Tremblay, Michel 1942–

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Tremblay, Michel 1942–

PERSONAL: Born June 25, 1942, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; son of Armand (a linotype operator) and Rheauna Tremblay; Education: Attended Institut des Arts Graphiques.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Agence Goodwin, 839 Sher-brooke E., Suite 2, Montreal, Quebec H2L 1K6, Canada.

CAREER: Writer. Radio-Canada television, linotype operator, costume department, 1963–66.

MEMBER: Union of Quebec Writers, Centre des Auteurs Dramatiques (CEAD), Playwrights Union.

AWARDS, HONORS: First prize in Radio Canada's Young Author's Competition, 1964, for unpublished play Le Train; Meritas Trophy, 1970, 1972; Canada Council Award, 1971; Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play awards, Ontario Arts Council, 1972–75, 1978, 1986, and 1989, for Le Vrai Monde?; Prix Victor-Morin, Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montreal, 1974; Canadian Film Festival Award for best scenario, 1975, for Françoise Durocher, Waitress; Ontario Lieutenant-Governor's Medal, 1976 and 1977; Prix France-Quebec, Quebec Ministere des Relations Internationales, 1981, for novel Therese et Pierrette a l'ecole des Saints-Anges, and 1985, for novel La Duchesse et le Roturier; Premiere Selection, Prix Medicis, 1983; L'Ordre des arts et des lettres (France), chevalier, 1984, officier, 1991; Best Play award at Le Festival du theatre des Ameriques, 1985, for Albertine, en cinq temps; Montreal's Prix de la Critique, 1986, for Albertine, en cinq temps; Athanase-David, 1988; Prix du public au Festival de Bruxelles, 1990, for Le Coeur decouvert: Roman d'amours; Grand Prix du Public, 1990; Doctorat Honoris Causa from Concordia University, 1990, McGill University, 1991, Stirling University, Scotland, 1992, and Windsor University, Ontario, 1993; Mclean's Honor Role, 1991; Prix Jacques-Cartier Lyon, 1991; Banff National Center Award, 1993; six Canadian Arts Council grants; Governor-General's Literary Award for Translation, 1998, for Bambi and Me; Governor-General's Award for Performing Arts, 1999.



Le Train (originally broadcast by Radio Canada, 1964; first produced in Montreal, 1965), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1990.

Cinq (one-act plays; includes Berthe, Johnny Mangano and His Astonishing Dogs, and Gloria Star), first produced in Montreal, 1966, revised version published as En pieces detachees (first produced in Montreal, 1969), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1972, translation by Allan Van Meer published as Like Death Warmed Over, (produced in Winnipeg, 1973), Playwrights Co-op (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1973, translation published as Montreal Smoked Meat (produced in Toronto, 1974), Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1975, translation also produced in Vancouver as Broken Pieces, 1974.

Les Belles-Soeurs (title means "The Sisters-In-Law"; two-act play; first produced in Montreal, 1968), Holt (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1968, translation by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1974, published as The Guid Sisters (first produced in Toronto and Glasgow, 1987), Exile (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988.

La Duchesse de Langeais (two-act play), first produced in Montreal, 1970.

En pieces detachees [and] La Duchesse de Langeais, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1970.

Les Paons (one-act fantasy; first produced in Ottawa, 1971), Centre des Auteurs Dramatiques (Quebec, Canada), 1969.

Trois Petit Tours (includes television adaptations of Berthe, Johnny Mangano and His Astonishing Dogs, and Gloria Star; broadcast in 1969), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1971.

A toi, pour toujours, ta Marie-Lou (one-act play; first produced in Montreal, 1971), introduction by Michel Belair, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1971, translation by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco published as Forever Yours, Marie-Lou, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1975.

Demain matin, Montreal m'attend (title means "Tomorrow Morning, Montreal Wait for Me"; first produced in Montreal, 1972), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1972.

Hosanna (two-act; first produced in Montreal, 1973, produced on Broadway, 1981), translation by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1974.

Hosanna [and] La Duchesse de Langeais, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1973.

Bonjour, la, bonjour (title means "Hello, There, Hello"; first produced in Ottawa, 1974), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1974, translation by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco published as Bonjour, la, bonjour (produced in 1975), Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1975.

