AMERICANDREAM.CA Part 1: Malaises and Part 2: Pax Americana
A comedy of manners by Claude Guilmain


AMERICANDREAM.CA Part 1: Malaises and Part 2: Pax Americana is the story of three siblings, Alain, Maude and Claude Cardinal , three baby-boomers who have gathered to celebrate Alain’s 50th birthday along with his wife Pat, and Maude’s two adult children, Brigitte and Éric.

On the morning of his 50th birthday, Alain, a high level civil servant of twenty five years, walks into his office only to realize his position has been abolished due to government cut backs. While the security guards are escorting him out, he has a momentary break down and tries to throw himself through a window. The window doesn’t break, he merely bounces off and he is left in a heap, hurt and humiliated. Meanwhile his wife Pat, in therapy for the last twelve years, has finally had a breakthrough. She has come to the realization that she is unable to love her children.

Photo: Mikaël Lavogiez Part 1: Malaises - the story

Claude has always been the buffer between his strong willed sister Maude and his tempestuous younger brother Alain. Meticulous to a fault, his well ordered life is on the brink of collapsing as he has inadvertently won a very large sum of money in the lottery. 

Maude, the eldest of the three siblings, has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. At the party, she tells her family she will be going on a European vacation instead of telling them she is going in for surgery. Her youngest daughter, Émilie, a veteran of Afghanistan, lives with the guilt of having caused the death of a young afghan girl while on patrol in the Panjw’ai province. Brigitte teaches American History at university and writes trash fiction.

Each of these six characters is living a personal tragedy that only the audience will witness through a series of monologues. But the real tragedy is that they are unable to communicate their true feelings to each other and that between them, nothing is shared but small talk and banalities. After too many years of keeping up appearances, will the masks finally come off?

The background of this story takes us to New York city in the late 1930’s where the protagonists’ grand father, Joseph Cardinal, has brought his wife and son from a small town in Québec in search of a brighter future. Joseph is a gambler and it doesn’t take long for him to accumulate debts.  And one day in 1942, he simply disappears forcing his wife and son to return in shame to Québec. Alain, Maude and Claude will have never known their grandfather and he was rarely talked about while they were growing up. He was the shame of the family and no one is really certain of when, where or even if he has died.

The eventual discovery of their grand father’s fate will have a very different affect of the paths Alain, Maude and Claude’s lives will take.

Photos: Aurélien Muller


by Claude Guilmain