A Thing of Beauty
March, 1963. Winter has launched its final assault on Montreal. The Fat Woman, Thérèse, Édouard, Pierrette, Marcel, all the star-crossed characters of Tremblay’s Chronicles of Plateau Mont-Royal are here again, 20 years later. Marcel, now 23, learns that his Auntie Nana—The Fat Woman who is here finally named—is gravely ill and her days are numbered. How will he, with his exaggerated sensitivity, his visions, his ongoing struggle with “reality” pit his fertile imagination against this inexorable march of death? In five epiphanic visions that take us from a nineteenth-century London pub to a reworking of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement, Marcel uses his gift of the creative imagination to break the eternal spiral of new beginnings, and to thumb his nose at despair and resignation.
Presented here, side by side, is Tremblay’s fictionalized account of the death of his own mother, so lovingly enacted in his new play, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again. In what becomes a coda to his great Chronicles of the Plateau Mont-Royal cycle of novels, Tremblay creates, with grace and tenderness, a redemption and transcendent grandeur for these familiar and beloved characters: A Thing of Beauty.