BEST LAID PLANS: Holly Gauthier-Frankel

Oh Montreal, city of my heart, you are an ephemeral thing. 

Born and raised in you, odd, bohemian, Québécois hamlet, I’ve absorbed so many of your different facets. I learned how to understand the violent histories that run through you, and through so many cultural stories in terrible and beautiful ways. I learned how to make pain into art that might mean something to someone in you. I took in your music and literature; I saw your choreographies and paintings; I danced in laughing back alleys and listened to people drinking, smoking and riffing. Watched several solitudes divide and merge and divide over and over again and, being made up of some solitudes myself, learned how to navigate the catharsis in making my own weird magic. I absorbed the Fringe Festival into my blood, my theatre birthplace, and we made joyful madness together. But the moments that now mean the most to me seem to be when I can share what I know with new generations of wild-eyed conspirators, ones with more energy or fire than I might have, ones with innovative ways to bring theatre into the spotlight for reasons other than ignorance or lack of funding or mediocrity or fear. I see them, the dangerous dreamers, the ones who keep loving and creating and performing on knife-edges, in quirky apartments, with dear soul-friends, with companies that struggle to stay afloat, with companies that may or may not understand or want or need us but who hire us anyway or not, with audiences that we always love and sometimes must goad into changing so that we can evolve and become even more ourselves, together. Montreal. Québec. You’re still a place for visionaries and dreamers; let us keep weaving new worlds from you, and let us ultimately hear the stories of voices who were here before the beginning you think you know. They can show us how to dream, united. Thank you for always letting me boldly share my heart with you.

-Holly Gauthier-Frankel