FRINGE 2016: Se rincer l’âme au windshield washer

Sitting in the waiting area of the Mainline Theatre feels like I'm sitting in the living room of someone I've only met once - familiar yet extremely uncomfortable.

I'm sweaty, I've been walking up and down Boulevard Saint-Laurent for hours, and I'm waiting for Se rincer l’âme au windshield washer to start. Through the chatter and footsteps of the other play-goers I hear pow-wow music coming from inside the theater and I cringe internally.

Is there going to be racism? Will I get mad? I prepare myself for the worst, but when the doors open a few minutes later, the actors are playing limbo on the stage followed by "Follow the Leader" and "The Macarena."

I thought this was going to be sad. The set creates a contrast to the play's mouthful of a title. It's only chairs and 12 actors dressed in black and light blue. I have no idea what to expect anymore.

The play follows Thomas Leclair, played by Felix-Antoine Cantin. His character goes through a teenage crisis when he gets involved with his CEGEP's student union and begins to understand bigger-picture societal problems. In a family of white cops from Blainville - the changes to his worldview are not welcome in his family at all. After a heated and accusatory discussion of an incident that happened on Christmas of 2015 - Thomas' parents send him to a therapist. An anglophone man, who accepts his unusual request to proceed with the sessions even though Thomas only speaks French. Through newscasts, holiday parties, and philosophy classes the audience experiences firsthand the generational and moralistic gap in a post-Maple Spring Quebec.

The actors all deliver a stellar performance. Felix-Antoine Cantin as Thomas and Pierre-Antoine Pellerin as his father create a huge amount of friction onstage. I've seen productions that cost thousands of dollars that have had less reach than this play.

The piece itself is full of extremely intense and emotional moments that are punctuated by offhand comments from the actors that drive the messages right home. It's a dark slice-of-life where no social issue is left untouched. 

Catch this final performance, this Saturday (That's tonight!!) at Mainline Theatre located at 3997 Sainte-Catherine E. at 20:30!


DJ Thinkbox is part of CJLO’s Official Fringe Team covering the sights and sounds from the 2016 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival.

She also hosts The Machine Stops every Friday morning from 9am – 10am ET, only on 1690AM in Montreal and online at Follow her show Tumblr@themachine-stops