In just two weeks, the Eaton Corner Museum will be pulling another cat out of the hat with its new fundraiser, the play Pilgarlic, based on a novel written by Bernard Epps. Tickets are available now.

“If you have any interest at all in the Eastern Townships, in the people of the Eastern Townships, in the history of the Eastern Townships or the geography of the Eastern Townships, in literature, in plays, in comedy and in tragedy… if you have any interest at all in LIFE, then you must come and see this play,” says its playwright Janice LaDuke.

About the book, LaDuke wrote “Pilgarlic the Death celebrates this particular patch of earth that we call home. It is drama: it is comedy and it is tragedy. It is life.”
The novel is based firmly in the Haut-Saint-François, in the 1960s. Here’s how The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature described it. “From the Eastern Townships has come a small-town genre painting full of Breughellian love of life in the novel Pilgarlic the Death by Bernard Epps.” (“Breughellian” refers to Peiter Breughel, a famous 16th century Dutch artist known for his large paintings of landscape-and-peasants scenes.)

LaDuke noted that the Oxford Dictionary defines Pilgarlic as “a ‘pilled’ or bald head; a bald-headed man; from 17th century applied in a ludicrously contemptuous way: ‘poor creature.’”

She has been in the bookstore business since 1985, when the first event in the first month of opening the McRat’s Bookstore in Lennoxville was a book launch for More Tales of the Townships by Bernard Epps. This began a long and close friendship with “Bernie” until his death in 2007 following a stroke. He used to frequent LaDuke’s current bookstore, Black Cat Books.

The Pilgarlic novel was last printed in the 1980s by Quadrant Editions, and then went out of print, to LaDuke’s dismay.
And so she proposed the play to the Eaton Corner Museum, as a way of giving a voice to Epps’ novel and as the latest in the Museum’s annual theatrical performances that have put local history in the floodlights.

These plays “were so well done, so brimming with life and enthusiasm and pride in the history of this place where we live, that they filled the hall three times over, said LaDuke. “Many of those who acted in or took part in writing the plays were descendants of those whose stories they were telling. A look at the cast list in the programs for any of these productions was always confusing simply because so many of the family names appeared on both sides of the list – as actors and as characters in the plays.”

The play is based on parts of the novel. “The dialogue in this play is Bernie’s dialogue. The humour is Bernie’s. The reverence and the irreverence are Bernie’s. And these people who are working with me on the play are giving all of this a VOICE!” said LaDuke.

Playwright LaDuke also directs and narrates the play, which is peopled by some 16 local actors, including Denis Palmer who, with Royce Rand, also created the set.
Pilgarlic will be at the Sawyerville Community Centre, 6 Church Street, on Saturday, February 23, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 each, available at Black Cat Books, 168e Queen St., Lennoxville. Or to reserve yours, call Elaine Lebourveau, 819-563-8700.

Where is our garbage going? Valoris invites citizens to an information and exchange session on its landfill expansion project. The session is Wednesday, February 6, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Armoury Community Centre, 563 Main St., Bury.

The Sawyerville Community Garden’s Seed Festival is on Saturday, February 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. See the article about it in this issue. Entrance and lunch: $20 for ages 15+; $15 for ages 8 to 15; and no charge for ages 8 or less. Family fee for more than three persons. Info: Chantal Bolduc at or 819-889-3196.

A St. Valentine’s Brunch is on Sunday, February 17, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Armoury Community Centre, 563 Main Street, Bury. Good food (pancakes, sausages, quiches and more) and good company. It is the annual fundraiser for the Bury’s Image. Tickets available now, or at the door: Adults, $12. Children 6 to 12 years, $6. Children 0 to 5 years, free. Families (2 adults, 2 children), $30. Info: Kathie McClintock, 819-872-3685.

A new session of Yoga is Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at the Sawyerville Community Centre, 6 Church Street, Sawyerville. Info: Myrna MacDonald, 819-875-5393.

Taoist Tai Chi classes are in Scotstown Mondays 1:30 p.m. and in Sawyerville Tuesdays 6:30 p.m., with bilingual Pierre Robitaille. Info: 819-875-1384.

Bilingual exercise groups for people aged 50-plus are on Wednesdays and are free of charge. In Bury at 10 a.m. at the Armoury Community Centre, 563 Main Street. Info: 819-238-8541. In Cookshire at 10 a.m. at the Manoir de l’Eau vive, 210 Principale East. Info: 819-875-5210. In Newport at 1:30 p.m. at the Municipal Hall, 1452 Route 212, Island Brook. Info: 819-889-1340 or 819-560-8565. And in Sawyerville at 10 a.m. at the Sawyerville Community Centre, 6 Church Street. Info: 819-889-2630.

Anglican. Sunday worship services are at 9:30 a.m. at the St. Paul’s Church in Bury, and at 11:15 a.m. in Cookshire. On both February 10 and 17, the service is in the lower level of the Trinity United Church, 190 Principale West.
United. Sunday worship services are at Trinity United in Cookshire at 9:30 a.m. and at the Sawyerville United at 11 a.m. Info: 819-889-2838 (listen to message).
Baptist. In Sawyerville, the Sunday worship service is at 9 a.m. in French, and 11 a.m. in English. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. in English and French. Info: 819-239-8818.

Do you have news to share? Call 819-300-2374 or email by February 11 for publication February 20, and by February 25 for March 6.

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