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Two stars of the colourful L'Osstidcho, Robert Charlebois and Yvon Deschamps on stage

A Show with a New Twist: L'Ostidcho

I"n the world of show business, L'Osstidcho is a work of liberation" (translation).

Jean-Marc Desgent, « Mon Osstidcho », in Bruno Roy, L'Osstidcho ou le désordre libérateur, Montréal, XYZ Éditeur, 2008, p. 14.

1968, the Year when Anything Was Possible

The Théâtre de Quat'Sous, established recently in a former synagogue, advertized a very unorthodox show with a title that no one dared pronounce out loud "l'hostie de show." Yvon Deschamps, one of the theatre's owners, was responsible for this last-minute brainchild of a stage musical to close the season. He was accompanied on stage by Robert Charlebois, whom he met at La Roulotte, a travelling theatre for young Montrealers; Mouffe and Louise Forestier, classmates of Charlebois at the École nationale de théâtre; the Jazz libre du Québec quartet; and organist Jacques Perron. The show was to be a happy mixture of song, monologues, music – sometimes discordant --, supplemented by improvisation. Its creators described it as "a complete musical folly" (translation).

A Psychedelic Rock Mass

The first L'Osstidcho, as it was now known, took place on May 28, 1968. As was to be expected, the show was greeted with mixed reviews. Some described it as a mediocre college review while others were angered by it. Students at the Collège Sainte-Marie were ordered not to attend the show, whose very name "hurt Jesus" (translation). Woe to those who failed to comply; they risked excommunication! Alternatively, the L'Osstidcho literally seduced youths who saw it as a bold and original piece of work marked with the seal of anarchy and chaos, a counter-culture demonstration and a psychedelic rock mass.

A Major Musical Event

By word of mouth, L'Osstidcho became a major event. From the Théâtre de Quat'Sous, with fewer than 200 seats, it moved to the Comédie-Canadienne (800 seats) in September 1968 under the title of L'Osstidcho king size, then – its grand consecration – to the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of Place-des-Arts (3 000 seats) in January 1969. For this last lap of its course, the show was rechristened L'Osstidcho meurt.

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