War Cantata looks at ways the impulse for violence is transmitted from one generation to the next; for example, when a father teaches his son hatred to transform him into a soldier impervious to pity. Without focusing on a particular battle or soldier, this harsh, intense, choral text builds the rhythmic power of words to expose war's spiral toward hatred.
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. Thanks to an uninterrupted succession of new plays (Anatomy Lesson, Ogre, The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi, Les Mains bleues, Téléroman, among others) in production during the 1990s, Tremblay’s work continues to achieve international recognition. 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 1993-1999 and was also the co-director of the Banff playRites Colony and director of the Contemporary Opera and Song Training Program from 1997-2000. 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, 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.
"This is a powerful work, mesmerizing, painful."
– Karyne Lefebvre, CBC/Radio-Canada
"It is rough, it's brutal, it comes as a string of gunshots ..."
– Annie-Soleil Proteau, CBC/Radio-Canada
"With War Cantata, Larry Tremblay delivers a great theatrical text that talks about the mechanics of hatred: hard, visceral, and uncompromising ..."
– Yves Rousseau, LeQuatrième.com
"With a vocabulary that does not fear ugliness and vulgarity, Larry Tremblay creates a state of emergency without wallowing in pathos. His writing digs into pain while providing relevant reflection. In its happy fusion between emotion and thought, he traces the contours between commitment and poetry ... [between] the weight of savagery and the hardness of a crippled civilization."
– Olivier Dumas, Montheatre.qc.ca