Thinking of Yu

Danielle Shion-en Kwasi and Mao

I was invited to sketch at the rehersals of the play Thinking of Yu by Carole Fréchette which is now (April 24th – May5, 2013) playing at the Centaur in Montreal.

Daneille and Kwasi at tool box

The play is translated from the French by John Murell and directed by Micheline Chevrier. It is an Imago Theatre production.

Daneille and Kwasi

The cast of three are: Shiong-En-Chan who plays LIN; Danielle Desormeaux who plays MAGGIE and Kwasi who plays JERRY.

Kwasi and Shiong-en

To give you a bit of background into the play I quote from Playright’s Notes take from the program: “On February 23, 2006, an article in the newspaper caught my attention. The report said that Chineese journalist Yu Dongyue, age 38, had recently been freed after 17 years in prison for throwing paint on the portrait of Mao during the demonstrations in Tiananmnan Square in May 1989. He had been tortured and put in solitary confinement several times, and was now metally disabled. Yu wasn’t alone when the paint was thrown…


“… The play is built on the continuous tension between the three imagined characters, and the gesture of those three real men in real China in 1989. Thinking of Yu is located at the heart of the question that haunts me as a writer; how to speak about the world, without making abstraction of the self? How to speak about the self but not forget the world?

b and w 3

A note about Shiong-en Chan who plays the character LIN: She is a graduate of UQAM’s École supériure de théâtre. She has performed with several Montreal theatre companies and some of her projects include: Three fat virgins unassembled (Liberal Arts Society), …. et la petite l’araignée rouge (Productions Araignée Rouge)…She will appear in Imago Theatre’s next production, If We Were Birds, in the fall.

b and w 4

Notes about the character MAGGIE played by Danielle desormeaux: A native Northern Ontarian, Danielle studied Music at Queen’s University and graduated in 1984. She began her acting career in 1991 in Ottawa. Film and television credits include: How the Gimquat Found Her Song (Aqard of Excellence  at the 2007 Accolade Television Awards, Best Children’s Program at the 2008 Banff World Television Festival)… Daneille’s work in improvisation and clown has lead to the creation of new theatre works criically acclaimed Umloüt and MöcShplat for Clowns Gone Bad.

b and w 5

Notes about Kwasi Songui who plays JERRY: Kwasi began his acting career, slowly but surely, straight out of Concordia University where he studied Television Production and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. …Theatre credits include: Guys & Dolls, Romeo and Juliet, as well as Jesus hopped a Train….Voice credits range from radio commercials, to cartoon animation …

Crew 1

A very important part of the staging of a play is the Creative and Production Team. I was lucky to sketch some of them at one of the last rehersals at the Centaur. These include: Pierre-Étienne Locas, Set and Costume Design; Martin Sirois, Lighting Design; Émilie Gendron, Production and Technical Director; Melanie St-Jacques, Stage Manager; Susana Vera, Seamstress; Stéphanie Cléroux, Costume Assistant; Janis Kirshner, Publicist; Ange J Murphy, Poster and Program Design; Salgood Sam, Graphics/Illustrator; Riccardo Cellere, Photographer.

Mel and Mich

At the heart of any successful production is the Director, in this case Micheline Chevrier. She works closely with the stage manager who is Melanie St-Jacques for Thinking of Yu. I managed to do a quick sketch of them at work at the practice venue. Micheline brings a wealth of experience to Imago as the new Artistic and General Director as of July 2012 taking over Clare Shapiro who has been at the head of the team for 13 years. Melanie, beside having worked as stage manager for 13 years also teaches Stage Management at the National Theatre School of Canada. Seeing her at work while I sketched signals her as a sought after teacher for sure.

Crew 2

I am thankful to Imago Theatre for having permitted me the unique oportunity to sketch and paint at the rehersals. My friend Jocelyne Filion who accompanied me on one occasion also expressed her appreciation.

Raynald Murphy SCA


About Raynald Murphy

Passionate plein air painter and sketcher. Watercolor being my favorite medium I also use various dry media to express myself.
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