The Flying Canoe

Kathy with little René and Jean-Marc

A talking cat...the devil at a dance…a bear in a canoe…magical creatures…A fantastic and fun introduction to the culture, music and language* of the first Francophones in Canada—the voyageurs, the loggers, the trappers and farm families—whose humour, imagination and courage helped found our very own community. Featuring puppets, early film footage, traditional songs & music. And lots of curriculum connections! The story of the Flying Canoe, La Chasse-Galerie, was first published in Canada in 1900 by Honoré Beaugrand. This well-known French Canadian tale is the centrepiece of our play about the myths, legends, and daily life in early French Canada.

*mostly in English, with a soupçon of French.

K–6. 250 students.

 

"The staff and students were ecstatic about the play."—Brother André School

"A bilingual performance . . . wonderful storytelling ...  (students were) spellbound (by the) magic of the performance, artistry. Our French immersion teachers appreciated that it showcased French Canadian Culture. This was a first at our school. . .  This is our fourth time having Rag & Bone and we love having them at our school."—Manordale P.S.

"Great vocals . . . clear and animated! The music, the videos, the costumes —all excellent—the children forced to use their imagination!! Excellent student engagement! Loved the singing, the saw—"cool". Love all the use of fabrics!! Videos are very historically relevant."—Grade 1–2 teacher, John XXIII Catholic School, Arnprior

"Loved the multi-media presentation! The musical instruments captured the interest of the younger set for sure…the tribute to French Canadian/Ottawa Valley culture was very meaningful"—Queen Mary Street School

"The music was very original. I also loved the video footage of the Gatineau and the logging camps."—Holy Cross School

Our study guide is available as a PDF here.

The Chasse-Galerie, as published in Century magazine is 1892, is available as a 5 meg pdf here.

Other sites:

The Library and Archives of Canada is a wonderful resource for photos. Many photos can be viewed online, and we made extensive use of this site while preparing the show.

Images Canada is another great source for historic photos.

The Virtual Gramaphone. We found a great deal of the music we use in the show on this site.

The CBC has a story about a Loup Garou here.

The canoe tumbled down

The story of the Flying Canoe, La Chasse-Galerie, was first published by Honoré Beaugrand. This well-known French Canadian tale is the centrepiece of our play about the myths, legends, and daily life in early French Canada.

We have a pdf of the original story, as published in Century Magazine in 1892. Download it here.

After a long winter of hunting, Jean-Marc and René want to be the first trappers at the trading post, to get the best price for their furs. They paddle day and night, but stop for a meal and see a bear. René runs off. Jean-Marc climbs a tree and waits for hours. When the bear doesn't return, Jean-Marc gets down and finds the canoe in the moonlight. He can barely see his companion, but he gets in and paddles madly through rapids and over a waterfall. But in the morning he sees that his companion wasn't René, it was the bear!

Tante Rose is a good woman who lives with her cat, Moustache. One day, Jean-Marc knocks on the door. He offers to help with the chores in exchange for a place to stay. Tante Rose thinks she and Moustache are fine as they are, so Jean-Marc suggests they ask the cat. Suddenly, the cat can talk! It wants Jean-Marc to stay. Tante Rose agrees.

Jean-Marc is a good worker, and Tante Rose is glad to have so much help. They tell stories in the evenings, about the White Owl, Feux-Follets, and Lutins. When Tante Rose was a young girl, she found herself dancing with an evil stranger after midnight. Jean-Marc and René once made a deal with the Devil and he flew their canoe all the way from a lumber camp in the Gatineau to Montreal, to a New Year's Eve party.

Then one day, René comes along, looking for Jean-Marc. He wants him to come back out on the trap lines with him. Tante Rose says Jean-Marc is a very common name, could René describe him? René says Jean-Marc is such a good hunter that once he almost caught a Loup-garou (half man, half wolf). And, he says, Jean-Marc can throw his voice. Tante Rose thinks that sounds like evil spirits.

Jean-Marc doesn't want to go back to trapping with René; he wants to stay with Tante Rose. Tante Rose wants Jean-Marc to stay too, but not if he dabbles in black magic. Jean-Marc gets Tante Rose to ask the cat if a person can throw his voice. "Of course not," says the cat, "that's ridiculous." "Thank goodness," says Tante Rose. And they live happily ever after.

Times
  • Time for set up: 1 hour
  • Length of show: 50 minutes
  • Question period: 10 minutes
  • Take down time: 1 hour

We need use of the performance area for three hours.

Please re-arrange any activities scheduled for that time, and have the space cleared for our arrival.

Seating Arrangement

Our set will extend 25 feet across, and is 20 feet deep. We’ll help the teachers to seat their students.

The students should sit cross-legged on the floor, in order of age. This is easiest to accomplish if the students arrive in order of age, youngest to eldest. The youngest group could arrive about 5 minutes prior to the performance time.

You can see a PDF file of our seating plan for schools here, and our public show seating here.

Chairs

Although children will be seated on the floor, we’ll set chairs along the sides to mark out their area; teachers can use these chairs to sit beside their classes. We also need three chairs backstage.

Noises

Please turn off all bells, fans, and air conditioners for the performance.

We need to back our van up to the door which gives the closest access to the performance area. Please arrange to have gates and doors unlocked, and to keep the parking space free for us. If there is no easy access to the performance area, we’d appreciate it if three or four people could help us to unload and load our equipment.

Floor Plan

A floor plan of the show, in PDF format, is available for download: click here.

Click here for a PDF version of this sheet.

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