Oct 8, 2018
Michel Tremblay was born in Montreal in 1942. He studied graphic arts and became a linotypist like his father and brother. He wrote his first play Le Train in 1959 and with it won the 1964 Radio Canada Young Author's Competition. But it was his second play Les Belles-Sœurs that established him as an important writer - the first play to use Joual and feature working class women on the stage, the first of a cycle of plays set in the Plateau Mont Royal district of Montreal. He went on to write a series of novels chronicling life in the Plateau. Throughout his work he examines the difficulties and issues facing homosexuals.
Over 50 years he has produced some 36 novels, 26 plays, three musical comedies, three books of short stories, seven film scripts and 3000 characters. His plays have been produced all around the world and he has been awarded the title of Chevalier d'l'ordre des Arts et des lettres de France and the Prix David from Quebec for his body of work.
We met in Montreal and talked largely about his play Hosanna, but also about him being Quebec's Balzac, le petit peuple de Montreal, writing dialogue in Joual, the experimental 70s, hating the Quebecois movie Cain, swearing hockey players, the Sheila Fischman, Les Belles-Sœurs, Le Refus Global, incarnating yourself inside your characters, fantastical stories, women's critiques of society, Quebec's identity crisis, Rene Lesveque, Pierre Trudeau, Mordecai Richler, the importance of movies and Fellini's 8 1/2.