Spotlight on the Next Generation of Artists: Lucas Taylor
Lucas Taylor is 19 years old and a first year theatre student at the University of Ottawa. He tells us what brought him to the theatre, his journey in French and how he sees the future.
After several years spent between Halifax and Switzerland, Lucas and his family moved to Toronto when he was 9 years old. Lucas always made others laugh and enjoyed performing, so theatre seemed like a natural fit for him. Somehow, he wanted to be part of the "entertainment kingdom" as he calls it, even if it was just behind the scenes.
Lucas learned French in Canadian and Swiss schools but his family is English-speaking and English is the predominant language at home. He has always wanted to practice his French and now calls himself a 'Franco-Anglophone', a confident Francophone but with an Anglophone accent, and is sometimes referred to as the Anglophone or the Francophone of the group, depending on the situation and community events.
As a young man, Lucas regularly went to Toronto's Young People Theatre and also at Théâtre français de Toronto to see Les Zinspiré.e s. Meanwhile, he continued to stage himself at home by filming and editing his own videos. As a student at École secondaire Toronto Ouest, he took theatre classes for two years and met the University of Ottawa team during a presentation of their programs. He then applied to the Theatre Department program but also to two other universities in Ontario. Finally, following his audition, the University of Ottawa offered him the opportunity to join its francophone program entitled Baccalauréat en Pratique Théâtrale (B.P.T. en jeu) and Lucas accepted without hesitation, although the other universities had also accepted his application.
This first year in Ottawa was very rich: "I discovered the French-speaking theatre world and the multitude of forms; the energy is different depending on the language of the play. You can feel it especially in the contemporary plays where there is more tension in the movements and more nuance in French. Although of course all the pieces are different". Lucas is part of a class of 10 students with whom he will grow theatrically for 3 years: "The goal is to create a troupe atmosphere with whom we will grow together as artists".
He particularly enjoyed seeing how each teacher brings out different qualities of acting. For example, in the same class, one teacher wanted the students to allow the audience to vividly picture what the actors had in mind, while another wanted the story to come through their body language. These are very different approaches and exciting work. Or: "One day we had to present a scene from La Meute (by Esther Beauchemin) and I had to physically grab someone. I was fascinated by the lesson in how to do this convincingly without causing harm to the other person”.
Outside of theatre, Lucas plays guitar, especially country music with his father and one of his brothers, who stayed with their family in Toronto. He is discovering life in Ottawa and continues to put himself on stage through videos. He defines himself as Franco-Ontarian, especially since the last few years when he fully assumes his Francophone identity and particularly appreciates community events, such as the Semaine de la Francophonie. As for the future: "I would like to imagine that I will make a living from my art, in Ontario, in French and in English. I also hope I'll do dubbing because it's something I really enjoy”. In any case, Théâtre français de Toronto will be delighted to welcome him!