Patrick Emmanuel Abellard knew he was made for the stage.
From a young age, a career as an actor was always in his sights. Present day, this hasn’t changed. And he says his conviction grows stronger with each new project he takes on.
Abellard is the lead actor in King Dave, which opens at Centaur Theatre on March 28. The play was created in 2005 by Quebecois actor Alexandre Goyette and was given a second life in 2021 by Anglesh Major, who adapted and performed the French script successfully at Théâtre Duceppe.
Abellard, who plays Dave, was a part of the French play translated into English. He believed King Dave deserved to be presented to English audiences across Montreal.
“I would say that bilingualism is a big part of my mandate as something that I want to bring to our society as a subject,” Abellard says in telephone interview with the CONTACT.
“I want to be at the forefront of a lot of the things that I get involved in. So I felt like it was only natural to translate the play, seeing as I’m completely bilingual, and there was interest in doing it in English, so I did it. I thought it was pertinent to bring this story and this character to the English side for the Anglophone community to be exposed to it because it is super relevant. As well Dave’s story is relevant in French because I think not too many Quebecers are (in tune with his reality).”
Set in the heart of Montreal, the play follows Dave, a young Haitian from Montreal-North, who has to deal with the consequences of his actions.
King Dave tackles several hard-hitting issues, such as peer pressure, prejudice, gun violence, and revenge.
In Montreal and even Quebec, multiculturalism is the everyday norm. And the struggle for many immigrants to find a balance and stay afloat is relatable to all, regardless of race or gender.
Abellard admits that it was not an easy role to prepare for. Even though it was his second time (the first time being in French), he says it was a ‘grueling process.’ But he was motivated by wanting Anglophone audiences to experience the story and the power behind the play.
“Post George Floyd, post everything that goes on in the States, post some of the things that happened even here in Montreal and Quebec, whether it be Quebec City or even in Montreal, post all of that. The story remains, whether it is important on the French side or the English side,”
“I think it’s important to remember that this story was originally written by a white young man in his 20s back in 2005. And it’s now been rebooted and adapted for an English audience from the French version about a young Haitian man in Montreal. And I think that’s the strength of this story is it’s so, so, so relevant,” says Abellard who will be remembered by Centaur audiences for his powerful performance in the play Choir Boy.
King Dave was adapted in collaboration with Anglesh Major, translated by Patrick Emmanuel Abellard, and directed by Christian Fortin. It opens at the Centaur Theatre from March 28 and runs until April 16, 2023. A masked performance will be on Thursday, April 9, at 8 PM.