Pardon My French!
In the land of hyphenated identity, Susan Poulin sets out on the sometimes humorous, sometimes treacherous path to reconnect with her Franco-American heritage. Her rollercoaster ride of self-discovery leads her to some surprising places. From the origins of Franco-American Spaghetti to the textile mills of Skowhegan, from logging camps on the Canadian border to being hypnotized to find the French in her head, Susan is determined to reclaim her first language and in the process reclaims a whole lot more. She’s doing the assimilation samba and it’s not as easy as it looks.
In Pardon My French!, Susan Poulin examines what it is to be Franco-American. She also explores the notion of home and the importance of language. She does this with the generosity of a true poet…In addition, she gives us a history of Franco-Americans. By the time the play is over, she has braided this history with her personal story and with her forbears’ stories to give an impression of a vibrant culture….It combines the specific with the universal, and Ms. Poulin’s fine performance will resonate not only with Franco-Americans but with people from any background.
Wolf Moon Press
A Maine Journal of Art & Opinion
Pardon My French! is orchestrated like a deft musician’s set, moving you through emotions and tempos with ease…This script of a women’s relationship with her roots is interesting, engaging and superbly written….As for the performances, nothing but the best.
Foster’s Daily Democrat
A loving look at one of our quieter immigrant groups… Poulin makes it accessible to people who don’t have her particular hyphen…It’s a journey well worth taking. Vive les Poolyles!
Susan Poulin takes her audience on a safari of the self…Her journey spreads itself into the audience, challenging them to examine and recognize their relationship to their own cultural future, present and past …This is a play not to be missed!
Rhea Côté Robbins
Author of Wednesday’s Child
Director of the Franco-American Women’s Institute
I want to express how much we enjoyed having your play Pardon My French! on campus. Pardon My French! speaks to students. It explores a search for identity familiar to all, addressing the pain and rewards of coming to terms with ones’ own cultural identity, Franco or otherwise. We hope to bring your play to our campus every year!
Director of Franco American Studies
University of Maine
I loved Pardon My French! not just personally but for what it offers to education and to the people it depicts, Franco Americans. As a professor of nearly twenty-five years, I could not find a more generative educational resource and opportunity than Pardon My French! … Pardon My French!, as it focuses on your journey to Franco American identity, can be used to initiate, to inform and to deepen discussion about (among others) cultural identity, Maine history, language acquisition, family story telling and the intersections of ethnicity, gender, class and age…Pardon My French! is also an inspiration and model of how personal and family stories might be transformed into performance. Pardon My French! works not only because of your formidable writing and performance abilities, but also because of how skillfully it integrates history, folk lore, music, dance and other media into a full-bodied experience for the audience…I enthusiastically recommend Pardon My French! to audiences in educational and community settings for the significance and timeliness of its messages, for the excellence of your performance and for the sheer enjoyment of the laughter and tears it brings.
Kristin M. Langellier, Ph.D
Mark and Marcia Bailey Professor
Department of Communication and Journalism
University of Maine
In Pardon My French!, Susan Poulin employs her insightful writing and upbeat stage presence to examine her Franco-American heritage. Although her memories of her Franco upbringing in Maine are deep and tender, she longs to regain her ability to speak French, the language of her earliest childhood years. Pardon My French! focuses on her sad but also humorous efforts to learn French. Poulin’s acting and writing together with the music of Gordon Carlisle provide an experience that is both entertaining and thought provoking. This is excellent material for Maine Studies, American Studies, and Ethnic Studies.
Coordinator, Maine Studies
Research Associate, History
University of Maine
The presentation of the play here at the University, together with the discussion session that followed, was a significant emotional and educational moment for the people of this area…Your presentation personalizes the human tension in ways that everyone can understand, cry about and laugh about. You have captured the richness of very complex but real human emotions of a generation that revels in having “arrived”, and at the same time suddenly confronts the true price of that accomplishment…The productions causes one to think through personal complexities and to delve into the particular issue you present but also to go beyond into the broader aspects of youth and intergenerational messages and imprints. In short, it is a marvelous door to explore complex issues within the Franco-American community but also a challenge for all Americans of whatever ethnic backgrounds.
President, University of Maine Fort Kent
I heartily recommend Susan Poulin and the production of Pardon My French! to my colleagues in higher educations. Her play is professional, entertaining, musically enjoyable and had me laughing out loud one minute and then almost in tears the next as I reflected on a memory in my own life that was touched by Susan’s incredible performance. In our region we have a large number of French-American folks but what really impressed me was the way that Susan connected with other folks of different cultural and ethnic heritages. Her play may be about French immigrants in our country, but it relates to the immigrant in all of us.
Paula S. Gagnon
Dean of Students
York County Community College