“The Hardings”: between guilt and responsibility

«Les Hardings»: entre culpabilité et responsabilité

“It is party first, to an obsession with the place of the scapegoat, which arrived immediately after the tragedy” of Lac-Mégantic,” says the author and stage director Alexia Bürger, accompanied in the photo by the actor Bruno Marcil.

November 23, 2019 4: 00 am


“The Hardings”: between guilt and responsibility

«Les Hardings»: entre culpabilité et responsabilité

Geneviève Bouchard

The Sun


For Alexia Bürger, the starting point of the play, “The Hardings” is rooted in a simple search on the Web. Overwhelmed by the tragedy of Lac-Mégantic and troubled by the responsibility that some wanted to make the railroader Thomas Harding after the explosion that took 47 people on July 6, 2013, the writer and director wanted to learn more about him. And she saw that it was far from being the only one to wear this name.

So he came up with the idea of bringing together on stage three Thomas Harding : the Québécois accused, and then acquitted of criminal negligence in the wake of the disaster railway in Lac-Mégantic, a researcher from new zealand who lost a daughter in an accident for which he feels responsible, and an insurer in the usa specialized in the oil companies.

“It is party first, to an obsession with the place of the scapegoat, which arrived immediately after the tragedy, recounts the author and stage director. I wasn’t all that familiar with the situation in Lac-Mégantic. I was just a spectator. I became a little obsessed by what he would have to wear it on his shoulders. Spontaneously, it is to him that we had to bear the entire responsibility for the death of 47 people. There is something in me that does not want to accept it.”

Gathered on the boards, the three Thomas will open, however, a wider discussion, says the actor Bruno Marcil, who portrays the role of a railroader.

“This is not a show only about the tragedy of Mégantic, he says. It’s about our collective tragedies and individual, it speaks of mourning, of how to learn to walk again once we wear it in daily life. And that is the beauty of this show-there. There is one side which is good because there is a call to the community both in pain and in the sensible, in the love that he has compared to all that.”

A long work of writing

The work on the part of The Hardings was not a long quiet river. In the time soon after the start, the actors Bruno Marcil, Patrice Dubois and Martin Drainville attended the discussion and contributed to the creation. The text, he took time to write. First of all, because the échafaudait as the trial of Thomas Harding followed its course.

“It was a tricky, advance, Alexia Bürger. The text has actually been a very long time to arrive for all sorts of reasons. But for me, the spectacle we presented would have been very different if he was guilty or not guilty. The verdict is in January, the show was held in April. When he was found not guilty in the criminal area, for me, there was the whole part of the show that no longer had a place to be. It was more of the order of the facts. I wanted to highlight the fact that, of course, there had been a mistake on his part, but that this was only a small part of the problem in its entirety. Once he has been found not guilty, there was already something else in the mind of the viewer.”

And if Thomas Harding had been convicted? “It would have given a show more indignant, believes the author. Me, I knew I made here that according to my analysis, non-journalistic, but still to be excavated, its percentage of responsibility was even smaller than I thought. The more you dig, the more you see the responsibilities that have not been taken by companies, by governments, etc., And by us as citizens. You have access to the information. We can see that some things are going to happen. It is just a matter of when.”

Anxious not to embrace the drama of the Méganticois, the author has in the end drawn on his own grief — and the grief of his brother — echoing the one that lived its characters.

“It expresses itself in terms of a disaster, accident, death of a loved one that we saw happen, described it. But you get used to the suffering of others, you get used to everything. So when it erupts, it is difficult to make the difference between guilt and responsibility. One said : “this is not because it is not my fault that I would not have been able to prevent it.” It is a feeling that I’ve lived in the face of the suicide of my brother. The character played by Patrice Dubois the door a lot. But there are also a lot of it in what I imagined that the railwayman had to live a hundred times each day by asking : “what is this that I would have been able to do?””

While the actors were to approach with empty hands the first date, the click happened when this side more staff is deployed, writes Bruno Marcil.

“We have participated much in the discussion with Alexia, he notes. Not so much on the writing as on the scope of this text and on the issues that we had in front of us. The deadline was coming up, there was still no text, it was said that it had to be something respectful, but that doesn’t avoid the subject. This was not our tragedy. Alexia has delivered a text in which she has put her own tragedy. And that was important. When I saw it, it was clear to me that we had a show.”

The play “The Hardings” is presented to The Lined from 28 November to 7 December.

«Les Hardings»: entre culpabilité et responsabilité

In the time soon after the start, the actors Martin Drainville, Patrice Dubois and Bruno Marcil participated in the discussion and informed the creation.




The room The Hardings niche somewhere between documentary and fiction. In her research, Alexia Bürger rumored to have exchanged several times with the lawyers of the railwaymen’s Thomas Harding. Even as she met the main party once, quite by chance, during his trial.

“For the other two, it was one of the starting points of the calls. But I have not dug out the relationship to allow me to go in the fiction,” says the writer and director, who has also nurtured its research by meeting with the citizens of Lac-Mégantic.

“They lived near the tragedy, she adds. And they have a look at the share of responsibility that belonged to him and one that belonged to a whole system.”

For his part, the actor Bruno Marcil has not wanted to meet with Thomas Harding in the preparation of his role, a job he took very seriously. “It is a complex character,” he explains. It is a support to wear which is huge. There were people of Lac-Mégantic who have lost members of their family and who came to see the show. We know that we are playing material with a very sensitive and fragile. It is much to wear. It is necessary to pay attention.”

It has been question for a moment that Mr. Harding attends the play at its premiere at the Center theatre today in 2018. He finally refrained. Back there in the next series of performances (the show is also repeated at théâtre Duceppe in January)? “If he does, I would like to know… after”, let it go, Bruno Marcil. Geneviève Bouchard

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