Glendon’s Francophone Week presents a tapestry of special events

Glendon celebrated Francophone Week from March 21 to 24 with a program rich in cultural events. Each was designed to underline the importance of French culture and language on the Glendon campus. Louise Lewin, associate principal student services for Glendon campus, officially launched the series of musical, theatrical, cinematic and culinary selections which offered something for everyone.

To open the week, French-Canadian folk singer Pierre Sabourin from Alberta, and Polly-Esther, a female francophone duo from Saskatoon, entertained the standing-room-only crowd in the dining hall on Monday. 

Left: High-school students from College Avenue Secondary School in Woodstock, Ont., visited Glendon and took part in the Francophone Week celebrations

Members of the Glendon community were joined by special visitors, including over a dozen high-school students from College Avenue Secondary School in Woodstock, Ont. They were invited by Glendon’s Recruitment & Liaison team to experience the warm and friendly reality of bilingual living on the Glendon campus. “I want my students to experience French as a living, everyday language outside the classroom and Glendon is the best choice for this within the Toronto area,” said their teacher, Marie Leduc.

Other activities included Tuesday’s screening of Les acadiens de l’ile, chronique d’une renaissance, a documentary film about the cultural renaissance of the Acadians. The film’s director, Anne-Marie Rocher was in attendance. The film follows the process of rediscovery of the French language in a small Prince Edward Island community (population 6,000) that had lost many of its schools and witnessed the anglicization of an entire generation. An open discussion followed the screening, hosted by Amal Maddibo, professor of Canadian multiculturalism and ethnicity. Other dignitaries in attendance included Ontario Supreme Court Judge Paul Rouleau, Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts and Professor Yves Frenette, Chair of Glendon’s Multidisciplinary Studies Department.

Theatre Glendon was the site of a colourful Molière pageant during Tuesday’s lunch hour. The pageant displayed 17th-century characters in beautiful costumes and masks. This was a teaser, a preview inviting “the good folk” to attend the full one-act performance of Molière’s Sganarelle, or the Imaginary Cuckold, which was presented in Theatre Glendon for the duration of Francophone Week.

Right: Martine Rheault, director of Glendon’s Cultural and Artistic Affairs, with a platter of strawberries next to the chocolate dessert fountain

On Thursday a grand lunch, “The Gourmet Buffet of the Francophonie”, featured a menu reflecting the various francophone cultures of the world. The buffet offered dishes from Europe, North Africa and North America. The highlight was a chocolate dessert fountain, which bubbled throughout the lunch. Guests dipped fresh strawberries and pineapple chunks into the molten chocolate.

Throughout the week, Theatre Glendon presented the play titled, Sganarelle,  or the Imaginary Cuckold. Presented by the students of the Drama Studies program, the production impressed audiences throughout the week. Written by Molière in 1660, and directed by Guillaume Bernardi, a professor of drama at Glendon, the play explored the humour and the pathos of misunderstandings between the sexes.

The staging of the play was unique. After entering the theatre, the audience was greeted by a wandering minstrel and invited to sit on benches in the ‘town square’. The immense and finely detailed set, complete with stone-paved ground, transported both actors and audience to Molière’s time and location, surrounding them with realistic buildings and homes of the period. Of special interest were the costumes and masks, creating a rich tapestry of the period.

Left: A scene from Molière’s Sganarelle

Throughout the play, the actors’ impeccable comic timing and rapport led to great bursts of laughter and applause from the audience. The acting was often accentuated by live music provided by members of the Glendon Musical Ensemble under the direction of Paulo Bittencourt, adding to the authenticity of the experience.

Everyone involved, including Bernardi, the student actors, the musicians and the technical team, received a great deal of well-merited praise for their production, which required a high level of organization and cultural know-how.

This article was submitted to YFile by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny.