Out of the spotlight | Marie Eykel combines her life in the present

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The moment of a conversation about their career, the passage of time and the world around them, Press catches news of personalities loved by Quebecers, who now live further from the spotlight.

Posted at 7:00 pm

Sunday afternoon

Sunday afternoon
Press

It is confirmed: meeting Marie Eykel, listening to her voice, triggers a cascade of sweet memories, those of a time when we came home from abroad with frozen feet, just in time to It goes everywhere. Her opens its doors to us with all the warmth, all the liveliness that we have been imagining for more than 30 years.

“The last four years have been pretty rock’n’roll. I thought I was immortal, I faced my fragility, ”says the 73-year-old actress, in the living room of her bright condominium, a few steps from Jarry Park. Four years of rock and roll? After going through breast cancer (which was quickly contained in 2018), Marie Eykel had both her knees and one hip replaced. Two and a half years ago, half of her face would sag, without warning, within an hour. Diagnosis: Bell’s palsy, a sudden illness from which she has few apparent sequelae.

But I think I am blessed by the gods: I have good mental health. My mother was happy, optimistic, laughing. Maybe I got that from her. But certainly not from my father, for whom everything always went wrong.

mary eykel

She backs off. “Actually, she may have come from my father!” I hated her bad mood so much that I said to myself, “I’ll never be like this.” »

fun with mary

Marie Eykel begins her life as an artist when cultural Quebec is experiencing “glorious years”, where there are still many things to build and, therefore, to dream of. She participated in Paul Buissonneau’s La Roulotte theater and co-founded the Groupe de la Veillée in 1974 with other young actors, including Gabriel Arcand and Julien Poulin. What kind of shows did the company present? She smiles. “It was some bare material, very bare, with water, with hay. “Experimental theater, what.


PHOTO COURTESY BY ALLIANCE ATLANTIS VIVAFILM

Marie Eykel (Passe-Partout) and Jacques L’Heureux (Passe-Montagne)

Which probably partly explains why the beatlesque success of It goes everywhere It shook her up to this point: one doesn’t study Grotowski (an influential Polish director) dreaming of being mugged one day by strangers on the sidewalk. “It bothered me that I couldn’t go anywhere without being arrested,” he recalls, hastening to point out that having been able to make a living from his art is an incredible opportunity, and that these intrusions were never children’s things, but their parents’ . During our hour of conversation, his words will be constantly interwoven with deep appreciation and sheer candor. “I had the impression that I had become a public good, that one could seize me. »


PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

The original team of It goes everywhere : Marie Eykel, Jacques L’Heureux and Claire Pimparé, in November 2006

She was hoping, after saying goodbye to her chicks, to resume her career in theater, which Robert Lepage will allow her (briefly). In 1998, Marie Eykel replaced Marie Brassard for three months in the seven hours of the play-river. The seven branches of the Ōta RiverAustralia and New Zealand.

“I knew that Robert was in Paris, so I went to France, but when I got there he had already left, I think he was putting on an opera in Stockholm. But I spent the week with the gang of seven branches, I went to see the show every day, I went out with them afterwards. when mary [Brassard] had to be replaced, they all said, “Heille, we had fun with the other Marie.” »

At the end of the line, Robert Lepage speaks of Marie Eykel as a “well kept secret”. “It was a lot of fun working with her, because I had never seen her play anything other than It goes everywhereand could not express It goes everywhere all its acting nuances. So I think it was liberating for her to get into a gang that works a lot with improvisation. We discover a whole tragic side in her. As an actress and as a human being, Marie has many colors. »

“I have my share of responsibility,” says the main stakeholder about his absence from the stages and screens. Could she have struggled more to find roles? Sure, she admits it. Tired of waiting for the phone to ring, she went back to school benches in the early 2000s (in Concordia) and became an art therapist, a trade she pursued in particular with poor women’s groups in Hochelaga.

But I also think there’s an element of laziness from the directors, the producers, and not just me. We get used to seeing Claude Legault play these types of characters, so we only think of him for these types of characters. He is very compartmentalized.

mary eykel

not flat

At Marie Eykel’s Coffee Table: A Novel by Emmelie Prophet. What are you listening to these days? Klo Pelgag. Her face lights up.

I am so in love with Klô. She is charming, lovable, radiant, invigorating. I would like to bite it. She is like a summer cherry.

Marie Eykel, on Klo Pelgag

Taking an interest in the world around her seems as natural to her as taking a breath, although she is visibly aware of the risk that those who have the luxury of growing old have of unlearning to question themselves. During the most recent municipal elections, she offered her support to Laurence Lavigne Lalonde (now mayor of the municipality of Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension), then to Valérie Plante.

The former Plateau resident “hated Luc Ferrandez a lot,” she says, bursting out laughing. “But little by little I got used to the idea that there are things that have to change, that we cannot continue using our tanks as before. I walked. »

What does she think of the fate that our society reserves for the elderly? “I don’t know if there is a reason to say that, but I find that the faudrait d’abord que les vieux se prennent en main, qu’ils arrêtent de se laisser organiser par les autres, de vivre dans le déni de death. Say what you want and what you don’t want, prepare for your old age before you can’t anymore. »

Kayaking, swimming, cross-country skiing, his outings to the theater and his young friends oxygenate his day to day, he rejoices. “I feel very lucky that people from other generations want to be my friends. There are long stretches where we no longer remember our age difference. We talk about politics, literature, we’re just humans meeting. Being flat has no age, anyway. ” That’s right ! And I, the people I want to meet, are not flat! »

If he refuses to utter the word retirement, he plays a supporting role in Guillaume Lambert’s next film, Niagara – Marie Eykel only says yes to proposals that she really loves. The team oflive from the universe called her in recent years to offer the gift of her presence to two “non-flat” representatives of the generation It goes everywhere : Yannick View-Séguin and Farah Alibay.

“What a wonderful meaning it gives my life to have been able to sow little seeds in the hearts of so many people who are now generous and wonderful adults! One of the key phrases It goes everywhere, was: “I am capable”. And today we see it: you young people do not wait for things to happen to you thinking that everything is due to you. You organize yourself to succeed. You are dazzling. You are able ”

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