Alongside his dozens of fascinating and award-winning plays, and in addition to this great Chronicles of the Plateau Mont-Royal series of six epic novels, his translations, adaptations, librettos, and acute portrayals of human emotions in a state of both crisis and redemption, Michel Tremblay has left his readers with three magical keys to the secrets of his great literary achievements.
The first of these, Bambi and Me [Les Vues animés, Leméac, 1990], is a memoir of the movies that shaped his imagination as a child-those he watched in fascination and spent hours deconstructing with his mother, and those he watched on his own.
The second, Twelve Opening Acts [Douze Coups de Théâtre, Leméac, 1992], is an account of Tremblay’s discovery of the theatre as an adolescent: from his first breathtaking recognition of how the imagination is actually a public construct, while watching a performance of Babar the Elephant at the age of six; to his winning of the CBC drama competition with his first play, Le Train.
Between these parenthetical stories, Michel Tremblay offers the reader an entrance into his discovery of the theatricality of life itself-the personal dramas of his homosexuality, the death of his mother, the increasingly frail withdrawing of his father, even the completely unintentional, almost apolitical creation of his nationalist awareness-are recounted in narratives at once devoid of judgment, but at the same time ennobled with a complexity and intensity of passion operatic in its scope and merciless in its sweep.
This is the most ruthless and unsparing, yet tender and evocative insight Tremblay has ever offered into the creation of his literary genius.
About the authors
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)
John Van Burek
John Van Burek has been a practising theatre artist for over 20 years, in both French and English, throughout Canada. He has also worked in the fields of opera, film and television. He is also one of Canada’s leading translators for theatre, most notably of Michel Tremblay’s plays, including Les Belles-Soeurs (Talonbooks). Mr. Van Burek has received several awards and citations for his work, including the Toronto Drama Bench Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Canadian Theatre.
Born in Quebec, William Grant (?Bill”) Glassco was a Canadian theatre director, producer and founder of Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre. He then became the artistic director of the CentreStage Theatre Company which merged, in 1988, with the Toronto Free Theatre to become CanStage. In 1982, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
- Short-listed, Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation