One could imagine a number of things that might draw the attention, if not the ire, of aspiring censors in Quebec in the performance of Conversations avec mon pénis, starting with the woman dressed as a giant penis. However, the $500 fine levied against the theater was for Marc-André Thibault sitting next to the giant penis while he smoked a fake cigarette on stage.
The Premier Acte theatre in Quebec City is challenging the fine on the basis of its “freedom of creation.” Officials say that there is no artistic license when it comes to smoking in a public place. That is a curious interpretations for two reasons.
First, the theater is a public space but the stage itself could be easily distinguished as not being open to the public. Second, it was not tobacco but sage that was smoked. That makes it equivalent of burning incense on stage. Yet, according to Quebec’s Tobacco Control Act, “any product that does not contain tobacco and is intended to be smoked is considered to be tobacco.”
Does that mean that the actress is also treated as actual male genitalia? If so, there is also a law against exposing oneself in public.