Crossing the romantic and theatrical works of Michel Tremblay around the fates of three women of the same parentage – Victoire, Albertine and Thérèse – Alice Ronfard has created a dizzying fresco that brings together 75 characters. The crossing of the centuryReleased August 23 by Leméac, reflects the flow of spectacle in six 12-hour scenes staged at seven Montreal theaters.
Director André Brassard had the idea for this grandiose project a few years ago. He accompanied Alice Ronfard on this adventure until his death in October 2022 and commissioned her to continue and complete the work.
The 12-hour, six-tableau River show first performed at the Espace Libre Theater in August 2022 and will perform in seven Montreal theaters through June 2024.
Michel Tremblay is delighted to receive this recognition.
“It is very touching that people who are much younger than me are interested in what I have been doing for more than 50 years. It really touches me a lot. There is currently an amateur troupe in LaSarre performing Les Belles-Sœurs. They had 3000 spectators. It is still exceptional for a piece that is now almost 60 years old! he comments in an interview.
This work hasn’t aged a bit. “Well, I can’t say that! “.
La Traversée du siècle can be translated into a book with more than 400 pages.
“The idea came from Brassard, who contacted me at the beginning to say: I want to collect everything you have written about the Duchess of Langeais and put on a play,” explains Michel Tremblay. “He wasn’t talking about a 12-hour affair at the time… I said, well, go ahead, do whatever you want.”
“Then he got sick. And as Alice says in the book, they met and decided to talk about everything I wrote, not just the Duchess. »
A colossal project. “When I met Alice at the premiere and she told me she wanted to do a 12 hour show, I said, ‘You’re crazy! Let’s see! That can’t be. No one is going to sit on a theater bench for 12 hours. »
“She said to me: trust me… you’ll see what I’ll do. And she still spent three years of her life rereading cases, eliminating cases and adding to them. It is the work of a monk, exceptional archival work. And even almost archaeology! »
“When she came up with the idea of doing the show about the three women – the grandmother, the daughter, the granddaughter – I think she got lucky. When she decided to focus on that, she was able to write a story that lasted 12 hours. It is three blocks of four hours each, beginning with the story of Jehoshaphat and ending with the fat woman’s death. »
I am very touched
When Michel Tremblay first saw the show, he had a very strong reaction.
“I cried for 12 hours, from 10am to 10pm. It was so touching and the actors were so great. »
“To see the actors of two or even three generations after me taking an interest in what I was doing and playing my characters in such an extraordinary way, it blew me away. I really cried for 12 hours. It really is a theatrical journey that we pay for: we live the adventure and let ourselves go the whole time. »
Michel Tremblay adds that he really felt André Brassard’s “presence” in the theatre. “All excerpts from plays are plays that he directed, that he created, that he brought into the world. Everyone thought of him. »
♦ Michel Tremblay is a playwright and a prolific columnist who has published more than 70 books of all genres: novels, short stories, plays, musicals, opera libretti.
♦ In 2018 he received the Grand Prix de la Francophonie of the French Academy.
♦ His theater has been performed and celebrated in around thirty countries for more than 50 years.
♦ Alice Ronfard has produced more than 60 productions and is one of the great architects of Quebec dramaturgy.
♦ She is the daughter of director Jean-Pierre Ronfard and writer Marie Cardinal.
“ NARRATIVE. Four invisible women are knitting on the shore of Lac Long. Rose, Violette, Mauve and their mother Florence are knitting baby legs. In this still painting, only the hands are moving. A purl stitch, a knit stitch, green wool, blue wool or yellow or pink. Florence, the mother, supervises the work without a word, because you have to wait until the evening, at bedtime, in complete darkness, with the pierced eye of the moon as the only witness, to speak… Only Florence can say anything. tell everyone Explain ? NO. Tell. Victory’s family. »