Written and performed by Yvon Aucoin, “Merci D’Avoir Été Ma Mère” was a poignant and touching play depicting his mother’s extensive fight with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Directed by Martin Mercier and performed at the Theatre de L’Esquisse, the play was immersive, raw and emotional.
After his mother’s death, Aucoin felt an urge to recollect her memories and keep her alive through his writing. The play was adapted from his book by the same name, and became his way of dealing with her loss–by sharing her story and memory on the stage.
Breaking the fourth wall, Aucoin alone could impassion the crowd, bringing a powerful and engaging performance. The show revolved around Marie-Louise (the performer’s late mother) and her touching past as a school teacher, her decision to become a mother and the unfortunate disease that that took over her life. Aucoin’s talent as an eloquent and forceful speaker delivered on many levels–being both vulnerable and powerful.
The stage direction was simple, yet brilliant–involving only a small table with a picture of Marie-Louise, a birthday card, and a photo album. On the opposite end, a rocking chair and a blue blanket. The lighting would often dim and the music would intensify as the play reached its peak. The chair became alive, the mother’s presence was felt in the room and the stage came alive.
”Merci D’Avoir Été Ma Mère” is worth seeing, even if it is simply for Yvon Aucoin’s talent as a performer and writer. His daring and moving performance brought his mother to life, at least for a night, and her legacy lives on as a selfless and loving mother.