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Michel Tremblay's muse

Michel Tremblay exploded on to the stage in 1968 with his highly acclaimed and controversial play Les Belles-soeurs. His brutally honest portrayal of the Montreal working class revolutionized Quebec theatre. Writing in a street dialect called joual, Tremblay's beautifully flawed characters resonated beyond borders and languages. His works have been translated and performed in more than 20 countries, making him one of Canada's most prolific writers.

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Michel Tremblay writes about what he knows, saying he could have only written his plays in Quebec. Tremblay has been praised for his extraordinary insight into marginalized groups; women, Quebec society and the denizens of the Main - a strip of Montreal's Saint Laurent Boulevard. Women have had a particularly big impact on his life and in his work. Tremblay tells CBC's Paul Soles that he has always felt a special connection to women.

He says he finds it easier to relate to them and feels more like a woman himself. Tremblay's affiliation is so strong that he admits to avoiding beer, smoking and driving; habits he associates with men. When Soles asks about the use of joual in his work, Tremblay gets prickly saying the term is pejorative and that he prefers the term Québécois. 
. "If I lived in the U.S., I would be much, much richer but less well-known. I would make millions but no one will know me. Whereas in Quebec, I'm everybody's cousin — which I prefer." — Michel Tremblay
. The Main refers to Saint Laurent Boulevard in Montreal. The strip was once known for cheap cabarets, drag bars and colourful riffraff.

. Tremblay has described himself as pigheaded. He said he took after his mother who was dramatic and sad but loved to laugh. He said he owed his sense of humour and tragedy to her.
Medium: Television
Program: Canada After Dark
Broadcast Date: Sept. 25, 1978
Guest(s): Michel Tremblay
Host: Paul Soles
Duration: 5:30

Last updated: March 8, 2012

Page consulted on September 29, 2014

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