My family first settled in Montreal, so myself and my siblings were born there. Our crew of Indian – Montrealers was small at the time and our parents bonded over spicy food and exciting new possibilities. The ‘kids’ were all close in age and saw each other all the time so we did what most South Asian do – we called each other cousin. After we moved to TO the distance didn’t change anything so when Amanda was in this play I was so excited to go check it out.
I always love walking down the streets of downtown Montreal. There’s so much history in every old building or brick wall! The theater was perfect, cozy yet grand. I knew the show was sold out every night and that it had been getting pretty big acclaim. It was originally written as “Tu te souviendras de moi” by French author François Archambault.
The show is about the daily struggles of a professor named Edouard, whose intellectual pride deteriorates as his Alzheimer’s progresses. We had a chance to sit down with Amanda, who played Bérénice in the show. Check out our exclusive!
When did you first know you wanted to become an actor?
As long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be an actor but I really couldn’t tell you when I first knew.
What do you enjoy most about acting?
Living all these different lives for a short time. I’ve always wanted to do everything but I don’t think I was interested in any one particular thing enough to do it for an extended period of time. Like I wanted to be a doctor for a while and then I realized, I really just want to play one.
Besides acting, what other training have you had (voice, dance, stage combat, etc.)?
Well, theater school is fairly all encompassing – you do voice, period dance, stage combat, mask, etc. I still do acting workshops every now and then. I teach improv and I think sometimes, I may get more out of it than the participants do. I played a lot of sports growing up and I didn’t know it then, but that was pretty great acting training.
What do you think about the story of the show you are playing a part in?
I love that it transcends. Young, old, male, female, English, French – it doesn’t matter. I’ve spoken to people from all different walks of life who have been moved by this story and that speaks to what an incredible writer François Archambault is.
It’s incredibly multi-layered, timely, and it deals with a tough subject with a lot of humor. There are two things that send families reeling – money and health. For this play, it’s health that throws everyone off-kilter, and they’re all just trying to find or regain their footing. Watching them do so can be pretty heartbreaking but it can also be really funny.
What’s your role in this show?
I play Bérénice, who is a young, cellphone-obsessed teenager charged with babysitting Edouard, a renowned history professor in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
What sort of person is going to love the character you are playing?
I’m not sure. Millennials will definitely relate to her. She is, in a lot of ways, a product of her environment. But like most people, she isn’t what she appears to be. So if people are initially put off by her candor, I think it’s that same rawness that they may warm up to later on.
How is this character like you? Different?
She’s sarcastic and loves cutoff jeans and big sweaters. So do I.
She’s outspoken. She’s obsessed with her phone and social media. She dropped out of school. I talk to no one, I put up a Facebook profile picture a month ago, and I never missed a class.
What do you love and hate about this character?
Oh, I love everything about her and I hate nothing. Not my job to judge her, it’s my job to justify her. I’ll leave the rest to the audience.
Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?
Ellen Page would rock it. Quebec politics play a significant part of the story so I gotta keep it Canadian.
What’s your favourite part of the show?
That’s hard; I really loved doing the show every night. Audience reactions were always interesting. We get a sense of where this play lands for people and it’s always different.
Besides yourself, which actor in this production is going to blow people away?
Jean Marchand! He can make you laugh and cry in the same breath. I will certainly miss sharing the stage with him.
If you could play any other character in this show, who would it be?
Well, I wouldn’t be able to pull off any of the other characters. Call me in 10 years, maybe I’ll have a different answer. Right now, I love Bérénice too much to let her go.
What makes a good scene partner?
A good scene is like a good tennis match – you don’t want to drop that ball. A good scene partner matches you, hit for hit, keeps you on your toes, and has your back. You’re always on the same team, even if you’re on opposite sides of the net.
Who do you look up to (as an actor/director/etc.) and why?
Meryl Streep. That’s obvious, I know but it’s just the truth. She’s the perfect combination of tremendous talent and impeccable work ethic. You don’t see that too often. And I’ll throw Michael Shannon in there for variety. I’ll watch anything he’s in.
Do you have any advice for aspiring actors?
I’m an aspiring actor, I need advice! But if you want me to sound smart…um, don’t get rid of your weirdness – it’s probably what’s going to get you the part. And play the love. I got that advice and it was pretty damn good.
Can you tell me a fun fact about yourself that people may not know about you?
I consider it a fun fact that if I can’t wear jeans, I’m not coming to whatever event you’re having. But I have been told that does not qualify. So, I can juggle!
Thank you Amanda, for taking the time to answer our questions and we hope you the best of luck in your path to success as an actor!
What did I think of the show? Well…
I found myself engaged pretty much right away! I’m a fan of live theater so I do get a bit excited but Hardip isn’t necessarily the theater-going type… although he loves experiencing arts and culture so he’s open to trying these things. I looked over at him maybe 10 minutes into it and I could see that he was very into the show, then I noticed some of my other cousins and other people around me – everyone was very captivated.
The main character definitely grabbed your attention, as this was part of his personality. He was a professor, an intellect of sorts and he definitely loved to be the center of attention. Right away I was thrown into the emotions of his family that was dealing with his progressing Alzheimer’s. It upsetting to see how the family deals with the inconvenience of the situation, yet you can empathize with them as you realize what they must be going through within their own struggles.
Amanda’s character – Bérénice enters with a young carefree attitude. You immediately think what could her and the main character possibly have in common?? There were many jokes – a lot of Quebec political mockery and comic relief throughout the story and I thought it helped the crowd feel the daily reality of their story instead of only feeling the sadness. I loved watching the contrast between them and the difference of opinion because the best part was that I agreed with both of them in a way. There was an interesting reference with social media and other modern day millennial habits that struck a cord for all of us.
It was interesting to see how his Alzheimer’s was affecting her and how she became more empathetic. Her approach with him was unexpected and then began to feel so natural. It was a truly touching story that left me thinking about life, generations, and our unique minds.
Thanks for reading about our experience with “You will remember me…”!
Editor: Mahak Gupta