Les Heros de mon enfance (musical comedy; title means "My Childhood Heroes"; first produced in Eastman, Quebec, 1975), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1976.

Surprise! Surprise! (one-act play), first produced in Montreal, 1975.

Sainte-Carmen de la Main (two-act play; first produced in Montreal, 1976), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1976, translation by John Van Burek published as Sainte-Carmen of the Main (broadcast on BBC-Radio, 1987), Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1981.

La Duchesse de Langeais and Other Plays (includes Trois Petit Tours and Surprise! Surprise!), translations by John Van Burek, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1976.

Damnée Manon, sacrée Sandra (one-act; first produced in Montreal, 1977; produced as Sandra/Manon in Edinburgh and London, 1984), translation by John Van Burek published as Damnée Manon, sacrée Sandra (produced in United States, 1981), Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1981.

Damnée Manon, sacrée Sandra [and] Surprise! Surprise!, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1977.

L'Impromptu d'Outremont (two-act play; first produced in Montreal, 1980), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1980, translation by John Van Burek published as The Impromptu of Outremont (produced, 1981), Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1981.

Les Anciennes Odeurs (first produced in Montreal, 1981), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1981, translation by John Stowe published as Remember Me, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1984.

Les Grandes Vacances, first produced in Montreal, 1981.

Albertine, en cinq temps (first produced in Ottawa, 1984), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1984, translation by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco published as Albertine in Five Times (produced in Toronto, Edinburgh, and London, 1986), Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1987.

Le Vrai Monde? (first produced concurrently in Ottawa and Montreal, 1987), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1987, translation published as The Real World? (produced in London, 1990), Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1988.

La Maison suspendue (first produced in Montreal and Toronto, 1990), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1990, translation by John Van Burek, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1991.

Marcel poursuivi par les chiens (first produced in Montreal, 1992), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1992, translation by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1993.

Theatre I (includes ten plays), Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1991.

Encore une fois, si vous permettez: comedie en un acte, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1998, translated by Linda Gaboriau as For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again,1998.


Six heures au plus tard, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1986.


Contes pour buveurs attardes (stories), Editions du Jour (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1966, translation by Michael Bullock published as Stories for Late Night Drinkers, Intermedia Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1977.

La Cite dans l'oeuf (fantasy novel; title means "The City inside the Egg"), Editions du Jour (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1969.

C't'a ton tour, Laura Cadieux (title means "It's Your Turn, Laura Cadieux"), Editions du Jour (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1973.

La Grosse Femme d'a côte est enceinte (first novel in "Chroniques du plateau Mont-Royal" tetralogy), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1978, translation by Sheila Fischman published as The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant, Talon Books Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1981.

Therese et Pierrette a l'ecole des Saints-Anges (second in tetralogy), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1980, translation by Sheila Fischman published as Therese and Pierrette and the Little Hanging Angel, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1984.

La Duchesse et le roturier (third in tetralogy), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1982.

Des Nouvelles d'Edouard (fourth in tetralogy), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1984.

Le Coeur decouvert: Roman d'amours, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1986, translation by Sheila Fischman published as The Heart Laid Bare, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989, published as Making Room, Serpent's Tail (London, England), 1990.

Le Premier Quartier de la lune, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1989.

Douze Coups de Theatre, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1992.

Le Coeur Eclate, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1993.

En Circuit Ferme, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1994.

Quarante-quatre Minutes, Quarante-quatre Secondes, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1997.

Objet de Beaute, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1998, translated by Sheila Fischman as A Thing of Beauty, 1998.

Hotel Bristol, New York, NY, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1999.

Duchesse et le Routier, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1999, translated by Sheila Fischman as The Duchess and the Commoner, 1999.

Messe Solennelle pour une Pleine Lune d'Ete, Nick Hern Books (London, England), 2000, translated by Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay as Solemn Mass for a Full Moon in Summer, 2000.

Des Nouvelles d'Edouard, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2000, translated by Sheila Fischman as News from Edouard, 2000.

L'Homme Qui Entendait Siffler une Bouilloire, Lemeac (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2001.

Douze Coups de Theatre, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2002, translated by Sheila Fischman as Twelve Opening Acts, 2002.

Etat des Lieux, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2002, translated by Linda Gaboriau as Impromptu on Nun's Island, 2002.

Bonbons Assortis, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2002.

Le Passe Anterieur: Piece en un Act, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2003, translated by Linda Gaboriau as Past Perfect, 2004.

L'Imperatif Present, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2003.

Le Cahier Noir, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2003.

Ange Cornu avec des Ailes de Tole, Talon Books (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2003.

Some Night My Prince Will Come, Talon Books (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2004.

Passe Anterieur, Talon Books (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), in press.


(And dialogue, with Andre Brassard) Françoise Durocher, Waitress, National Film Board of Canada, 1972.

(And dialogue, with Andre Brassard) Il etait une fois dans l'est (title means "Once Upon a Time in the East"), Cine Art, 1974.

(Author of scenario and dialogue) Parlez-nous d'amour (title means "Speak to Us of Love"), Films 16, 1976.

(Author of scenario and dialogue) Le Soleil se leve en retard, Films 16, 1977.

Also author of Le Coeur decouvert, 1986, Le Grand Jour, 1988, and Le Vrai Monde?, 1991.


Messe noir (adapted from selected stories in Contes pour buveurs attardes), first produced in Montreal, 1965.

(With Andre Brassard) Lysistrata (translated and adapted from Aristophanes's play of the same title; first produced in Ottawa, 1969), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1969.

L'Effet des rayons gamma sur les vieux-garcons (translated and adapted from Paul Zindel's The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds; first produced in Montreal, 1970), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1970.

"… Et Mademoiselle Roberge boit un peu …" (three-act; translated and adapted from Paul Zindel's play And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little; first produced in Montreal, 1972), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1971.

Le Pays du Dragon (translated and adapted from four of Tennessee Williams's one-act plays), first produced in Montreal, 1971.

Mistero buffo (translated and adapted from Dario Fo's play of the same name), first produced in Montreal, 1973.

Mademoiselle Marguerite (translated and adapted from Roberto Athayde's Aparaceu a Margarida; first produced in Ottawa, 1976), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1975.

(With Kim Yaroshevskaya) Oncle Vania (translated and adapted from Anton Chekhov's play of the same name), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1983.

Le Gars de Quebec (adapted from Nikolay Gogol's Le Revizov; first produced in Montreal, 1985), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1985.

Six heures au plus tard (adapted from a work by Marc Perrier; first produced in Montreal, 1986), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1986.

Que a peur de Virginia Woolf (translated and adapted from Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf), first produced in Montreal, 1988.

Les Trompettes de la Mort (adapted from a work by Nicolas de Koning Tilly), first produced in Montreal, 1991.

Premiere de classe (adapted from a work by Casey Kurtti), first produced in Montreal, 1992.


(With Claude Paulette and Luc Noppen) Quebec, trois siecles d'architecture, Libre Expression, 1979.

Nelligan (opera libretto; produced in Montreal, 1990), Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1990.

Les Vues Animées, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1990, translation by Sheila Fischman published as Bambi and Me, Talon Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1998.

Pieces a Conviction: Entretiens avec Michel Tremblay/Luc Boulanger, Lemeac (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2001.

Also author of Bonheur d'occasion, an adaptation of a novel by Gabrielle Roy, 1977. Contributor to anthologies, including Heroines, edited by Joyce Doolittle, Players Press (Studio City, CA), 1992. Also contributor to periodicals, including La Barre de Jour. A collection of Tremblay's manuscripts is held at the Bibliotheque National du Canada, Ottawa.

ADAPTATIONS: Sainte-Carmen of the Main was adapted as a two-act opera with music by Sydney Hodkinson, libretto by Lee Devin, and published by Associated Music Publishers, 1986.

SIDELIGHTS: Michel Tremblay is "the most important Quebeçois artist of his generation," declared Salem Alaton in a Toronto Globe and Mail review. Beginning his career in the mid-1960s, the French-Canadian playwright, fiction writer, and screenwriter has become best known for dramatic works that challenge traditional myths of French-Canadian life. Indeed, for years critics have contended that Tremblay's concentration on the social and cultural problems of Quebec earned him local acclaim at the expense of more universal recognition. In the 1980s, however, Tremblay began to command an international audience. Alaton theorized that it is the "edgy, Quebeçois specificity" of Tremblay's work, once considered a liability, that has ultimately been responsible for the playwright's success. With his work widely translated and produced, Tremblay is now regarded as a world-class dramatist who, in the words of Quill and Quire reviewer Mark Czarnecki, provides a persuasive example "of the much-debated cultural proposition that the more local the reference, the more universal the truth."

