Michel and Ti-Jean Front Cover

Paperback / softback
ISBN: 9780889229020
Pages: 128
Pub. Date: September 9 2014
Dimensions: 8.5" x 5.5" x 0.5"
Rights: Available: WORLD
Drama / DRA013000

  • DRAMA / Canadian
  • FICTION / Coming of Age
  • PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / Playwriting
  • DRAMA / American / General
  • DRAMA / Asian / Japanese
  • FICTION / Urban & Street Lit
  • FICTION / Literary
  • ARCHITECTURE / History / General
  • DRAMA / African
  • SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

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Michel and Ti-Jean

By George Rideout

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.

“The real meat of the play – as with most imagined meetings – is the way it takes a new look at the two men’s artistic outputs, especially when viewed through the context of the other. Kerouac's work becomes more French Canadian than Americana: through Tremblay’s eyes, he becomes a writer concerned with family and relationships, small stories about the people he loves instead of the ‘great American novel’ that On the Road is credited as. Tremblay, too, is put through the wringer: his play ... Les Belles-Soeurs is reinterpreted through Kerouac’s own bebop-influenced prose style ... As a ‘what if?’ scenario that explores not only two lions of 20th-century literature but also the cross-border culture of North America’s French fact, Michel & Ti-Jean successfully explores the nature of creation in a time of upheaval, both personal as well as political.”
VUE Weekly

“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

“a probing character study”
Edmonton Sun

“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

“Michael & Ti-Jean really works, somehow drawing us into the imagined collision of these two formidable personalities and egos.”
Globe and Mail

“An unexpected surprise, a daring, novel, audacious idea that actually works on stage.”
– The Métropolitain