Q&A: Belleville

Christine Horne on her role in The Company Theatre's latest production with Canadian Stage

Presented by The Company Theatre in association wtih Canadian Stage
Written by Amy Herzog
Directed by Jason Byrne

Christine Horne and Allan Hawco in Belleville. Photo by Gunter Kravis.

Set in the trendy Paris neighbourhood of Belleville, Amy Herzog's play tells the story of an American couple, Zack and Abby, whose marriage is not all that it appears to be. On the surface, everything looks rosy—but when Abby finds Zack at home one day instead of striving to eradicate pediatric AIDS at his job with Doctors Without Borders, their world unravels in a drama of Hitchcockian proportions. 

Directed by The Company's long-time collaborator Jason Byrne, Belleville stars The Company's co-artistic director Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle) alongside Christine Horne, Dalwar Abuzeid and Marsha Regis.

We caught up with Horne before opening to find out more about her experience working on the show.

Theatromania: What is it about Amy Herzog’s play Belleville that most stood out to you at first?

CH: The writing. I thought Herzog’s dialogue was so smart and nuanced. It was at turns funny, shocking, painful, uncomfortable, and always very real. There was a distinct naturalism to it but it still remained very specific and theatrical.

Theatromania: How would you describe The Company Theatre’s production in a few sentences?

CH: Belleville examines a marriage with a huge lie at its core. We meet Zack and Abby when they are right on the edge of their breaking point and follow them as they grapple with the fallout of their own choices.

Theatromania: Tell us about your character Abby, what motivates her and how did you prepare for this role?

CH: Abby is an American living in Paris with her husband. He is working, and she has far too much time on her hands. Her mother died a few years ago which has intensified her relationship with her father and sister back home, and also sent her spiraling into depression and anxiety. Her relationship with Zack is co- dependent and borderline toxic, but there’s still a lot of love between them. I didn’t do much to prepare before starting rehearsals, and the first couple of weeks she was living pretty close to me at my most neurotic. But she’s moving farther and farther away from my own personality as we spend more time in rehearsal, which is exciting. I’m still discovering what motivates all of her choices, and will hopefully keep on making those discoveries until we close (and maybe even beyond).

Theatromania: What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced with this particular piece?

CH: How fluid everything is, or was, particularly at the beginning of the process. I’m used to more structure and it was liberating but also terrifying to be encouraged to be bad, or boring. To make all the wrong choices, or the clichéd choices, or the obvious choices. And to know that the ones that feel like good choices won’t necessarily be the same choices I make tomorrow. There is absolutely no pressure to recreate something that worked once upon a time. It can be hard to wrap my head around it, but when I do it’s the most freeing work ever.

See Christine Horne on stage in Belleville from April 6 to May 4 at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Visit companytheatre.ca or canadianstage.com for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Sun, 2014-04-06 - Sun, 2014-05-04


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