By Mélanie Leroy
Here is another mustsee event in AbitibiTémiscamingue everybody has been telling me about for several months : Amos vous raconte son histoire! I have been told this is a play in the open, taking place through the streets of Amos. This already makes me pretty curious. I like the concept and it resonates with me! All right, let’s go unwind together at Amos vous raconte!
The Very Last Ticket to the Play Amos vous raconte
It is noon on Monday, August 12. I realize that there are only three performances left of the play Amos vous raconte son histoire! I then call the tourist information centre to buy a ticket for that evening. Phew! I am a lucky woman, as they tell me on the phone that this is the very last ticket! Tuesday and Wednesday performances are also sold out! Satisfied with my timing, I am looking forward to tonight to discover this theatrical tour.
6:50 p.m.: Arrival at the Maison HectorAuthier
Just before 6:50 p.m., I park my car in front of the old train station, near the Maison Hector-Authier, where the Amos vous raconte tour begins. As soon as I put my foot on the path towards the site’s main entrance, historical reenactors come to greet me. Miss Lafleur, one of the characters that can be seen on several tour posters, takes care of entrance fees and hands me my ticket to attend the performance.
I then head to the Maison HectorAuthier, a little further up the path, where the vast majority of spectators already are. An ephemeral general store is set up onsite. Actors are strolling around us. A guitarist appears in the middle of the crowd, playing the guitar, and everybody naturally gather around him.
Let the Show Begin!
The actresses playing the parts of Miss Lafleur and MarieAnge Croteau address the crowd from the porch of the Maison HectorAuthier. The tone is set from the start. They are really into their characters, and they get us in the spirit with their first few lines.
Amos Deseskers, our guide and tale teller this evening, then appears on the porch and takes over. The actress playing the part of the little boy is amazing. She manages to make us quickly forget the person behind the character. I am quickly on board with the story. That is promising!
After this short introduction, Amos invites us to follow him. He and the musician lead us to the next place, where other actors are waiting for us.
From the Train Station to the Transcontinental Railway by the Harricana River, to the Cathedral, etc.
The Amos vous raconte son histoire tour unfolds in six “acts”, so to speak. We are strolling around the city, following Amos and the troubadour. There are plenty of places to sit down, and the distances between the performance sites are not long. Especially because the show never stops! Actors are everywhere and they invade the city of Amos! I really feel as if I have jumped in time, strolling around the 1st Avenue, running into dozens of actors busy with their activities and with gossip of the last century.
Marcel, suitcase in hand, is running around to get away from his wife who wants to take the train back south and leave Abitibi as soon as possible. Mrs. O’Brien is busy fuelling the gossip with her sidekicks, while Maurice Bénard and his friends are busy having an aperitif. With all this relentless activity around us, it is impossible not to be on board with the show and the story being told about the city!
An Important Part of the City of Amos’ History Finally Added
I am extremely happy to see this theatrical tour for the first time. Especially when I hear that this is the first year that a significant part of the region’s history and of the city of Amos’ history has been added, that is the one about the decisive role that played the Abitibiwinni First Nation! We meet with the Kistabish family by the Harricana River. What an interesting part of the story! And what a music to my ears are the few sentences in Algonquian language! Important historical facts are highlighted with humour and sensitivity, and it makes you think.
The experience I had during the Amos vous raconte son histoire theatrical tour was incredible! With this nearly threehour play, I learned more about the history of the region and I discovered the city of Amos. I had a great time, with a sense of being out of time. I attended a wedding in the cathedral, and a mock hanging staged at the courthouse.