My first true memory of television, and by this I mean the first televised TV image etched in my memory, even before that of Bobino, is the image of President John F. Kennedy’s funeral. I clearly remember sitting on the living room rug in front of the TV in our little bungalow in Candiac. I was only five years old, but I understood that something major had happened. In 1966, my father had just been appointed regional sales manager for an American company and we had moved to Toronto. I remember hearing the news of Robert Kennedy’s assassination when I was sitting in class in a French Catholic school. In 1969, less than a year after Kennedy and Martin Luther King had died, my father was promoted to the position of general sales manager at the parent company in Iowa in the heart of the American Midwest. So we had close-up knowledge of the effects of the war in Vietnam on the one hand, and of the patriotic fervor of the American people when Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon, on the other.
The American dream is, to a certain extent, our dream, but even more, it’s the dream of English Canada. Success in Canada is measured according to American standards. I was brought up in the culture of the automobile, in the era of big American cars, Japanese imports being rare at that time; as a teenager, you were somebody if you were driving a Plymouth Duster, a Dodge Charger, a Chevy Nova or, in my case, a Chevelle Malibu SS1967.
I also grew up with John Wayne and Steve McQueen films, the former the all-round hero, the latter the anti-establishment rebel: two icons of American culture that couldn’t help but influence my vision of the world. But two wars in Iraq and a visit to Afghanistan with the Canadian forces to shoot a film for the National Film Board made me a happy cynic with respect to the motivations of our neighbors to the south.
The Americanization of our political and social institutions over the past several years is at the heart of americandream.ca. All of the characters face hardships that result, directly or indirectly, from current Canadian policies. Whether it’s compressions in the federal government, the deployment of Canadian troops for reasons that are less than crystal clear, the education system, or medical services, Canadian society has changed. Americandream.ca is the story of Canada told from the point of view of an author who has spent his entire life between Quebec, Canada, and the American dream.
THÉÂTRE GLENDON, TORONTO
ZONES THÉÂtrales, Ottawa