At Université de Montréal’s faculty of law, it’s no holds barred. You start your first semester, and there is not a minute to lose: if you want a good job when you graduate, you need a good articling position, and if you want a good articling position, you need a good average in your bachelor’s degree, and if you want a good average in your bachelor’s degree, you need to bust heads. Because in this world, nice guys finish last.
Being nice means foundering in mediocrity, and you don’t do mediocrity, you trample on mediocrity. You are here to be king of the castle, and the start of classes means the start of the carnage.
Depicting the merciless world of law studies, Royal, Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard’s second novel, won the Prix littéraire des collégiens en 2018. The author, known for describing toxic settings with searing cynicism, offers a trenchant dissection of the absurd sense of natural superiority among the dominant classes. After the resounding success of the theatrical version of Manuel de la vie sauvage (2021), Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard resumes his rewarding collaboration with our artistic co-director Jean-Simon Traversy, this time sharing directorial duties with choreographer Virginie Brunelle. A cast of young theatre school graduates offer spirited portrayals in this caustic portrait of obsession with performance, revolving around a seductively despicable anti-hero, an uninhibited narcissist. Royal upends some of the codes of theatrical performance, so be advised.
“What draws us into Royal is the desire to be better than others, when ambition becomes an obsession. We wanted to create a fast-paced, high-energy show. In addition to the script, we wanted to set bodies in a physical score, where endurance tips over into exhaustion” — Virginie Brunelle, choreographer, and Jean-Simon Traversy, who co-directed Royal