Paul Braunstein has been relearning his Canadian history, and it’s not what he remembers from school. That’s because his teacher is VideoCabaret’s Michael Hollingsworth, now into his second cycle of plays that examine our past, filling it with buffoons, clowns and self-serving politicians.
Braunstein returns as the title character in Laurier, playing the Liberal leader who’s having an affair with Emilie, his best friend’s wife, while trying to keep various warring parties – including the Quebec nationalists – within the Canadian fold.
Pretend you’re a publicist promoting Laurier to the electorate.
“He’s charming and smooth, with a razor-sharp wit and steel in his veins.”
What do his friends and enemies say about him?
Actually, he gets criticism from both sides. To the Quebecois, he’s a devious imperialist; the Ontario anglos call him a separatist.
What’s your favourite costume or prop?
The dress-up stickpin I wear when I’m at Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. I get to smoke a bong and watch the festivities.
If Laurier were around today, what would he be doing?
He’d apply to be the new artistic director at Canadian Stage. They need him.