Talking Bodies collects Larry Tremblay’s four stunning and memorable solo performances for the stage. Thematically related, each deals with the reconstruction of an identity which, through trauma, illusion, accident or destiny, has been threatened, destabilized, broken or dispersed.
It is the body in which any identity finds its origin, but it is only in that body’s gestures, the most complex of which is language, that this construct of identity can be elaborated. Each of these characters is a body placed on a stage where it enacts both its limitations and its possibilities with its words.
With an introduction by Jane M. Moss.
Talking Bodies includes:
A Trick of Fate
A man loses a tooth eating a chocolate éclair, then all his teeth, his tongue, a finger, and finally his head, as his body increasingly abandons its “ordinary” place in the world.
A professor re-examines and dissects her long relationship with her abusive, slick, lawyer-politician husband.
The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi
Forty years after a trauma-induced aphasia, a man loses his maternal French and awakes from a dream reinventing his life in English words using French syntax.
In this biting media satire, a thoroughly odious character’s actions become ever more disgusting as he increasingly believes a hidden camera is recording his every move.
About the authors
Larry Tremblay is a writer, director, actor and specialist in Kathakali, an elaborate dance theatre form which he has studied on numerous trips to India. He has published twenty books as a playwright, poet, novelist and essayist.
The recent publication of Talking Bodies (Talonbooks, 2001) brought together four of his plays in English translation. He played the role of Léo in his own play Le Déclic du destin in many festivals in Brazil and Argentina. The play received a new production in Paris in 1999 and was highly successful at the Festival Off in Avignon in 2000.
Thanks to an uninterrupted succession of new plays (Anatomy Lesson, Ogre, The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi, Les Mains bleues and Téléroman, among others) in production during the 1990s, Tremblay’s work continues to achieve international recognition.
His plays, premiered for the most part in Montreal, have also been produced, often in translation, in Italy, France, Belgium, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Argentina and Scotland. In 2001, Le Ventriloque had three separate productions in Paris, Brussels and Montreal; it has since been translated into numerous languages.
More recently, Tremblay collaborated with Welsh Canadian composer John Metcalf on a new opera, A Chair in Love, a concert version of which premiered in Montreal in April 2005. One of Quebec’s most versatile writers, Tremblay currently teaches acting at l’École supérieure de théâtre de l’Université du Québec à Montréal.
Keith Turnbull served as the artistic director of Theatre Arts programs at the Banff Centre for the Arts from 1993 to 1999 and was also the co-director of the Banff playRites Colony and director of the Contemporary Opera and Song Training Program from 1997 to 2000. His career as a director, producer, designer and dramaturge is highlighted by a commitment to contemporary and new work in both theatre and opera.
In addition, Turnbull has a particular interest in the pedagogy, performance practice and interpretation of the works of Shakespeare and of other language-based texts. He has directed more than seventy plays at various theatres throughout the world.
Turnbull also founded a First Nations theatre company from which emerged many of Canada’s most noted Native performers. He was the founding co-artistic director of the Toronto Theatre Festival and the president of the Toronto Theatre Alliance, as well as a board member of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association. He has taught at the University of Manitoba, the National Theatre School, the University of Calgary and the Banff Centre for the Arts.