Bouchard, Michel Marc

Michel Marc Bouchard, playwright, actor (b at St-Coeur de Marie, Qué 2 Feb 1958). After graduating from Université d'Ottawa in theatre studies, he worked in various Franco-Ontarian theatres as dramaturge and actor. His first play, Les Porteurs d'eau, was staged by the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario in Sudbury in 1981, followed by La Contre-Nature de Chrysippe Tanguay, écologiste (1983), which attracted much positive attention from critics. It portrays a homosexual couple in confrontation with society's traditional norms as they seek to adopt a child.

Bouchard's greatest success to date came with Les Feluettes (1987), translated as Lilies (1988) and now considered one of the major works of modern Canadian theatre (it won both the Dora Mavor Moore Award and the Chalmers Award for Best Play in 1991). Brilliantly original in structure (comprising a play within a play within a play), Les Feluettes deals - as does most of Bouchard's drama - with idealistic homosexuality in conflict with narrow religious and moral values in the Québec of 1912 and 1953. On a metaphoric level it also depicts a confrontation between evolving present-day attitudes towards sexual orientation and those of Québec before its QUIET REVOLUTION of the 1960s. It has played with great success at the NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE in Ottawa, in Montréal, Toronto and elsewhere in Canada; in France, Italy and Holland; in Mexico (where it was awarded the prize for best play) and Uruguay; and it has been translated into several languages. An English-language film version was completed in 1996.

Bouchard is the author of more than 20 plays, most of which have been produced professionally. Most notable are La Poupée de Pélopia (1984), Les Muses orphelines (1988), which completed a 9-week tour of Québec in 1995-96, and the political allegory Le Voyage du Couronnement (1995). Le Chemin des Passes-Dangereuses received mixed reviews on its performance in Montréal in February/March 1998, but 2 years later his 25th play, Sous le regard des mouches, described by the author as "a philosophical tale on the topic of death," enjoyed a more positive reception.

Bouchard was artistic director of Ottawa's Trillium Theatre from 1989 to 1991 and is currently vice-president of Montréal's prestigious Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui.