Director’s Note: Michel & Ti-Jean

Oct 06, 2011

I am proud to start the season with Michel & Ti-Jean by George Rideout. This will be my first play of George’s at Theatre Network but it will actually be the third play of his that I have directed. George was one of my Drama Professors at Bishop’s University – where I first discovered the world of theatre. George is a playwright and a director and his wife Jo-Jo an acting/voice teacher. Both of them are still teaching and guiding young undergraduates at Bishop’s University.
To say that they had an influence on me would be an understatement. They shared their lives with us and I learned as much from them inside the classroom and rehearsal hall as I did outside of those structures, watching them raise a family. Together they showed us truth, commitment and honesty in the craft of theatre and in life. Their generosity to all of us students is still with me today.
When I went out into the world, one of my first plays as a director was George’s play Texas Boy at the Vancouver Fringe. (It has perhaps the best “kissing in the snow” monologue ever written.) It is based on George’s true life – as a teenager his own Father moved from the United States to teach in Thunder Bay so George would be safe from the draft when he came of age. Texas Boy is an examination of the differences between Canadians and Americans, but more importantly, it is about your first love. It is this combination of searching for truth and the opening of one’s heart in George’s writing that moves me.
Years later, my first play at the University of Alberta for my MFA in Directing was George’s Walking on the Moon about the struggles of three young men and how we treated mental health in the seventies.
It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you George Rideout and his new play Michel & Ti-Jean – where two literary greats meet in a bar in 1969, and where two writers share the stage and their hearts about writing and life.