Larry Tremblay

Larry Tremblay, playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, stage director, actor, teacher (b at Chicoutimi, Qué 17 April 1954). Larry Tremblay received a masters degree in drama in 1983 from the Université du Québec à Montréal, where he later began to teach acting.

Larry Tremblay

Larry Tremblay, playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, stage director, actor, teacher (b at Chicoutimi, Qué 17 April 1954). Larry Tremblay received a masters degree in drama in 1983 from the Université du Québec à Montréal, where he later began to teach acting. He has produced a prolific body of work that explores the wellsprings of psychic and social violence. His texts are often dreamlike and fantastic, yet crisp and vivid in image and rhythm.

Several plays are monologues in which characters confront episodes of profound psychological trauma through a spiral-like process of disavowal and revelation. In Le Déclic du destin (1988), a single male actor progressively loses parts of his body as he relates his life's adventures. In The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi (1995), Gaston Talbot, a "child in an adult body," awakens from aphasia to discover that he has lost his native French language and speaks only a stilted idiomatic English that retains traces of French syntax. The powerful exploration of sexual and national trauma, and their interweaving around the symptom of language loss, is responsible for making this one of Tremblay's most studied plays, with an edition including five critical essays published in 2005. In 2004, he wrote Panda, Panda; in 2006 L'histoire d'un coeur, followed by Le problème avec moi, in 2007; and in 2008 the very popular play Abraham Lincoln va au théâtre.

In other plays, including Leçon d'anatomie (1992) and La Hache (2006), one of the two characters remains mute. La Hache, in which a distraught literature professor pays a night-time visit to a student whose very silence confirms the futility of his literary ideals, is also published as a short story (récit) in Piercing (2006). The work is a reflection on the potentially murderous consequences of the obsession with purity in any form.

In collaboration with Welsh composer John Metcalf, Larry Tremblay has also written the libretto, in English, for the comic opera A Chair in Love (2005), loosely inspired by Norman MACLAREN's short film, A Chairy Tale.

Larry Tremblay has studied South Indian kathakali dance theatre, and its emphasis on rhythm and gesture is palpable throughout his work. In La Femme aux peupliers (1982), rhythm is foregrounded by each rejoinder being strictly less than one line long.

Tremblay discusses issues of his technique more generally in Le Crâne des théâtres, essais sur les corps de l'acteur (1993). His work has been translated into English, including Talking Bodies (2001), a collection of four of his plays, as well as into German, Italian, Spanish, and Tamil. His plays have been performed in Canada, Mexico, India and in Europe and South America and at festivals in France, Brazil and Argentina.

Ogre (1995) and Le Mangeur de bicyclette (2002) (The Bicycle Eater, 2005) were finalists for the Governor General's Awards for theatre and novel, respectively. In 1998, Larry Tremblay won the Grand Prix de la Société Radio-Canada (30-minute category) for Tibullus ou Trois fois le prix du coq and first prize in the Centre d'information théâtrale competition in Verviers, Belgium, for La femme aux peupliers. In 2000, the Salon du livre du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean honoured him for the ensemble of his works.