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Nardocchio, Elaine F.

Edmonton, Unviersity of Alberta Press, c1986. 157pp, cloth, $21.00, ISBN 0-88864-087-O.CIP

Reviewed by Louise Griffith

Volume 14 Number 6
1986 November

Theatre and Politics in Modern Quebec is a detailed account of French Canadian plays in Quebec, with no reference to English or any other drama in the province. The first two sections list or outline briefly the major theatre events in New France, early Canada, and the Duplessis era. The last two sections give a fuller and more interesting account of the Quiet Revolution and the theatre in modern Quebec. These chapters provide a better account of the plays and authors, although much of the material given in the twenty-nine pages of footnotes could well have been included in the rather scanty text.

The author has done a fine job of gathering information about the Québécois theatre, plays, theatre companies, actors, performances, and the political and social movements that inspired them. She has also given good accounts of some of the more important playwrights, including Gratien Gelinas and Michel Tremblay. She might have included more material about the plays, actors, and productions, especially the earlier ones, which tend to be merely lists. It might have been valuable, also, for her to have discussed English Canadian, English, American, or French theatre of the same periods, instead of largely ignoring it, beyond a few references to Brecht.

The book will be a valuable reference text to those who are studying French Canadian drama and who want some idea of how and why there were so many plays of protest criticizing the English, the government, the Church, joual, male domination, family pressure, and both urban and rural life.

The extensive bibliography (fifteen pages) lists important works of theatrical and socio-historical research published before 1981 in French and in English, as well as giving a list of the French Canadian plays cited and French Canadian plays in translation. The index includes the French, not the English, titles of the plays.

This well-produced volume will be of interest to university French departments for their libraries, to reference librarians in university cities, and to admirers of Québécois drama.

Louise Griffith, Agincourt, Ont.
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