Theatre: Verdict showcases the justice that shaped Quebec


Lawyers are often portrayed negatively, but the play Verdict will perhaps make it possible to change perceptions by presenting major arguments in four cases that have marked Quebec.

“The show gives a better appreciation of the work of lawyers, explains in a telephone interview the actor Paul Doucet who interprets two of them. When you tell yourself that it’s partly the work of a lawyer that will lead to the legalization of abortion, when you see that their work can change a law, it’s quite fascinating. »

He is referring here to the 1973 case when physician Henry Morgentaler was accused of performing illegal abortions. Part of Mr.e Claude-Armand Sheppard is thus presented at the Gesù, in Montreal, as well as on tour in several theaters in the province.

It is Marie-Thérèse Fortin who will deliver this speech, she who shares the stage with Paul Doucet.

“I respect her a lot, explains the latter who had never played with her. I really wanted to get on the boards in his company. When I was offered the role and found out she was on an adventure, I couldn’t say no. »

The actress will also slip into the skin of the controversial Anne-France Goldwater. In this case dating from 2001, she pleaded in favor of the recognition of the right to marriage for persons of the same sex.

Joyce Echaquan

One of the most moving moments of the show according to Paul Doucet is the speech of Me Jean-François Arteau, who represented the Council of the Attikamek Nation in June 2021, as part of the coroner’s public inquiry into Joyce’s death. Echaquan.

« Just like the one on Morgentaler which came back into the news with the debates on abortion in the United States, this cause is very much of our time », notes the comedian.

True to the original

All the texts of this proposal are the verbatim of the speeches actually delivered. Some passages have been cut to make them shorter, but nothing else has been changed. The words spoken on stage are word for word what was said.

“We validated everything with the lawyers as if they had copyright, assures Paul Doucet. They are aware of the play. They have been consulted. »

The public gets involved

An intermission divides the show in two. After the first three pleadings, the second part consists of a clash between the crown and the defense in June 2008 in the case of Basil Parasiris, accused of the premeditated murder of a policeman.

What is interesting for the public in this part is that they will be called upon to give their verdict by a show of hands after having heard both points of view. “We tested it and it really works,” says Paul Doucet. People are inside, they listen and they talk to each other afterwards, just before deciding.

For each table, there is an explanation before each argument to provide context and after to detail the impact it had on this case. This work by Nathalie Roy and Yves Thériault therefore certainly has educational value. And according to Paul Doucet, a sequel to this show with other causes is even in the cards.

Verdict is presented until October 20, as well as from November 9 to 12 at the Gesù. And on tour in Quebec, Gatineau, Sherbrooke and many other cities in Quebec.


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