Jacques Languirand

Jacques Languirand, dramatist, essayist (born 1 May 1931 in Montréal, Québec; died 26 January 2018). In the 1950s and 1960s he was Canada's most important exponent of the theatre of the absurd, having been much influenced by playwrights in vogue during his stay in Paris, 1949-53.

Several of his dramatic texts were performed on radio in Montréal before his first stage play, Les Insolites, which was performed in 1956 (pub 1962) and awarded the prize for best Canadian play at the Dominion Drama Festival.

Other successes were Les Grands Départs (1958) and the musical comedy Klondyke (1970). Although his plays focus on the isolation of the individual in a modern society bereft of traditional values, they failed to attract Québec audiences after the onset of the Quiet Revolution. Languirand has since abandoned theatre in favour of more esoteric pursuits in works such as his mystical La Voie initiatique (1978) and Mater Materia (1980). 

The host of a number of radio and television shows, he was appointed member of the Order of Canada in 1987.


Further Reading

  • M. Genuist, Languirand et l'absurde (1982).