'HOSANNA': Theatre Review Written by Kristen Nadal
Michel Tremblay’s Hosanna details the deeply complicated and rather comical relationship of Hosanna, a transsexual drag queen obsessed by Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra, and Cuirette, a fiery middle-aged biker, both residents of Montréal, Quebec. Upon first glance it would seem that this play would only shock its viewers with its colourful language, graphic sexual content, and long moments watching a man perform in nothing but black lace lingerie. However, at its root, Hosanna sheds light on many crucial issues affecting and facing members of the LGBT community today, including gender and sexual identity, homophobia, self-acceptance, and the fear of growing old.
The location of the show, the Palace Theatre, and specifically Procunier Hall, is a small, intimate space that allows the audience to really connect with the players due to the sheer proximity. It was great fun watching those in the first few rows be humorously engaged and teased by the actor playing Hosanna. However, due to the small space and the large amount of people packed into the room, there was a great deal of neck-craning to see past those directly in front. You would do well to arrive a bit earlier in order to ensure a seat in the first few rows.
Two of the three directors of this play, Donald D’Haene and Dave Semple, play as Hosanna and Cuirette, respectively. Their chemistry is palpable as they bicker and flirt (but mostly bicker!) for the entirety of the play, giving the audience great insight into the outside forces that oppose homosexual relationships, as well as the inside doubts and fears of each half of the couple. Hosanna (D’Haene) especially shines with her grandiose monologues, gestures, and overall brazenness, really taking Cuirette (Semple) for a loop with her taunting. For his part, Cuirette, despite his macho biker exterior, also manages to have a certain sensitivity and softness about him, particularly because of his love for Hosanna, showing that first impressions are not always as they seem. Semple himself does a magnificent impression of a French Canadian accent, albeit a few mispronunciations. D’Haene’s energy and enthusiasm does lead him to trip over his wor