Night Cows/Les vaches de nuit is a one-woman show by Quebecois queer Indigenous self-taught artist, creator and writer, Jovette Marchessault. Her work has a deep and lyrical ancestral voice, which celebrates words through myths and an indulgence of liberating poetic language. Marchessault emerged into Quebec’s literary scene in the late 1970s, a time that was “marked by the dominance of the feminine”. Her evocative text subverts conventional modes of language and genre to carve out a space for her own sphere of action to take place, separating from the patriarchal traditions that contrived her foremothers.
Director Katey Wattam has developed a fantastical interpretation of Marchessault’s text that blurs the line between human and animal, mother and daughter, sky and earth, inviting audiences into the milky ecstasy of liberation.
It begins at dusk. A vachette describes her mother as she removes the shackles of the day and society transforming herself into a sensual, grotesque, night cow. She opens herself in two, she splits herself in four expanding into the milky way; her daughter riding her back as they go to wake the crows.
This world is inhabited by our cow, as performed by Eléonore Lamothe. Lamothe invests her whole body and soul into her journey through the milky way, bringing the audience along for this dark and enchanting ride. Wattam uses movement and music to sculpt her own universe out of Marchessault’s text, but it’s a world that reverberates far beyond the stage. Bringing together Indigenous, Anglophone, and Francophone approaches, the intercultural production reclaims queer and feminist histories and asks its audience to imagine: what do liberation and connection feel like today?
Katey Wattam...director & mask maker
Micheline Chevrier...directing mentor
Mathieu René...mask-making mentor
Jed Tomlinson...clown mentor
Myrna Wyatt-Selkirk...academic supervisor
Pablo Rodriguez...mentorship coordinator
Nikita Bala...production manager
Anna Jane McIntyre...set designer
Hannah Kirby...lighting designer
Lauren Laframboise...costume designer
Sophie Marisol...poster designer
Yuan Kelly...stage manager
Rosie Long Decter...dramaturge & musician