming atmosphere created by the organization of colourful props and lights on stage enhances this calming journey for visitors.

The creation process first started with Rochon-Prom Tep’s interest in creating a project based on an encounter between artists. The choreographer organized meetings with Hinds and Willkie so they could start creating together. A singing session sparked the inspiration for the project. “I was really touched by this vocal improvisation and I thought there was something to do with that,” said Rochon-Prom Tep. From their discussions and improvisation sessions, the performers built a creative connection that led to the creation of Sam & Angèle

Laïla Mestari also collaborated on the project as the creator of the colourful stage set. Rochon-Prom Tep explained that when he first encountered her work, he was inspired by “the complexity of idea juxtapositions, of shapes, of images, of mediums.” Their collaboration led to the development of a unique visual identity for the show.

Rochon-Prom Tep described their creation process as an inspiring collective project. “We crafted together with words, voices, bodies, and materials to get to know each other. The creation built off this, through the time we spent together, the discussions that emerged. It created a collective imagination where our different identities and our different interests, our different lifestyles came together in certain places even though they are completely different in a lot of ways,” he said.

Hinds, Willkie, Rochon-Prom Tep and Mestari created the impression of a reset, a kind of self-care to get ready for new beginnings. “The show features a lot of softness and attention, a show that touches the poetry of the collective and individual creative worlds of the different team members,” said Rochon-Prom Tep.

La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines is located at 3700 Saint-Dominique St. They present Sam & Angèle until March 11. Tickets for the showare available on their website.


Visuals courtesy David Wong and Vanessa Fortin


M. Gros: investigation games and the art world

Artistic duo Geneviève and Matthieu derive inspiration for their latest performance from investigative TV shows and movies

Artistic duo Geneviève et Matthieu will present their new creation titled M. Gros at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines theater from Oct. 12 to 15. The performers bring the audience into their universe in a non-narrative multidisciplinary creation built around the themes of investigation, identity, and the art world.

Some of the props Geneviève et Matthieu use in their new creation include  fake skin placed on stools, masks with long dark hair attached to clothes hangers, a large piece of fabric piled at the back of the stage, a cotton candy machine, a guitar that plays by itself, a large rope, and a collection of knives.

Their piece is based around the idea of the Mr. Big police investigation technique. This technique aims to solve unsolved crimes through the work of undercover police officers who use infiltration techniques to get to know the suspect. The artists were inspired by investigative TV shows and movies they love. They also thought the name Mr. Big was poetic and could correlate to many ideas, such as the chocolate bar, the body, and the rock band of the same name.

Geneviève et Matthieu have been working on M. Gros for two years now, with it constantly evolving. Improvisation is a crucial part of the performance: the artists have a script that lists the main events of the show, but the way in which they transition from one to the other changes every time.

The artists view the improvisational aspect of their work as a challenge; one that allows them to constantly try new things. “We want the freedom we are giving ourselves to show through because that is all part of playing games, when you start a game of Clue you don’t know how it’s going to end, so it’s the same for us, it’s the idea of how it will end and what shape it will take,” said Geneviève.

The duo is also accompanied on stage by a mad curator who hates contemporary art, and a visual artist who hides behind the different objects on the stage. “It is a roleplay and there are many declensions, but always under the same theme of our identity, who we are, what we hide and what we reveal,” explained Geneviève.

M. Gros is an investigation game Geneviève et Matthieu set for themselves. They are using movement, music and text throughout the performance. As the investigators, their target is specific: they are taking over the art world. The idea came to them after pondering what would be the worst thing that artists could lose. The answer to this question was their ideas. Therefore, the performance also reflects on the contemporary art world.

Geneviève et Matthieu have been working as artists since the 1990s. They also founded an artist centre in their hometown of Rouyn-Noranda called l’Écart.  The Biennale d’Art Performatif de Rouyn-Noranda performance art festival which presented its 9 edition in 2018, is another project they initiated. All the art pieces they’ve encountered influence their practice. Their knowledge enriches the show as they touch on the history of performance art.

Geneviève et Matthieu are both trained in visual arts. They are also musicians who wrote and produced five albums. The performative aspect of their work appeared later in their career, with their pieces La Jamésie and L’opéra d’or

Geneviève explained that the creation of their performances was always driven by the props they use. Also, the multidisciplinary aspect of their work is an important part of their creative process. “We always present in different contexts whether it is a theatre, an art gallery, it is really something we are looking for because it gives us the opportunity to work differently and to be influenced by the context,” said Matthieu.

After its run at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines, M. Gros will be presented in another form at the Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain gallery from Nov. 13 to Dec. 18. For them, the exhibition space gives the audience a way of interacting with the props that is different than in a performance space. “When we are in an exhibition space, we have another relationship with the artwork which includes more proximity… in the way we will install it, the work of art will have another life and the objects will interact with each other in a different way,” said Geneviève.

M. Gros is presented in partnership with the Phenomena Festival. Tickets for the M. Gros show are available on the La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines website


Photograph courtesy of Geneviève et Matthieu

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