Boudreau’s Acadian past helps her connect with role in story about the Explusion

By Madison Blanchard

Oct. 9, 2015

Josee Boudreau knew when she heard the Charlottetown Festival was putting on a play about the Acadian Expulsion she had to be involved.

“I felt it was a story worth telling.”

She tried out for Evangeline in 2013 and received a part in the ensemble cast. But when she tried out again in 2015 she was cast as the lead, Evangeline Bellefontaine, a dream for her.

“I felt it was time for Acadians to share their story instead of celebrating within their own communities and keep it to themselves.”

Boudreau is of Acadian descent, which helps her during the three-hour long emotional production, she said. She rarely speaks to anyone during the day before the show, so her emotions are always honest.

“The story touches me very deeply because of my background and what I’ve been through and so I try to put myself in her shoes.”

The musical Evangeline was inspired by Longfellow’s poem of the same name. it tells the story of Evangeline and her love, Gabriel. They are separated on their wedding day by the Acadian Expulsion carried out by the British. The play traces the fate of each one as they try to find each other. It’s set against the backdrop of pre Revolutionary America.

It’s a show filled both with history that may not be well known to English Canadians. Big questions both about the role of religion and violence, has the audience talking when they leave.

Helen Arsenault Begeron saw the musical Oct. 2.

“Intense, emotional, it, it was amazing.”

Begeron is Acadian. She has grown up with the story, but the play has been affecting those who are not as familiar with the story as well.

Hannah Gibson was aware the event, but not the details, before she saw the play.

“I think I was aware of it, sort of. I’d heard of it, but didn’t know to what extent it was, like exactly how families were ripped apart and the great distances they were sent.”

Gibson was disturbed something like that happened in the Maritimes

“You hear about it happening to other ethnicities. But there’s a bit of distance…..with the Acadians, they lived where we’re living now. It brings it home more.”

Gibson first saw the musical in 2013. She saw it again on Oct.3.

“I really enjoyed it then, but I liked it even more this time.”