Louis-Dominique Lavigne

lavigne, louis-dominique
Louis-Dominique Lavigne in Bobby ou Le vertige du sens (courtesy Le thé\u00e2tre de quartier).

Lavigne, Louis-Dominique

Louis-Dominique Lavigne, author, director, actor (b at Montréal 18 Jun 1949). Louis-Dominique Lavigne participated in the heyday of collective creation in the 1970s and continues to champion a non-elitist vision of theatre that welcomes all audiences. For 40 years, his efforts have been directed mainly toward young audiences. He has written more than 40 plays, and has co-directed (with Lise Gionet and Jean-Guy Leduc) the Théâtre de Quartier, a children's company which he joined in 1975 and where he directed several performances, among them Joël Da Silva's La Nuit blanche de Barbe-bleue (Théâtre de Quartier, 1989).

Educated at the Université du Québec à Montréal (1972) and the Conservatoire d'art dramatique in Montréal (1975), the young actor performed in the collective creations of Théâtre Parminou (a company he had cofounded with other professional school graduates in 1973), Théâtre de l'Œil, Théâtre de Quartier and Théâtre de la Marmaille (now Les Deux Mondes). Later, preferring writing and directing, he appeared on stage only on rare occasions - notably as the witch in Le Pain de la bouche, Joël da Silva's free adaptation of Hansel et Gretel - and in his own plays (Les Purs, Les Papas, Bobby ou le vertige du sens).

Lavigne's career was distinguished by several red-letter events for both "little darlings" and adolescents. For these reputedly difficult audiences he presented Où est-ce qu'elle est ma gang?, a play that became a model of its genre (Theatre Petit à Petit, 1982). This production marked the birth of a stimulating theatre with an artistic imperative and strong psychosocial bias that firmly supported a youthful perspective. The author scored again with two more plays: Le Sous-sol des anges (Théâtre de Carton, 1984, dir. Lorraine Pintal) is about the disturbing subject of youth suicide; Tu peux toujours danser (1990, dir. Claude Poissant) touches on the sensitive topics of youth sexuality and AIDS. This was Théâtre le Clou's first production - one that 20 years later had become a staple of young people's theatre in Québec. Following these teen-oriented works, Lavigne had two big hits for young children. Les Petits Orteils (translated into English as Tiny Toes) for ages 3 to 5 (Théâtre de Quartier, 1991) is about a young girl's anxiety on the arrival of a new baby, and won the Governor General's Award (1992). Glouglou (2003) was the first Québécois play for babies (ages 2 and up). This soft-spoken show, directed by Lise Gionet, offers a world to explore in the daily life of toddlers, and won the Masque for best production for youth (2005).

Lavigne has worked with numerous theatre companies, but most closely with the Théâtre Populaire d'Acadie, since 1990 (Le Matin de Francis). He collaborated on Mentire with Robert Bellefeuille, who also directed this co-production with Théâtre de la Vieille 17 (1997). In 1994, Lavigne began a productive artistic relationship with Jean Debefve of Théâtre de la Galafronie (Brussels). Kobold!, the play they co-authored, won prizes from both the Belgian Ministry of Culture and the Belgian press. The authors again collaborated on Les Papas, performing the title roles, with Didier de Neck assisting in writing and directing (Théâtre de la Galafronie/Théâtre de Quartier, 1997).

Although Lavigne has written television screenplays, most of his work has been for live theatre. Some of his plays are addressed to all audiences, in particular his one-man show, Bobby ou le vertige du sens (Théâtre de Quartier, 2007, dir. Ghyslain Filion). His adult theatre eschews realism, and Lavigne does not shrink from including the absurd (Non bon oui non non bon! in the collective show Trois!, by Théâtre du Désordre at Espace Libre, 2006) and the wonderful (L'Amour incurable, Théâtre les Trois Arcs, 2010).

A passionate host and teacher, who has taught writing for young audiences at the National Theatre School since 2001, this man of the theatre is committed to Québec's cultural life. Louis-Dominique Lavigne has served on the boards of directors for the Centre des auteurs dramatiques, the Conseil québécois du théâtre and the Maison Théâtre.