Montréal,  9 oct. - 22 oct. 1999
Numéro 47
  (page 6)
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 by Ralph Maddocks
          I think sometimes that the nubilous pronouncements of our provincial politicians, irrespective of ideological content, ought to be set to music. In fact, produced as a musical comedy, they would probably sell enough tickets to reduce the provincial debt created so enthusiastically by both parties. A debt which seems likely to continue to be loaded on the backs of the uncomplaining and impoverished taxpayers of this province.                      
          There should be little trouble casting such a piece, the supply of actors is practically inexhaustible. The lead roles could be assigned to the party leaders, and those aspiring to become leaders, of the respective parties. Imagine the dramatic potential offered by this; the behind the scenes conflicts with their subtle character assassinations of the leaders by the aspirants. Et tu Brute!  
          The colour scheme of the stage set could employ the colours used by the various parties in their recent election campaign. Sickly green faces could leer at us from the wings as they seek to convince us to support their particular political option. Others, in bright primary colours could invite the audience to put its trust in their alternative.
The colour of my MNA 
          One wonders if those who chose these political party colour schemes really understood the significance of their choices. Whenever I read Dr Max Lüscher’s writings on the significance of colour I am amazed by the accuracy of his interpretations of colour choice. Green may well signify the quest for better living conditions, such as improved health or a longer life. But above all, an individual’s preference for green indicates someone who wants their opinions to prevail, who feels himself the representative of basic and immutable principles. A person who puts himself on a pedestal and lectures others. Remind you of any politician in particular?  
          Other faces could display two colours, perhaps representing political duplicity, red and blue. Red is the expression of vital force, an urge to win, an expression of vitality and power, an urge to transform. The « force of the will » as opposed to the « elasticity of the will » expressed by the colour green. Red is also associated with someone who wants his activities to bring him intensity of experience and fullness of living. The colour Red is tempered by the Blue, which suggests a desire for calm. 
          Of course a musical comedy needs a chorus. This could be drawn from the backbenchers of each party in the assembly. These are the ones who rarely speak but enthusiastically support the frequently ill-considered pronouncements of their more visible and publicity seeking leaders. After all, many leaders don’t think it necessary for their backbenchers to know much about what is going on. One could have a ladies, men’s or mixed chorus drawn from the assembly or by party, depending upon the overall theme. This could of course present a problem for Mario Dumont, the young leader and sole representative of the Action Démocratique Party who must sit in solitary splendour. A chorus of one is rare; at least if he had a companion they could appear like the two grave diggers from Hamlet!  
 « One might fantasize about Jean Charest,
in blackface, plucking on a banjo and singing
to the memory of a former Federal Tory
existence, Poor Old Joe comes to mind. »
          Writing the libretto also would be very easy. Politicians love to talk, and they like it even more when their words are recorded in a more permanent form. Indeed, the periphrastic outpourings of our politicians would fill several volumes each day of our lives. The verses of the opening chorus might consist of adaptations of promises drawn from party manifestos with the chorus lines drawn from the Assembly proceedings which records the actual words spoken on the topic; usually those repudiating the promise! The well-publicized phrase « L’autre façon de gouverner », which was intended to make us think that there could be a better way, could form the basis of such a libretto. Promises about improvements to health care could be contrasted to a recital of the names of those whose health has been adversely affected by these changes. The whole accompanied by a procession of striking nurses and so on. 
National Assembly: The musical 
          The first act would, of necessity, have to conform to political protocol and introduce the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition. The Premier, obmutescent from the loss of his favourite wordsmith, could appear, dressed in white tie and tails, to give a solo performance set to the mundane syncopation of Debussy’s Danse profane. 
          One might fantasize about Jean Charest, in blackface, plucking on a banjo and singing to the memory of a former Federal Tory existence, Poor Old Joe comes to mind. The more one thinks about it, the more surprising it is that no-one has ever written such a musical comedy; where else could an author find such an inexhaustible supply of useful material? Think of all the job creation possibilities for dramatists, choreographers, set designers and songwriters. Cheaper than art subsidies too.  
          A musical comedy provides vast potential for creating dance numbers. One can very easily envisage the Ministerial Merengue, although Ministers, especially at press conferences, seem more suited to the Quickstep. We could have the Liberal Lambada and the Pequiste Polka or the PQ Quadrille. The name Quadrille comes to us via the Latin for Square via the Spanish Quadrilla, a word which, used as an adjective in its more modern sense, describes many of our political masters. The Quadrille’s main figures Le Pantalon, L’Été, La Poule (aux oeufs d’or perhaps?) and La Pastourelle offer much food for the imagination and present boundless possibilities. Who would not give a portion of the little money remaining in his or her pay-packet to see the unlamented Jean Rochon make a farewell appearance. Visualise him, dressed in a white ruffled blouse and brightly coloured satin trousers, a fleur de lys clenched tightly between his teeth, dancing the tango sinuously with his successor Pauline Marois, clad in a full body stocking; while a procession of stumbling untreated invalids troop listlessly in the background. A suitable ending to the second act. 
          The third act could open with Jacques Brassard doing a solo dance, perhaps a Two Step; one step forward and one step back! The next scene could have Joseph Facal dancing the Fandango while Louise Beaudoin dances Beethoven’s Bolero à solo; perpetually stuck in reverse! Then our beloved Deputy Premier Bernard Landry could dance a Mexican Hat dance with a Mexican-Canadian Chambermaid. If this was thought too strenuous, a Slow Waltz with an Old Age pensioner of federalist pretensions might prove appropriate. The next scene, showcasing the Minister for Electoral Reform, Guy Chevrette, could perhaps not take place until a referendum had been held to determine which kind of dance he would perform. A solo Czardas (in duple time) or a cultural Danse macabre 
          All sorts of subliminal messages could be delivered during these dances, e.g. a political gaffe could be represented by one of the dancers tripping over the outstretched foot of his or her partner. The possibilities appear endless.  
          The Grand Finale of our musical comedy could incorporate the entire cast of the Assembly with unoccupied members watching eagerly as the entire government dances the slow movement of the Cabinet Shuffle. The winners strut gleefully to centre stage. The losers, heads sunk between their shoulders, glide slowly into the oblivion of the wings. The curtain falls gently to the self-congratulatory plaudits of the entire ensemble on stage, and the audience rises; relieved at last.  
          One old Roman thought that sober men must be mad to dance at all. Indeed, how fortunate we are that most of our politicians are so perfectly suited to the Terpsichorean art.   
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