INTERVIEW: Hippolyte portrays The Vigorous Character of The Librarian

Multidisciplinary artist Hippolyte plays the role of lively and comical librarian with brio, inspiring both the desire to laugh and the desire to read. We interviewed Hippolyte about reading, books and the show.

What is “The Librarian’’ about ?
The piece features one character named Paul-Émile Dumoulin, a serious, proud but sometimes very clumsy man who has been working as a librarian for 25 years. His daily routine is to keep the shelves in an impeccable order and make sure the library stays clean. But beware! When this librarian stumbles upon a captivating book, he starts reading excerpts and dives deeply into the story. The thrill of the adventures makes him perform acrobatics, juggle, breakdance and beatbox. ‘The Librarian’ is a funny and tender circus show that pictures the act of reading as an emancipation of our imagination. More importantly, it aims to share the joy of reading with young people.

“‘The Librarian’ is a funny and tender circus show that pictures the act of reading as an emancipation of our imagination.”

What is the history behind the piece ?
Acknowledging that reading helps young people to improve language skills and stimulate their imagination. Reading has always been a stimulating and accessible activity for stage director Marie-Hélène D’Amours. Since I’m also a big reader, we teamed up to create this piece, which could be considered as a tribute to books. Trained in both circus and drama schools, D’Amours and I combined her clown expertise with my acrobatic skills, which gave birth to the creative, funny and energetic character of the librarian.

Where does the name of the company originate?
When stage director Marie-Hélène D’Amours was studying at Quebec City Circus School, many teachers noticed that she could not point one of her big toes. She did her best to work on it but this toe was that rebellious! She still successfully graduated but she did not forget this specific physical characteristic of hers. A few years later, she decided to name her circus company for young audiences Le Gros Orteil (The Big Toe), as a funny reminder of her school years.

“Books are our most important heritage: they are the best way to share stories, philosophy, adventures:”

How do you feel about the current state of reading and books, especially when it comes to young people and children?
Today, many people use electronic devices to read. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that, but I am one of these folks who think that paper books can not be replaced. The feeling of turning a page, the odor of the paper, using a bookmark… Books are our most important heritage: they are the best way to share stories, philosophy, adventures… Everything is possible when you open a book! In 2020, young people tend to spend a lot of time (maybe too much) in front of a screen. I think we must at least initiate them at a young age to the pleasure of reading and later encourage them to borrow or buy books. It is the best way to travel in our minds!

Which book would you like to turn in reality and why ?
Definitely “The Prophet”, written by Khalil Gibran. It is about a men who shares his knowledge of happiness, love, passion, friendships, religion, beauty, death, reason, sadness, liberty… well of life in general! I would love to see the world exactly like it is described in Gibran’s book.