Musical aims to use humor to tell history of Acadia

Pierre Sirois will play Donald Trump in a skit featured as part of “The Story of Nu-Z’Autres,” being performed this summer at Grey Rock Casino in Edmundston, New Brunswick.
(Don Eno | SJVT/FhF)

EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick — The cast of “The Story of Nu-Z’Autres” [The Story of Us] offered visitors a small preview on June 29 of this year’s Acadia of the Lands and Forests cultural event at the Grey Rock Casino stage.

The summer song and dance show, a production of Etienne Deschenes and his wife Sylvie Cyr, is in its 16th year and its second consecutive stint at Grey Rock. In past years the show has traveled to France, Montreal and Quebec City.

Cyr said the long running show, which highlights the history and culture of the region, was among the reasons organizers selected it for the 2014 World Acadian Congress.

The show takes a musical and humorous look at Acadian history, which this year is especially important to organizers due to controversy surrounding the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation TV documentary series “Canada: The Story of Us.”

Some have criticized the program for minimizing the role Acadian settlers and First Nations people played in the country’s history.

This year’s performance will include an “historical correction” from Tante Blanche Thibodeau, a well-known Acadian figure from the St, John Valley, according to Hugues Chiasson, president of the Acadia Promotion Committee of Lands and Forests.

The cast of 15, many of whom are teenagers, have been practicing for the past couple of months and are just now taking to the Grey Rock stage, to put the finishing touches of lighting and sound.

“It’s nice to bring light to the local history,” said Pierre Sirois, one of the cast members.

Sirois, originally from St. Leonard, New Brunswick, has been performing in the annual show since 2012. The 20 year old recently completed a music program in Ontario and said he is looking forward to being in the show again.

Although singing and songwriting is his main interest, Sirois, like all the cast members also will be called upon to dance and act.

“I’m not much of a dancer,” Sirois said with a chuckle. “But, they want us to try new things and push ourselves.”

Cyr said the show will encapsulate the region’s history, from 1604 to the present day. Making appearances in this year’s production will be figures from Canadian politics, as well as Al Capone (who is rumored to have visited the area during Prohibition) and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Ticket reservations may be made by calling 506-739-0919. Tickets also may be purchased at the box office.  The cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children.  The show runs from July 12 through Aug. 6, with shows at 7:30 p.m. (Atlantic Canada time) Wednesday through Sunday at the Grey Rock Casino, located within the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation.

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