Tremblay grew up in the east end of Montreal, in the working-class neighborhood of the rue Fabre. The oppressive conditions of life in this impoverished area, along with the glitzy nightlife of the Main district, later provided the backdrop for much of Tremblay's work. Despite the inauspicious environment of his youth, Tremblay began writing when quite young and was a promising student who at age thirteen received a scholarship to a classical college. Unable to endure the elitist attitudes fostered at the school, however, Tremblay left after several months to study graphic arts and become a linotype operator. He nevertheless continued to write during those years and by the time he was eighteen had completed his first play, Le Train. Several years later, in 1964, it won first prize in Radio Canada's Young Author Competition.

Shortly thereafter, Tremblay made Quebec theater history. Eschewing the classical French typically used in works for the stage, Tremblay wrote a play, Les Belles-Soeurs, in joual, the language of the people. Though Tremblay had not intended to create a political work, his use of joual—regarded by many as a debased form of the French language—signaled to his detractors and supporters alike the desire to supplant the province's traditional French culture with an independent Quebec culture. His critics decried the play while his admirers lauded it as a contribution to what is known in Quebec as the "theatre of liberation."

Written in 1965 but denied production until 1968, Les Belles-Soeurs catapulted the young dramatist to fame. The play was not radical, however, for its language alone. Les Belles-Soeurs was also controversial for its naturalistic view of French-Canadian life. Its plot is straightforward: after winning one million trading stamps, Gabriel Lauzon, an average east-end Montreal homemaker invites her women friends to a stamp-pasting gathering; by play's end, the women have turned on one another in a battle for the stamps. Les Belles-Soeurs, averred John Ripley in a critique for Canadian Literature, "explodes two centuries of popular belief, ecclesiastical teaching, and literary myth about Quebeçois women. Far from being the traditional guardians of religious and moral values, happy progenitors of large families, and good-humored housekeepers, they stand revealed as malevolent misfits, consumed with hatred of life and of themselves."

Les Belles-Soeurs is the first in what became an eleven-play cycle which, in its entirety, many critics regarded as Tremblay's finest achievement. Ripley suggested that Quebec's "recent past, characterized by a desperate struggle to replace authoritarianism, negative identity, and destructiveness with self-respect, love, and transcendence, is nowhere better encapsulated than in the Les Belles-Soeurs cycle." Ripley's sentiments were echoed by critic Renate Usmiani, who in his Studies in Canadian Literature: Michel Tremblay stated: "The most general underlying theme of all [Tremblay's] works is the universal desire of the human being to transcend his finite condition." More specifically, Usmiani proposed that the typical Tremblay character is either trying to escape from family life as represented by the rue Fabre, from the false world of the Main, or from the limitations of self into a transcendent ecstasy.

One picture of life along the rue Fabre is offered by A toi, pour toujours, ta Marie-Lou. Deemed "a devastating psycho-social analysis of the traditional working-class Quebeçois family" by Ripley, the play presents four characters juxtaposed in two different time periods. Marie-Louise is a homemaker whose problems manifest themselves as sexual frigidity and religious fanaticism; Leopold, her husband, is a factory worker who becomes an alcoholic. Their marriage, according to Ripley, "is a sado-masochistic battle with no prospect of victory for either side," and thus Leopold ends their lives in a suicidal car crash. The drama progresses as, ten years later, their daughters discuss the tragedy and its impact on their lives. Manon, still living in the family home, has remained loyal to her mother and taken refuge in a similar fanaticism, seemingly unable to save herself. For Carmen, who has managed to make a life for herself as a singer in the Main district, there appears to be some hope. Both characters return in subsequent plays.

