Assorted Candies for the Theatre is a stage adaptation of Michel Tremblay’s fourth book of autobiographical sketches, Bonbons Assortis / Assorted Candies, offering a rich and colourful cast of characters in this exquisite remembrance of childhood past in Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood. Much more than a mere adaptation of a prose memoir for the stage, in re-crafting his characters from the realm of thought and memory to the present action of the theatre, Tremblay generously reveals how it’s done. Here is the beginning of the narrator’s opening speech from the play:
Memory is a mirror that chooses what it wants to reflect. Memory is a mirror that distorts. And cheats. And lies. Memory can embellish things or make them ugly, it interprets as it sees fit and draws its own conclusions. And all too often our memory leads us down paths that our conscience would advise us to avoid, but those paths seem so promising and irresistible. Memory revives events that never happened and obliterates important facts, it emphasizes the most absurd trivia and chooses to forget essential details. In short, our memory fabricates a distorted image of the past, then imposes it as gospel truth when it’s really just a sketchy interpretation—but always more interesting, livelier and more vivid than reality. Memory is the mother of invention. And the big sister of imagination.
One of the most produced and the most prominent playwrights in the history of Canadian theatre, Michel Tremblay has received countless prestigious honours and accolades. His dramatic, literary and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity, including translations of his plays that have achieved huge success in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.
Awards and Recognition*
Prix du Grand (2009) La Traversée de la ville (Leméac Editeur Inc.)
Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix (2006)
Globe and Mail Top 100 Books (2003) Birth of a Bookworm
Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play (2000) For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again
Chalmers Awards (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1986, 1989, 2000)
Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (1999)
Molson Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts (1994)
Louis-Hémon Prize (1994)
Montreal Book Fair Grand Public Prize (1994)
Banff Centre National Award (1992)
Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France (1991)
Chevalier of the Order of Quebec (1990)
San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Festival Long-Standing Public Service Award (1989)
CBC Anik Prize (1988)
Athanase-David Lifetime Achievement Prize (1988)
Quebec-Paris Prize (1985)
Chevalier of Arts and Letters of France (1984).
Linda Gaboriau is an award-winning literary translator based in Montreal. Her translations of plays by Quebec’s most prominent playwrights have been published and produced across Canada and abroad. In her work as a literary manager and dramaturge, she has directed numerous translation residencies and international exchange projects. She was the founding director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. Most recently she won the 2010 Governor General’s Award for Forests, her translation of the play by Wajdi Mouawad.
“It’s vintage Tremblay (out-Prousting Proust), filled with primal privations and inspirations of awe, a family’s love and terrors, the stuff that makes a writer a writer: Family. Church. Lust. Poverty. The whole enthralling works.”
—Globe and Mail