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Few television actresses are as recognizable as Guylaine Tremblay. She has played central rolls in some of Montréwood’s most successful TV drama and comedy series, which have included La Petite vie, Omerta, Unité 9, and Les Rescapés.
I recently listened to an on-air radio interview in which Marina Orsini interviewed Guylaine Tremblay. In the interview, I think Orsini hit the nail on the head when she told Tremblay she believes Tremblay’s public appeal lies in her being someone the public can identify with – the person who could be anyone’s sister, mother, or daughter – and that it is not only reflected through her acting rolls, but how she leads her life in general.
Tremblay is the mother of adopted daughters (the theme of not carrying one’s own children is a theme which Tremblay and Ariane Moffatt discuss in detail – which I present in the next post), and lives with her husband.
I will say, one thing which caught my eye (actually quite surprisingly) was when Tremblay politicised herself (at least in the sense of giving herself a public political label in the mind of people who have followed her career). I say this because, over the course of her 30 year career, she’s someone I, and others, grew up watching in Western Canada (she is very well respected by Francophones, Francophiles, and French speaking Anglophones all across Canada) – and she was someone I always considered to be part of my own cultural sphere. She unexpectedly appeared (at least for me it was unexpected) on stage at the Parti Québécois’ “Rassemblement national” prior to last-year’s election. That doesn’t bother me in-and-of-itself (I think political engagement is important and a necessary part of our democracy – and a society must have to have opposing political views to make keep the democratic process healthy and make it work). But it has always felt like a case of “innocence lost” when actors and actresses take on a high-profile political stance (regardless of the political party or ideology) — and when they do, it always seems to feel like they jumped off the pedestal on which you purposely wanted to place them. When I saw Tremblay get on stage that night, I can distinctly remember thinking to myself “Oh man! Guylaine, of all the things you could have done, why did you have to go and choose to do ‘this thing’?”. It’s a bit disconcerting, because as the public, we tend to think that our actors and actresses belong to all of us, regardless of political stripes. In that sense, they are so often a point of commonality and unity in a world often filled with petty divisions and differences. That’s one of the beautiful things of the acting profession which should be cherished. But then some go and take that feeling away by placing themselves in a political camp – basically saying, there’s “us” and then there’s “you”. It’s just not a nice feeling.
But I suppose at the end of the day, there is still a human behind every acting role, and everyone has the right to express their political beliefs – and we should respect everyone’s right to make such choices. It’s maybe not a pleasant reality, but we live in a very real world, not in utiopia.
Regardless, she’s still an amazingly talented actor, one of the best Québec & Canada has – and all the drama series in which she appears would not have nearly the same degree of a human element without her (she is a very human person – and anytime I see her true personality in interviews, I really get the impression she could so easily have been any of the bubbly, kind, caring, and empathetic people I grew up with in Alberta, or anywhere, really – be it friends or family… that’s why I really like her).
In the next post, we’ll take a brief look at a summary of the conversation Guylaine Tremblay and Ariane Moffatt had when they met and shared a one-on-one meal on L’Autre côté à la table d’à côté.
MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES
- Ariane Moffatt – An “eavesdropping” short series: Moffatt-Tremblay – Post 1 of 3 (#150)
- Guylaine Tremblay – An “eavesdropping” short series: Moffatt-Tremblay – Post 2 of 3 (#151)
- “L’autre midi, À la table d’à côte”; Moffatt-Tremblay discussion summary post 3 of 3 (#152) (with link to the radio episode)
The snow finally let up, and you know the sun is out when the sidewalks of Montréal are invaded by… well… holiday elves and raindeer (you know, just the usual same old, same old…) 🙂 (and no… the pic is not of Marina Orsini, unless you think I look like her… which I don’t! lol 🙂 )
This post is about one of those actresses who has filled some of the best known roles in Montréwood television drama series.
Marina Orsini is currently a radio host of one of Montréal’s more popular easy-listening radio stations, Rouge FM. But she’s better known for her roles in some of the hottest, and highest rated TV drama series of the past 20 years.
One such series was Lance et compte, about a fictitious hockey team and the lives of those associated with the team. The series was aired over the course of two eras… an initial block of seasons on TQS (now Télé-Québec) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and then as a come-back series on the TVA network from 2006 to 2012. Its TV viewership rarely dipped below 1,000,000 viewers, and on occasion it would surpass 3,000,000 viewers.
Marina Orsini was also one of the main stars in the TV drama Les filles de caleb which aired on Radio-Canada in the early 1990s (as well as in France). It was about a fictional family’s rural hardships in early 20th century Québec. This program is said to have attracted one of the highest television viewer audiences of all time in Québec, surpassing 3,600,000 viewers (with only La Petite Vie, and Star Académie having garnered more viewers). In France, an average of more than 4,000,000 people followed the series.
I personally was a big fan of her other series; the Radio-Canada drama series Urgence which ran from 1995 to 1997. These were my first couple of years in university and there was a small group of us who would occasionally get together in our university dorm to watch the weekly episodes back in Edmonton. It was set in a Montréal hospital, and featured the dramatic lives of hospital staff.
Orsini also starred in many other television series of varying degrees of success.
In the “Qui êtes-vous?” family history program, she traced her family roots to Italy, the US, Ontario and Scotland. This was one of the episodes of the program which, again, debunked the false belief that Québécois and France geneology are synonymous with each other. You can’t get much more Québécois than Marina Orsini, despite her having no French roots. The episode of the program featuring Orsini was particularly touching – her mother was suffering from cancer, and just before her mother passed away, both Orsini and her mother made the on-camera trip to Italy to find their roots – one of the last major mother-daughter moments they spent together.
When Orsini was speaking to Scottish genealogists in the episode, I was surprised to notice that she didn’t have a French accent when she spoke English (she spoke with a Standard English Canadian accent). Only later did I find out that she attended high school in English in Montréal – I found that quite interesting. I’m always impressed when I see people who can effortlessly transcend the linguistic divide in this manner.