Réjean Vallée’s career as a stage actor goes back 30 years, but now he works at a long-term care home in Quebec City as a patient attendant.
With show venues shuttered for much of the last year, Vallée signed up for the province’s condensed training program for orderlies. He’s discovered a new passion, even if his new line of work has exposed him to the horrors of the pandemic.
“I’ve never seen so many people dying during this year. I saw many people dying in front of me. Just that, brings another colour to life,” Vallée said. “It’s a human experience.”
But saying goodbye to his first career after decades as a stage performer isn’t easy. He still has that itch.
“I love the job very much,” Vallée said, referring to his work in long-term care. “But I love acting very much [also]. It’s in my blood.”
It’s a dilemma facing artists across the province, including in Quebec City.