Xavier B. Gould, Acadian entertainer
Xavier B. Gould, artist from Shédiac, New-Brunswick, was interviewed over the phone by Yanik Gallie on Wednesday 17, 2018.
Graduate from Mount Allison University in Drama, Xavier was noted as one of the 30 under 30 artists by Acadie Nouvelle last year.
The humorist hosts Le Bilingual Show: Hosté par Jass-Sainte featuring comics from New-Brunswick and Québec at Centre des Arts et de la Culture de Dieppe on February 17, 2018.
The interview was recorded over telephone around 2pm on Wednesday 17, 2018. English interview translated by Yanik Gallie. For the full interview in the Acadian dialect, visit our Xaverian Weekly website @ http://www.xaverian.ca
YG: What does pride mean to you?
XG: Historically, pride meant nothing to me. It showed I didn’t fit in with the LGBTQ+ community. Pride is a big statement.
Growing up, and even in university, I distanced myself a lot from pride. Whether it be going to events or having gay friends, I didn’t participate that much. I didn’t feel like I fit in one of the boxes that was pride.
I learned within the last two years that I can create my own frigging box and make whatever I want out of pride. I can meet people who feel the same way I do and create my box with them. I take part of what pride represents, be yourself.
For me, pride’s accepting my own box that I recreate as I grow, and I’m happy.
YG: How was Jass-Sainte Bourque received by the LGBTQ+ community?
XG: I was host of an event at pride this summer when a group of kids between 10-12 years old saw me getting lunch on a break. They freaked out, “Jass-Sainte! Jass-Sainte!”
One said, “It’s my first pride. If my parents knew I was here, they’d disown me.” I shared my story with them, “When I was your age, my parents did interventions. In a failed attempt to protect me, they told me to tone it down and be less open about my sexuality. Last week, I sent a picture of myself wearing heels and makeup at rehearsal to my dad. He replied, ‘Holy shit, you look fabulous. The world is not worthy.’ If my dad made it this far up the road, it will work out for you. Give your parents a chance, and continue to be yourselves.”
They looked to me with an inspired expression, knowing that I’ve been through some shit and can still make people laugh.
YG: What moment inspired your comical character Jass-Sainte Bourque?
XG: I read the poem “Fuck you, Évangeline” by Céleste Godin. That was one of the pillar moments when I realized that, in Acadie, you have the right to turn things upside down.
You don’t need to listen to music by 1755 for the rest of your life. You can if you want, that’s valid. As an artist and creator, you have the right and are encouraged to make it your own.
What is culture if it cannot change? At that moment, I thought about Jass-Sainte seriously. This is a way for me to assume myself within my culture.
YG: Strong fictional female characters Marichette, Sagouine and Delphine B. B. Bosse are symbolic of the archetypal strong Acadian woman in literature. How do you distinguish your character from those of your predecessors?
XG: Jass-Sainte is contemporary. She is all about social media with her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever accounts right. Versus La Sagouine, it’s a written literary work, a play. Jass-Sainte is different because the personage is adapted for today with the technology.
But, it’s not that different because what previous characters did was indicative of the time too. When Sagouine was published, it was a driving force that inspired the creation of many literary works. Hopefully, Jass-Sainte is the start of a similar movement.
Another difference, Jass-Sainte is ambiguous in whether she is a woman or man. I keep it vague on purpose. She is also ambiguous in who she likes. Technology and ambiguity set Jass-Sainte apart.
YG: How did studying Drama at Mount Allison University influence your strategy in producing a dramatic and comedic character?
XG: In many ways, the production, movement and acting classes influenced my strategy. The main way my studies influenced me is that I learned to think critically.
The way education is set up at Mount A is that while you read, you ask critical questions. Don’t take for granted that just because you are given a reading it’s true. Meaning, they can give you a super racist and sexist reading from the 1920s so that you think, holy shit, that’s racist and sexist.
Pose questions. Why was it written like that? What would it be like if it were written today? Critically analyze the reading and make creative conclusions. Keep it critical moving forward. It’s how I go about with my creations.
YG: What advice would you give to someone interested in writing monologue?
XG: If you have a character or an idea, if it’s authentic to you or your experiences and you want to share that, fucking share it. Run with it. Being yourself will lead you to success.
It’s impossible to know all strategies, contracts and connections. The only thing you can know 100% is let your box continuously develop. Make it your own.