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Evangeline tells an ignored part of Canadian history

Culture

Evangeline tells an ignored part of Canadian history

The play draws on the history of Acadian people in Canada.

The Citadel Theatre is currently featuring the epic drama Evangeline, described on the theatre’s website as a tale of “star-crossed lovers…who were torn apart on their wedding day during the British expulsion of the Acadians from Atlantic Canada in 1755.”

Written and composed by Ted Dykstra, the play features entrancing vocal performances, dancing, and a beautiful love story filled with adventure and yearning. Based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie,” the musical explores the expulsion of the Acadians and brings light to the sorrowful part of Canadian history.

The Globe and Mail has compared the Canadian project to Les Miserables, due to its themes, drama and musical styling. The play had its premier in 2013 and the Citadel Theatre was approached for further development.

Actress Josée Boudreau plays Evangeline, a young woman who spends four years searching for her lost husband. “I’m full-blooded Acadian, so I grew up listening to stories about my ancestors and, personally, I have a lot invested in this character,” says Boudreau.

“It’s part of our Canadian history . . . and affected the demographic of Canada itself, and as young Canadians I think it’s important for us to know where we come from . . . and the events that created the Canada we know today,” says Boudreau.

Evangeline truly does tell a part of Canadian history that is known to relatively few people. It’s a beautiful piece that could easily become a classic.

“It’s really sexy . . . and [the audience] will see a lot of energy on stage, with a lot of hot people in the cast,” says Bob Baker, Citadel artistic director, and director of Evangeline. His reasoning is sound, but along with the highly attractive cast, audiences will learn about an important part of Canadian history and see a love story for all ages.

The love story of Gabriel and Evangeline is a heroic example of love conquering even the greatest of separations. The all-star Canadian cast excels in the ambitious musical, a piece worth watching. Evangeline plays at the Citadel until Nov. 22.

Photo supplied.