Five women, five times in Albertine

By Alicia Ward

Five women sit on a stage and talk about their lives — except the five women on stage are all the same woman, depicted at different stages in her life. Michel Tremblay’s Albertine, In Five Times asks the audience a lot of questions. What would I have told myself 10 years ago — to let go of a grudge and love those around me, or to forget those who cause new trouble?

The idea of playing a multitiude of different roles in one life haunts the entire play, and is something that everyone relates to.

This production is entirely done by University of Calgary students, including Master of Fine Arts student Valmai Goggin who is directing Albertine, In Five Times for her MFA thesis. With the support of the drama department behind her, she remarks that putting the show together has been a pleasure.

“It’s been an incredible learning experience,” Goggin says. “I hope [the actors] get out of it as much as I get from them because, as a director, every experience is a learning experience.”

Goggin also hopes that the audience is able to enjoy Albertine without having to worry about a second agenda or an underlying message that needs to be interpreted.

“You’re looking to wake something up in the audience . . .
to speak to them in a way that they maybe haven’t been spoken to before,” Goggin laughs. “The play doesn’t preach anything, it’s not political . . . it’s just this really beautiful and haunting play.”

No one should worry about watching a play where only women sit and talk. Between Michel Tremblay’s powerful writing, the commanding actors and captivating set, audiences cannot help but be swept away into the story of Albertine.

“I was drawn to the script first by the, sort of, concept of memory and this idea that we could interact with other versions of ourselves,” Goggin says. “It was a bonus that it offered all these great roles for women.”

Goggin admits that this isn’t a professional production so there have been some drawbacks, but, as with many of life’s grievances, challenges can be gifts in disguise.

“One great thing I think that actually has been a challenge but it’s been a gift is because we’re in a university setting, obviously we’re working with university actors who are all about, I think all my actors are between 20 and 30 years of age. What’s noticeably different about this than, say, a professional production, is we have actors playing way out of their age range,” she notes. “As an actor, what a great challenge to play a different gender or to play a different age. That would set us apart, I would say.”

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