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Drama Canadian

Straight Jacket Winter

by (author) Esther Duquette & Gilles Poulin-Denis

Playwrights Canada Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2019
Canadian, Women Authors
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2019
    List Price

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When Esther and Gilles decided to move from Montréal to Vancouver, they didn’t expect their lives to change so starkly. All they wanted was to start a new life for themselves, to find new artistic opportunities. But their new home proves to be a challenging culture shock as the young couple struggles to connect with others, navigate their language barrier, and cope with non-stop rain. These blocks become walls, cutting Gilles and Esther off from the world, and with cabin fever comes erratic behaviour. They find themselves being torn apart, divided by their yearning to go back to their old life and the desire to stay. But how long can two people be everything for each other before they lose themselves completely?

This beautiful story mixes whimsy and disturbance as a couple looks over their motivations for a fresh start, delivering a charming meditation on isolation.

About the authors

Esther Duquette has been the artistic director of Théâtre la Seizième since 2016. A graduate of the Université du Québec à Montréal in journalism with a specialization in theatre and literature, she centres her practice on artistic counselling, directing, and dramaturgy. Her first play, Straight Jacket Winter, has been presented across Canada from 2016 to 2019. The recipient of the Prix Roland Mahé-Banque Nationale, Esther has also received three Jessie Richardson Theatre Award nominations for her work. She co-founded Vancouver-based company 2PAR4 in 2015, and has sat on the board of a number of artistic companies and associations since 2012. She currently lives in Vancouver.

Esther Duquette's profile page

Originally from Saskatchewan, Gilles Poulin‑Denis is a writer, translator, director and actor. He is a graduate of the acting program at UQAM’s École supérieure de théâtre. His first play, Rearview, premiered in 2009 by La Troupe du Jour (Saskatoon), was a hit at Zones Théâtrales 2009 and on tour. It was published by Dramaturges Éditeurs, won the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, and was staged in English and French across Canada and in Belgium. His second play, Statu quo, was workshopped at Zones Théâtrales 2011 and presented by NAC French Theatre as part of its series for young audiences, and toured across Canada.As NAC French Theatre’s playwright in residence from 2008 to 2011, under the artistic directorship of Wajdi Mouawad, Gilles developed his third play, Dehors, which was given staged readings at, among other events, the Festival du Jamais Lu (Montreal), the Carrefour international de Québec, Dramaturgie en Dialogue and most recently during Zones Théâtrales 2015. The production was part of the 2016-2017 programming of Théâtre Cercle Molière, Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui and NAC French Theatre. In 2015, he presented his fourth play, Straight Jacket Winter, a text written with Esther Duquette presented at the Carrefour international de theatre and NAC French French Theatre among others. Gilles participated in the development of Après la peur by Armel Roussel / (e)Utopia3 (Brussels), coproduced by the Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui (Montreal) and Les Tanneurs. He is a founding member of the theatre collective Les petites cellules chaudes, with which he cocreated the iShow, presented at Zones 2013.He is one of nine playwrights with Jean Marc Dalpé, Alexis Martin and Yvette Nolan that developed Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show, a NAC French Theatre coproduction about the Métis struggle in Western Canada, which was presented at the NAC in October 2017. His latest, Ce qu’on attend de moi, developed with Philippe Cyr, was presented at Théâtre Aux Écuries, Usine C, Théâtre la Seizième and Théâtre français du CAN.Gilles is currently based in Vancouver, where he is the artistic director and cofounder of Productions 2PAR4. He is the new Artistic Director of Zones Théâtrales.

Gilles Poulin-Denis' profile page

Editorial Reviews

“The play provides an interesting and especially immersive take on the struggles of relocating to a city with a completely different culture and set of values.”

Salomon Micko Benrimoh, The Ubyssey

“Beautifully vulnerable.”

Dale MacDonald, Daily Hive Vancouver

“I wish everyone could make art this compelling from the tough seasons in their lives. Straight Jacket Winter transforms its deeply personal source material into joyously transcendent theatre.”

Kathleen Oliver, Georgia Straight

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