Shakespeare wrestling-drama version | The Journal of Montreal

Inside Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels mainly on the run, his office in his backpack, on the lookout for fascinating subjects and people. He speaks to everyone and is interested in all walks of life in this urban chronicle.

Talent scouts for professional wrestling should consider recruiting from theater conservatories.

It is often said that wrestlers must know how to play. Some even take drama classes.

Well, the Royalmania wrestling-theatre festival shows us that it can also be the opposite.

Young trained actors can learn wrestling passes and grips…and then they look like they’ve been doing it all their lives!

“I had the idea of ​​adapting the story of the Trojan War [pour créer Agamemnon in the ring] in professional wrestling format after an experience that opened my eyes to the similarities between Greek tragedy and televised wrestling”, explains Hilaire St-Laurent, the author of the play which he rewrote in alexandrines-joual , punctuated with rock opera numbers for the event.

To finance an internship in France, her class at the National Theater School of Canada had the idea of ​​holding a wrestling gala… which sold a lot of tickets!

It was then that Hilaire St-Laurent had his epiphany.

“In tragedy there is a chorus, in wrestling there are commentators, and in both cases the characters deliver monologues addressing the crowd. »

Ancient performances would not have thrilled the masses if they had been performed cleanly and soberly.

“I think the dramatic performances of the time were carnivalesque and had something of the show rock with dancing and singing… a bit like we do there! »


The character of Dick, the wrestling version of Shakespeare's King Richard III, treacherously attacks his brother from behind to climb to the throne.

Photo Arach’Pictures

The character of Dick, the wrestling version of Shakespeare’s King Richard III, treacherously attacks his brother from behind to climb to the throne.

The director of another play I attended, Dick the Turd (comic popularization of Richard IIIShakespeare’s drama), Élisabeth Coulon-Lafleur, also speaks of a return to a vital energy often evacuated from normal theatre.

“Often, in the theatre, you are forced to remain very calm and perfectly silent, which can sometimes be a bit boring, but with wrestling-theatre, it’s liberation, the audience is jubilant, howls, laughs, shouts… . and our actors have the satisfaction of answering them! ” she says.

“The partition that separates the actors from the spectators is abolished. »

My experience of the theater is not infinite, but I have never seen such a ruckus during plays!


Photo Arach’Pictures

The “struggled” versions of the classics are distinguished by their high level of intensity and decibels

It’s an intense marathon.

These two-hour fights are killing the actors, all covered in sweat, but they are doing very well!

Young women sitting behind me duringAgamemnon in the ring almost burst my eardrums.

Have I ever yelled myself? Obviously !

The concern to respect the plot and the elements of the Homeric story in this “struggle” version prompted Hilaire St-Laurent to include, in particular, the sacrifice of Iphigenia and the blow of the Trojan horse which, jokingly , becomes “Troy-Rivière”.

His Agamemnon borrows expressions from René Lévesque. (The trap into which the king falls on his return from war refers to the “Night of the Long Knives” of November 1981…)

“Richard III by Shakespeare is a villainous character as we like to hate in wrestling… and that’s what we made of him”, says Élisabeth Coulon-Lafleur.

►The Royalmania wrestling-theatre festival continues at the Aux Écuries theater until September 24.

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