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Drama Canadian

The Death of René Lévesque

by (author) David Fennario

Initial publish date
Sep 2003
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2003
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In taking on “The Matter of Québec,” David Fennario provides audiences and readers with an abiding critique of the notion that history is created around “great causes” by “great men.” Given the recent reversal of fortune delivered to the tempestuous sound and fury of the Québec separatist movement, The Death of René Lévesque is, in retrospect, more than an astonishingly profound and prophetic political document.

Showcasing the surprising theatrical range and virtuosity of the author of Canada’s first bilingual?though definitely not bicultural?working-class hit, Balconville, The Death of René Lévesque dramatizes the rise and fall of Canada’s most tragic public figure of the 20th century. Fennario’s deft and subtle characterization of the father of the Parti Québecois, his re-telling of the compromising political realities which formed both the movement and the party as Lévesque created it, and the gradual revelation of the fatal flaw which began to undermine both the man and his dream of a new republic, proceed here with a stately, devastating inevitability which recall the masterful tragedies of Euripides and Shakespeare.

The Death of René Lévesque presents its audience with the powerful and cathartic stillbirth of a nation, stripped of both pity and fear, as only an Anglophone Québec separatist could possibly imagine it.

Cast of two women and four men.

About the author

Anglophone playwright born David Wiper in Montreal, Quebec, 1947. He was raised in the working class district of Pointe-St-Charles, an area he would make the centre of most of his plays. He was one of six children, his father was a housepainter. His pen name, given to him by a girlfriend, was part of a Bob Dylan song, “Pretty Peggy-O.” David Fennario has described his life as: Born on the Avenues in the Verdun-Pointe Saint Charles working-class district of Montreal; one of six kids growing up in Duplessis’ Quebec, repressed, depressed, oppressed and compressed. “School was a drag. My working experience turned me into a raving Red calling for world revolution. The process of becoming a political activist gave me the confidence to be a writer. Up to then, I thought only middle-class people could become artists, because they were not stupid like working-class people, who were working-class because they were stupid. But reading Socialist literature convinced me that working-class people can change themselves and the world around them. We are not chained to fate, Freud, God, gender or a genetic code. We can make ourselves into what we want. I’ve been trying my best to do that ever since, and have had some success as a playwright and a prose writer.?

David Fennario's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"When a final analysis is made of 20th-century Canadian theatre, the most significant political playwright will undoubtly be David Fennario."

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