Although Leopold and Marie-Louise die to escape the rue Fabre, Tremblay's pen finds others searching for alternatives in the world of the Main. For them, "the Main stands for glamour, freedom, life itself," asserted Usmiani. Typified by prostitutes and transvestites, however, the Main, in Usmiani's opinion, "turns out to be ultimately as inbred, frustrating and limiting, in its own kinky way, as the petty household world around rue Fabre." La Duchesse de Langeais and Hosanna, whose title characters seek escape from reality in homosexuality, provide two examples. The former is a dramatic monologue delivered by the Duchess, an aging transvestite prostitute who has been rejected by a younger lover. Ripley theorized that the Duchess has chosen to "escape from male impotence" by "the adoption of a role precisely the opposite of the one normally expected." Cast aside by his young partner, however, the Duchess fails to find satisfaction and remains an essen-tially pathetic character. More optimistically, Hosanna finds lovers Hosanna (Claude), who is forever role-playing, and Cuirette (Raymond) beginning to communicate after a particularly humiliating crisis. They are eventually able to discard their female personas and accept themselves as male homosexuals, freely admitting their love for one another. In so doing, according to Ripley, the two realize that although they are different, they still have a place in the world.

In Damnée Manon, sacrée Sandra, the final play of the cycle, Tremblay moves away from the nightmare of family life and illusions of the Main to explore the possibility of fulfillment through mysticism. The drama unfolds through the monologues of two characters. Manon, from the earlier A toi, pour toujours, ta Marie-Lou, represents an attempt at transcendence through religious mysticism. Sandra, who also appeared previously in Tremblay's work, is a transvestite who seeks transcendence through sex. Both now live on the rue Fabre, as they did in childhood, and during the course of the play each comes to appreciate that the other has chosen a different path toward the same goal. Usmiani described the two characters as "physical incarnations, exteriorizations, of the two paths toward ecstasy conceived by the author," adding that on one level their world "is not a physical reality on the rue Fabre, but the psychological reality of the poet's own mind." The critic concluded that in Tremblay's work "there is no transcendence beyond that which the self can provide."

By the time Tremblay finished the Belles-Soeurs cycle in 1977, the political climate in Quebec had improved, and he gave permission, previously withheld, for his plays to be produced in English in Quebec. At this juncture he also switched genres, beginning work on a series of semi-autobio-graphical novels. The playwright's venture into fiction has been successful, and thus far, at least two of the volumes in his "Chroniques du plateau Mont-Royal" tetralogy have been translated into English. The first volume in the series, La Grosse Femme d'a côte est enceinte, was translated as The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant. Not only are the characters of this novel residents of the rue Fabre, as in so many of Tremblay's dramas, but the fat woman of the title is Tremblay's mother, and the story is based on the author's recollections of life in the apartment of his birth. Quill and Quire reviewer Czarnecki contended that The Fat Woman's one-day time frame achieves "a similar effect" to that of James Joyce's famed Ulysses. Reviewing for the same publication, Philip Stratford called The Fat Woman "a generous, good-natured fresco teeming with life and invention." Regarded as both funny and sentimental, the book became a best-seller in Quebec.

Its sequel, Therese et Pierrette a l'ecole des Saints-Anges, translated as Therese and Pierrette and the Little Hanging Angel, also fared well, winning the prestigious Prix France-Quebec in 1981. Set during a four-day time period, the volume concentrates on three eleven-year-old students at the École des Saints-Anges, a Roman Catholic girls' school. In this novel censuring the religious education system, Tremblay exhibits "epic gifts," in Czarnecki's opinion, that "extend to capturing life in its smallest details, creating an imaginative world complete in itself, ready to immerse and rebaptize the reader."

Tremblay concluded his tetralogy with La Duchesse et le Roturier in 1982 and Des Nouvelles d'Edouard in 1984. During the 1980s, however, Tremblay also returned to writing plays. Although some critics regard his dramas of the eighties as unequal to his earlier work, many of them appraise the 1987 Le Vrai Monde? as his best.

In this play Tremblay looks back to 1965, to his own beginning as an artist, and questions what right he had to use the lives of family and friends in service to his art. Calling it both "an expression of guilt" and "an eloquent statement about the relationship between art and life," Globe and Mail critic Matthew Fraser found Le Vrai Monde? "a masterful piece of drama." Another reviewer for the Globe and Mail, Ray Conlogue, contended that it is "a formidable play" in which Tremblay tries "to defend his art." In his interview for the Toronto paper with Alaton, Tremblay offered a slightly different perspective, telling the critic: "It is almost a condemnation of what an artist does to real life." And when Alaton asked him why he wrote, the dramatist responded: "Maybe I am an artist because artists give purpose to a thing which has not purpose, which is life…. You put [a play] before 500 people every night and you say, 'Sometimes, this is what life might mean.' And people who live the same nonsense life as you understand this."

