MORRISBURG – “Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride.”Good advice from Upper Canada Playhouse’s artistic director, Donnie Bowes, as he welcomed the audience to a performance of ‘Lucien in Trumpland,’ a one man show, currently on stage at the theatre until November 28.
Older now, and perhaps ‘debatably’ wiser, the New Brunswick blue collar sage, Lucien – with an opinion for every occasion – has returned to the Playhouse in the person of actor/playwright Marshall Button. As Marshall remarked in an earlier Leader interview, “some of what the character of Lucien has said over the years would be shocking to Marshall. But to be true to the character, I have to bite down on my tongue and let him have his own voice.”
And have his say Lucien does, to the delight of audiences. And in his very own “Franglais” dialect, of course.
After all, who else but Lucien would crowd into a van for a “monogamous” journey from the East Shore all the way to the beaches of Florida at the height of a pandemic, and right into the world of “The Big Orange,” Donald Trump himself? Who else but Lucien would wander into the Washington Insurrection under the impression it was possibly a “Boxing Day super flea market”? Who else but Lucien would discover his old friend, the Young Fella, sitting in the Florida sun, and eagerly share some pent up political and business opinions with him? And who else but Lucien could have an audience roaring with laughter as he delves into the complexities of the present world? (“Bigger house. Fewer kids. Smaller car. Bigger insurance. More education. Less common sense.”)
In the course of his one man show, there are few topics that Lucien regards as sacred.
Love with a younger woman? Diets? Aging? Hair? Modern gadgets? (“Most more useless than a trap door in a canoe!”) Political leaders and policies on both sides of the border? Health care? Senior male plumbing? (“Will it ever start?…Will it ever stop?”) They’re all fodder for Lucien’s witty observations
And Marshall/Lucien’s bravura interpretation of “Rap” music had the house cheering.
Marshall Button’s Lucien is simply one of a kind.
He laboured in a Paper Mill for 39 years and he understands the meaning of hard work. He may not have been the best father, years back, but he is determined now to be the “World’s Best Grandfather.” He is feeling his way carefully through the challenges of a new love. And occasionally, he may get himself embroiled in somewhat “questionable” Florida real estate schemes.
No question, though, Lucien faces life’s upturns and downturns head on. Whether he’s home on the East Shore of New Brunswick, or wandering a beach in Florida at sunset, he remains a glass half full kind of guy (like Marshall). Clearly, audiences love to see the world through Lucien’s eyes, and to laugh along with him. As Lucien would say, “Sometimes life is more dark than light…but that sun goin’ down is just friggin’ beautiful…”