What drove you when you were young?
“I loved school and had a thirst for knowledge, but at that time, nothing indicated that I would pursue a career in theater. I particularly enjoyed studying French, English, Latin, Greek, and mathematics. I completed my classical studies in Quebec, which is now known as Cégep Limoilou. I studied for three years at Laval University, focusing on Latin and Ancient Greek. My love for this culture even led me to develop an interest in classical archaeology. I had a thirst for knowledge, so I changed specializations several times. I ended up earning two graduate degrees, one in French literature and the other in history.”
When did your involvement in theater begin?
“When I was in college, I didn’t think I would become an actor because I was shy. Despite my thirst for knowledge, I remained an introverted guy. At that time, students at college had the option to choose theater. My shyness kept me from getting on stage. Instead, I preferred to be a soloist in the college choir. I had a good voice, and that’s what caught the attention of Father Thibodeau in my final years of classical studies. He told me, ‘You have a good voice, and you should perform on stage.’ I didn’t believe it, but he convinced me. I was 16 or 17 years old at the time. He introduced me to theater during my classical studies, and the following year, he cast me in a new play.”
Raymond Bouchard is enthusiastic, with a rapid pace of speech. He seems to enjoy the interview, and he has a lot to say. It seems like he wants to say everything at once. I sense his love for speed, and his gestures reveal a passionate individual. The customers at the restaurant where we are recognize and appreciate one of the greatest actors of his time in Quebec.
When did you become a professional actor?
“It happened when I was 18 years old. A professional theater group called Les Dominos, composed of artists with a notable but forgotten past, offered me my first paid role. This was before my time at the conservatory, which I completed in 1970. Television came later.”
During his early professional years in theater, he simultaneously attended university. Raymond Bouchard took leading roles in various plays and weekly radio dramas. He even confesses, spontaneously, that his theater earnings helped pay for his education. He later joined the Troupe des Treize, which consisted of eighty people and produced four plays per year. After completing his university studies, he entered the conservatory in Quebec City, where he stayed for eighteen months. He was then admitted to the conservatory in Montreal, where he completed his training in 1970. He subsequently settled permanently in the Montreal area.
Are you married?
“I was, but you know the life of an actor… Currently, I am single. I have two daughters: Caroline, 31 years old, who lives in Quebec, and Isabelle, 18 years old, who lives in Seattle, United States.”
What values are most important to you?
“I would like to
say all of them. You see, when you engage in inner reflection, it becomes comprehensive. Everything is interconnected. It’s more a question of conscience. Personal growth opens up consciousness. Its evolution makes us receptive to environmental problems, segregation, parent-child relationships, and other issues of our modern society. The evolution of our species is still in its infancy and just beginning adolescence. Global consciousness is not very developed, and values are being neglected. People don’t pay attention to them because they don’t know them well enough. We are all on our own paths in life, day by day.”
Do you have any concerns?
“Humanity often dwells in unconsciousness. Consequently, its behavior is sometimes bizarre. Don’t newspapers regularly present scenes of horror? It saddens me. Powerlessness and dismay result from such circumstances. Balance is, in my opinion, the solution. Don’t we all have a mission on Earth? Individual consciousness needs to awaken, and from there, we will lay the foundations for a better world.”
The intellectual and emotional richness of Raymond Bouchard impresses me. His perception of the world is striking. Beyond being an artist, he is someone who cares about others and the evolution of humankind. More than just an artist, he is a great man! I decide to personalize my questions.
Who has influenced you the most?
“I have two choices. My first would be the writer Jean-Paul Sartre. I was raised Catholic and can describe myself as passionate. When I discovered the existentialism of Sartre, Camus, and others, it was a shock. I embraced this philosophy. That period in history had an incredible influence on global youth. My evolution as an individual has been ongoing for quite some time, and I have also added Zen philosophy to my reading. Being aware of the present moment is what matters.
“My second choice would be Jean Duceppe for his theatrical influence on my career. I even succeeded him as the spokesperson for Diabetes Quebec. Some people think my acting resembles his. It’s a real privilege for me.”
Are you a disciplined person?
“Yes! I have working hours, and I am very organized. I discipline myself according to true energy cycles.”
How do you define love?
“It’s a noble feeling. Attraction, respect, authenticity, compatibility of affinities, romance, concern for the other person’s well-being, and intimate complicity define love for me. When I love someone, I have no difficulty expressing it or showing it.”
How do you live with your diabetes?
“Controlling blood sugar levels is crucial for survival. When the disease was diagnosed, there weren’t adequate tools like glucose meters to test and control diabetes. I paid a high price for my first ten uncontrolled years of diabetes. As a result, I underwent two heart bypass surgeries. Diabetes is insidious because blood sugar levels are random and variable. Our emotions, diet, and various factors influence blood glucose levels. With good control, an individual can live a normal life. Diabetes has never prevented me from doing what I wanted.”
What kind of legacy would you like to leave behind?
“The legacy of an authentic and integrous man.”
Raymond Bouchard is undeniably authentic and integrous. He is someone who cares about his fellow human beings and the environment. He believes that each individual, intentionally or unknowingly, can be a source of either the best or the worst. He has faith in humanity as a fragment of consciousness and as a bearer of light on this planet.
Doesn’t this consciousness begin individually with simple things? Diabetes constantly attacks the inside of the human body
Source : Plein Soleil – Summer 2001