Who’s Afraid of Claude Gauvreau

Praise for the work of Automatiste playwright and poet, Claude Gauvreau, taken from Ray Ellenwood’s article:

Lorraine Pintal, who has been head of the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde in Montreal for a number of years, who has recently directed a play in Stratford, and who is among the most influential people in Canadian theatre, is a great champion of Gauvreau. She has directed four of his major works, insisting that “his plays have the inspiration of great tragedies, requiring a truly Shakespearian commitment and immoderation from anyone who takes them on.”

Pascale Montpetit, a well-known film and television actress who has appeared in two major Gauvreau plays, says of the characters in* La charge*: “…they are larger than nature, with a touch of the ham, this is no psychological drama à la Tennessee Williams, these people are big-mouths, and they talk and talk. It’s highly theatrical and full of energy, even though it’s despairingly bleak to the bone,” (La Presse in March 2009).

Another hugely popular Quebec actress, Andrée Lachapelle, who played in the 1998 production of Les oranges sont vertes, wrote in the program notes: “The script of *Les oranges *fascinates me with the richness of its language, its extravagance, the absolutely scouring humour and the piercing lucidity that Gauvreau brings to his characters, to human beings in general. There’s a vertiginous quality, it makes me think of Genet for violence and outrageousness of character.”

Ray Ellenwood is a translator of Claude Gauvreau and of* Refus global*, author of a book on the Automatiste movement, and collaborator with Roald Nasgaard on the exhibition of Automatiste painting at the Varley Gallery in Markham from October 23, 2009, to February 28, 2010, and at Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo from March 19 to May 30, 2010.

Volume 29, Number 2: Marcel x 3

This article originally appeared in Border Crossings #114, published May 2010.

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