Tremblay's 1990 play La Maison Suspendue departs from other Tremblay plays in that it is set in rural Quebec rather than in Montreal. In the play, three generations of a family endure life in a big house in the country. The generations are bound together by an eleven-year-old boy, who appears as the same person in each generation. "La Maison Suspendue is about the ways in which a family creates and recreates itself through stories," remarked Books in Canada contributor Ann Jansen. Writing in Canadian Literature, Neal Carson noted, "The play can be read as a story of family conflict and reconciliation, or even as an expression of the author's own regrets and apprehensions as he reaches late middle age."

In Les Vues animées, Tremblay presents a dozen autobiographical narratives, each centered around a particular movie. "With this charming collection of short, autobiographical narratives, Tremblay affirms his double debt to the cinema as spiritual mother of his creative awakening and catalyst of the initiatory phases of his early years," commented Constantina Mitchell in Canadian Literature. Discussing the work with David Homel of Books in Canada, Tremblay explained, "I wanted to write a coming-of-age book using the movies. Each chapter was like a step forward for the character, a discovery—of fear, of sexuality, of art—and that thematic aspect saved me from nostalgia."

Commenting on Tremblay's contribution to French-Canadian literature, Marie Claire Blais noted in Time International that "sensitivity and compassion are precisely the qualities that make Michel Tremblay's work so universal, humane and understanding…. He has the gift of speaking to us all, giving voice to our truest feelings with the greatest simplicity and directness. He sees through our eyes and speaks with our words, however distinct we are from one another."



Anthony, Geraldine, Stage Voices: Twelve Canadian Playwrights Talk about Their Lives and Work, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1978, pp. 275-91.

Belair, Michel, Michel Tremblay, Press de L'Universite du Quebec, 1972.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 29, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1984.

Contemporary World Writers, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1993.

Dargnat, Mathilde, Michel Tremblay, Harmattan (Paris, France), 2002.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 60: Canadian Writers since 1960, Second Series, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1987.

Gay and Lesbian Literature, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.

Godin, Jean-Cleo, and Laurent Mailhot, Le Theatre quebeçois, HMH (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1970, pp. 191-202.

International Dictionary of Theatre, Volume 2: Playwrights, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.

Massey, Irving, Identity And Community: Reflections on English, Yiddish, and French Literature in Canada, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.

Usmiani, Renate, Michel Tremblay: A Critical Study, Douglas & McIntyre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1981.

Usmiani, Renate, Studies in Canadian Literature: Michel Tremblay, Douglas & McIntyre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1982.


Americas, September-October 1995, Barbara Mujica, review of Un Ange Corneau avec Ailes de Tole p. 62.

Books in Canada, January-February, 1986; February, 1992, pp. 16, 28; March, 1995, p. 38.

Canadian Drama, number 2, 1976, pp. 206-218.

Canadian Literature, summer, 1980; autumn, 1992, p. 171; spring, 1993, p. 134.

Canadian Theatre Review, fall, 1979, pp. 12-37.

Chicago Tribune, March 8, 1980.

Essays on Canadian Writing, number 11, 1978.

Globe and Mail, November 16, 1986; April 25, 1987; October 3, 1987.

Maclean's, April 30, 1984; April 22, 1985; March 19, 1990, p. 56; December 30, 1991, pp. 36-37; December 30, 1991, p. 36.

New York Times, December 11, 1983.

Perspectives, February 17, 1973, pp. 6-9.

Quebec Studies, number 4, 1986.

Quill and Quire, February, 1982; April, 1982; June, 1984; January, 1995, p. 38.

Studies in Canadian Literature, Volume 14, number 2, 1989.

Time International, December 6, 2002, Marie Clair Blais, "Passionate Humanist: Michel Tremblay," p. 53.

Variety, January 24, 1994, p. 76.

Washington Post, June 22, 1978.