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Drama Women Authors

Darwin in a Day

by (author) Evelyne de la Chenelière

translated by Nigel Spencer

Playwrights Canada Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2015
Women Authors, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 11 to 14
  • Grade: 9 to 12


School is out for the summer, and twelve-year-old Julien has an adventure planned in his own backyard. Through sleight of hand, he’s found a way to convince each member of his family he’s away with someone else, leaving him alone in Montreal to get into trouble with his best friend Jacques. Being well-off hasn't prevented Julien from getting sucked into a pyramid scheme, and he’s taking Jacques along for the ride, even though his friend is broke.

But maybe this is a chance for Jacques to get himself out of the hole and buy a new bike, or have his sick dog put down, or send his grandmother to a retirement home. The possibilities seem endless. But the boys are learning a lesson in the best laid plans, and when they discover they’re in trouble, they must figure a way out together, and fast.

As Jacques and Julien cycle through various scenarios to disentangle themselves, they struggle to find common ground, only to realize time is up. Inspired by Darwin’s theory of evolution, Darwin in a Day asks with new urgency the age-old question: are we bound to the circumstances to which we were born?

About the authors

Evelyne de la Chenelière, Montreal-based author and actress, has written plays staged in Quebec and abroad that have been translated and published in several languages. Her collection of plays, Désordre public, won the Governor General’s Literary Award for French Drama in 2006, while her plays Les pieds des anges, La chair et autres fragments de l’amour, and La vie utile were nominated in 2009, 2012, and 2019 respectively. Her play Bashir Lazhar was adapted to filmby Philippe Falardeau and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Academy Awards. The Académie des lettres du Québec awarded La vie utile the Marcel Dubé Prize in 2021, and the play will be produced in German in 2022 at Landungsbrücken Frankfurt. Evelyne’s first feature film is currently in development with micro_scope and her new play will be presented in the 2021/2022 season at Théâtre Denise-Pelletier in Montreal.

Evelyne de la Chenelière's profile page

Nigel Spencer's work includes acting, directing, teaching, educational research and training, journalism, subtitling and co-scripting films, as well as script-doctoring.

He taught the first bilingual graduate course on Comparative Canadian Dramaturgy (l'Université de Sherbrooke), and a performance-based course on Shakespeare at the State University of New York (Plattsburgh).

He has published six books of translated work by Marie-Claire Blais, including Thunder and Light, Augustino and the Choir of Destruction, and Mai at the Predators' Ball, which earned him three Governor General's Literary Awards for Translation.

His theatre translations include three plays by Evelyne de la Chenelière, one of which, September, will be produced by Canadian Stage in Toronto in 2020.

Nigel Spencer's profile page

Other titles by Evelyne de la Chenelière

Other titles by Nigel Spencer