1684001944 Luc Provost the interpreter of Mado Lamothe looks back on

Luc Provost, the interpreter of Mado Lamothe, looks back on his crucial passage in “The True Nature – 7 Days”.

Quebec is experiencing an incredible craze for drag queens. They perform in all shows and all events and attract crowds: Rita Baga, Barbada from Barbados, Gisèle Lullaby, Mona from Grenoble and of course Mado Lamotte. The latter and her alter ego Luc Provost have been paving the way for a new drag generation for more than 35 years, while at the same time breaking down prejudices against them.

• Also read: Jeff Boudreault’s incredible transformation into a drag queen is a must-see

“I don’t like to take the honor of being a pioneer and social acceptance. I would rather say that it is partly due to Mado and not to her. It is certain that she has opened doors by leaving the village, appearing on television or playing bingos all over Quebec. To many, drag queens were just oddballs, part-time entertainers. Today, when you see all the work behind our art, you realize that we are artists ourselves,” explains Luc Provost, creator and interpreter of the famous Mado Lamotte. This artistic discipline requires mastery, dedication and sometimes a tremendous investment of time and money to reach the higher levels, as Luc confirms. “It requires rigor, discipline and talent. It’s not just about putting on makeup, putting on a dress and wearing a wig. When you create characters, meaning celebrities, you have to do research to be as similar as possible. If you make humor, you have to write your lyrics. And of course it is important to master the art of makeup and often you have to make your own stage costumes as well. You have to be a creator, designer and performer.

A question of tolerance
Although our society is more open and inclusive, there are people, particularly on social media, who are outraged that we, for example, entrust drag queens with reading children’s stories. Luc answers them with measure and precision. “It’s ignorance. They don’t know the difference between a drag show in a bar at 10pm in front of an informed audience and one that comes at 8am to tell the kids a story. Even comedians adapt to their audience. When you open doors, others try to close them.

He tells how he became immune to disapproval and prejudice. “It was always okay to be who I am. My parents and I didn’t have to talk about it. Before they saw me in the costume I told them I work in a bar. It was true, but they didn’t know I was a Sagittarius girl! They first saw me in Mado at the Just for Laughs Festival playing bingo in the Old Port. In the end my mother told me she thought I was funny and my father walked away crying. It was very emotional. He was proud of me. My weird side comes from him. I inherited my extroverted, enjoyable and fun-loving side from my 97-year-old mother, Pauline. Since last year, after the airing of The Real Nature, she has been bragging about being my mother and Mado’s at her house! (laughs)”

Before this show, he had always refused to be natural. “I always wanted Mado to be a separate entity.” As a result of his passage, something unexpected happened. “In job interviews, we are always asked how long the preparation takes, what it is like to be a drag, etc. But Mado cannot answer these questions. She’s not a drag queen, she’s just mado! She is the actress, the singer, the dancer. I wanted people to see the difference between her and me. At La vrai nature I expressed my wish to one day be able to act as Luc Provost in the theater. This fall I’ll be attending the presentation of Hosanna, or the Poor Man’s Scheherazade, at the Le Trident Theater in Quebec. A two-part mash-up by Michel Tremblay. “I’m going to play Hosanna,” he says, adding that his “Madography” (biography) will be released in mid-October.

Luc Provost the interpreter of Mado Lamothe looks back on

Photo: Eric Myre/TVA Publica

she and he
Don’t think Luc wants to put Mado aside; on the contrary, he loves what she has given him for 35 years. “When I see rooms, even in the region, with people shouting his name, it’s intoxicating. Unlike other characters, Mado is still very popular and widely followed on social media. But success is never guaranteed: you must constantly hone your talent and renew yourself. I try to keep Mado informed. It’s difficult because I have two types of audiences. Young people don’t have the same credentials. You know neither Dalida, Michèle Richard nor the great classics. Her humor is based on the moment and current events. Two weeks later the joke is out of date, but we can enlighten people,” says the artist, who also owns Cabaret Mado and has just celebrated his 21st birthday.

Located in the heart of Montreal’s gay district, with 30 permanent employees and almost 50 drag queens, the place has become a must-visit for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in a festive atmosphere. Seven days a week, it welcomes people from all over the world, of all ages and from all walks of life. “In the beginning, the cabaret was mainly attended by the LGBTQ+ community. Then gradually 25- to 40-year-olds – couples, singles, more women than men – flocked in while retaining the older customers. Since the pandemic, due to the curfew, the hour of the late-night cabaret show, which used to be at 11 p.m., has been moved to 9 p.m. People go to see the show and sometimes they stay to dance too. I never thought I’d be able to go to bed before midnight one day!” he said, pleased at the change. While Mado is only 35 years old, his interpreter is not getting any younger. Does he ever imagine saying goodbye? “You can be a drag for a very long time. Guilda did it until she was 88. I intend to turn 100. At around 75 I will start doing less!”

1684001934 644 Luc Provost the interpreter of Mado Lamothe looks back on

The theater Le Trident will present Hosanna or the Scheherazade of the poor from September 12th to October 7th.
We learn about
Cabaret Mado.

ALSO SEE: 15 Lasting Quebec Showbiz Couples