Essays on Modern Quebec Theater

By Joseph I. Donohoe Jr.; Jonathan M. Weiss | Go to book overview

The Theater: Sounding Board for the Appeals and Dreams of the Québécois Collectivity

Chantal Hébert

O ne function of theater is to respond to the real world, and it is my intention here to look at the avatars of the modern Quebec stage in order to discover how this theater has interacted in recent times with a changing Quebec society. The "p'tit Québécois," known as "French-Canadian" until around 1960, has been witness to a spectacular evolution in all the categories of living during the last three decades. This period of evolution appears to parallel events in the theater where, in recent years and especially in the 1980s, important changes have taken place with respect to content as well as form and processes of dramatic writing and scenography.

In order better to appreciate the linkages between the history of Quebec and its theater, it will be useful to put recent changes into historical perspective by beginning our examination in the period of the 1960s before looking at the 1970s and the 1980s. While dividing history up into tranches de vie may seem arbitrary, I believe that certain salient political events, like the coming to power of the provincial Liberals in 1960, the October Crisis of 1970 and the Referendum of 1980, can serve as crucial reference points for the understanding of complex changes.


The 1960s: The Emergence of a Québécois Voice 2

"C'est le temps que ça change" was the popular slogan of the socalled "du tonnere" team of Jean Lesage, who came to power in 1960

-27-

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