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Monday July 21, 2014 in Books
In this probing character study, Rideout fashions a hypothetical 1969 meeting in a bar in St. Petersburg, Florida, between Quebec playwright Michel Tremblay and an individual whom he believes to be a truly great writer – beat generation author Jack Kerouac, whose Francophone mother affectionately called him Ti-Jean. At the time of their meeting, Kerouac is forty-seven years old and only months away from death, destroyed by drink in an attempt to live up to the wild image of the “beatnik” stereotype he coined in his novel On the Road. Michel Tremblay is twenty-seven and his first widely produced play, Les Belles Soeurs, has premiered a year before.
As he encounters his writing idol, the younger man must break through the older man’s emotional barriers to establish common ground. Ultimately, Kerouac’s Québécois background helps Tremblay understand his work, recognize the role religion takes, and the place women play in his psyche, as stated metaphorically in the various female characters who populate Les Belles Soeurs.
Cast of 2 men.
KEROUAC: You were brought up in the company of women, you’re all fucked up about religion, some days you’d like to blow up the world, and when you’ve had a few drinks you think about putting on a slinky black dress and strutting around like Pierrette, but you never do it.
ISBN 13: 9780889229020 | ISBN 10: 0889229023
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 128 pages
$17.95 CAN / $17.95 US
Backlist | Drama
QUOTES OF NOTE
“An unexpected surprise, a daring, novel, audacious idea that actually works on stage.”
– The Métropolitain
“If it all seems a little retro in the digital 21st century – bus trips, literary legends, wide collared shirts, moustaches, heavy drinking – there’s one theme coursing through Michel & Ti-Jean that still resonates. That’s the emotional roller-coaster that ensues when a talented, ambitious young person goes for a ride on the fame cycle, and how hard it is when the ride stops.”
– Calgary Herald
“As a bio-play, this one succeeds marvellously in the tricky art of having famous people tell us about their life and work without awkward exposition. These two go further, spilling out their angst, drawing conclusions, messing up the stage in the sometimes painful, more often joyful process. … Michel & Ti-Jean is one of those landmark cultural events after which Montreal, Quebec will never be the same, a play that redefines how we live together and how that existence, so changed in recent decades, can make great art.”
– Rover Arts
“At its core, this play is about the granting of permission and forgiveness. Tremblay seeks permission to succeed where Jack, his hero, has failed. … And what he wants most of all is permission to write. What Kerouac wants from Tremblay is more complicated, but it seems to boil down to forgiveness. … Michel and Ti-Jean is not about a man who gave up on himself but, rather, one who is fighting like hell to believe in himself again.”
– Montreal Review of Books
About the ContributorsGeorge Rideout
George Rideout was raised in Texas and moved to Canada in his teens. He now teaches theatre at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec. His own work as a playwright is more widely celebrated, winning numerous regional and national playwriting
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.