Let Me Go explores the life of a mother after the death of a child
A homegrown story of love and loss is returning to Montreal. Let Me Go is the stage adaptation by Toronto actress Nadia Capone (who you may know from her work on Outer Limits or Da Vinci’s Inquest) of Anne Claire Poirier’s 1997 documentary about her daughter’s tragic life of heroin addiction, Tu as crié "Let Me Go."
Capone came across Poirier’s touching story in written form when she bought a copy of the documentary’s narrative at a book launch a year or so ago. She read it that night, and since then, it’s been a whirlwind – she felt absolutely compelled to meet with Poirier, learn more about her and her daughter Yanne’s story, and adapt it to the stage. The first run of the play – a multimedia, bilingual show that stars Capone and male lead Julian Schwartz – was in Toronto in April. Now it’s back in Montreal, where the heartbreaking tale was born.
"This is where Yanne lived, this is where Anne Claire lives, so it’s so interesting to be here and walk around, and go to St-Denis and Ste-Catherine and think, My God, this is where she went, this is where she walked," says Capone.
Capone is a mother herself, as well as a psychotherapist in the making, so the subject’s appeal was two-pronged.
"I think the one thing that struck me most when I first read it was, as a mother, I really felt an extraordinary sense of compassion for what Poirier had gone through, and I felt that there can’t be anything harder in life than to face the loss of a child. Part of me needed to know how she did it. How was she able to continue?"
"In fact, I think part of her process of healing was writing this piece," she adds, "so it feels to me like the play is a continuation of the healing. It’s expressing the voice of the mother, all mothers – that sorrow almost inherent in being a mother. You know, you give birth to a child that you literally have to let go of, as you raise them, each year – there are all these different layers of letting them go into the world, and trust that they will be safe."
Yanne Poirier didn’t end up safe – rather, after years of struggle, she lost her life to drugs. I ask Capone if it has been difficult to immerse herself in something so dark for over a year.
"It’s definitely a difficult subject, but there’s something really transformative about this piece," she answers. "Poirier really finds her way through this without shutting down – she continues to live her life, and she has the courage to attempt to set free her daughter in the hardest way a parent has to, when they actually lose them, to stop holding on to her and let her go. It’s deeply healing, in other words."
Let Me Go
At Théâtre Ste-Catherine (264 Ste-Catherine E.), to Aug. 5