Home > Events > Culture > New Theatre: "Les belles-soeurs" (The Sisters-in-law) by Michel Tremblay

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Excerpt from the text of the play entitled Les belles-sœurs (Sisters-in-law) March 4, 1968 at the Apprentis Sorciers theatre along with a commentary by Michel Tremblay and André Brassard, respectively playwright and producer of the play, and an interveiw with actrices Denise Proulx and Denise Filiatrault.
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New Theatre: "Les belles-soeurs" (The Sisters-in-law) by Michel Tremblay [inaudible]
[Germaine]: My stamps, my own stamps
Ohhh, my stamps, my stamps [crying]
[a]: Don't cry Germaine,
[G]: Ohhh, don't speak to me, go away. You're no better than the others.
[a]: But I defended you
[G]: Go away! Get out of my sight.
[a]: But I defended you, I'm on your side Germaine.
[G]: GO AWAY! Leave me alone, don't talk to me any more! I don't want to repeat myself [crying]
[1]: [...]|what you don't know is that at the end, during the O Canada, I'm really proud of that.
During the O Canada, stamps rained down on [laughter, the end of the sentence is incomprehensible]
It's very important, it's very important [2]: They came back singing O Canada, Germaine Lauzon gets up, they are triumphant.
Germaine Lauzon stands with difficulty, submits herself and sings O Canada.
and to reward her, heaven, which is somewhere in the stamps, sends her a rainfall of trading stamps to swamp her.
And the last image of the show is a close-up in the spotlight of Germaine Lauzon's grateful smile. [laughter]
[j]:[...] in this particular case, do you have the impression you are acting if it is as realistic as that? or are you demeaning yourself somewhat?
[Denise Filiatrault?]: no, oh no [...] to demean myself, of course we have the impression we are acting, because I, do not think that I resemble the character of Mrs. Ouellette that I play but I am very familiar with this character for having seen it around me a lot, a lot.
Hum, to understand it, I think that the first reading is to see if it is true, if it exists and to play it, I sincerely think
[actress 2]:[...] a composition is always interesting to do and Denise and I work well together in my opinion
[j]: and of course the rest [actress 2]: and for me, it was me, as a matter of fact it was even more for me
The role fit like a glove, but when you are an actress, you can play any role and Denise is a good actress [int]: In your opinion, is it a formula that can continue to be used in the theatre?
[Denise]: I believe above all that this with this play, and as I said earlier, itis above all very commercial. It is a commercial play.
If I didn't have to set up a restaurant, I would put my money in this play to promote it, but unfortunately, well not so unfortunately, happily, I have my restaurant, But otherwise, I would have promoted this play, I would take the risk, I am sure I would make money with it
[com 2]: I can't say the same thing but [laughter] lets just say that I share the same opinion
[j]: So one can now state that a play can be commercial and, at the same time, valid?
[Denise]: Absolutely, such is the case with this play.
[j]: but the fact of using all these stereotypes, from the funeral parlour to the pregnant girl and all the other stereotypes that we know of in Quebec.
Hem, isn't that taking the easy way out in your opinion?
[com 2]: but that's the point, I find that Tremblay uses them admirably and Brassard even more
He uses these stereotypes of do something completely new with theatre
[Denise]: yeah, well I don't understand why you talk about taking the easy way out because we raised the funeral parlour or the pregnant girl, of course there is a way to broach the subject, it's the pregnant girl in all those third-rate melodramas and Italian films
It's not broached that way. Hem, the scenes in the funeral parlour are not broached like dramatic sketches, far from that. They are, they are very real.
[com 2]: There is a very human side to this play, very very human and I think that is what pleases people
[Denise]: There is a dramatic side
[j]: more dramatic than funny in a way
[Denise]: yes, yes. It's very true what you are saying, more dramatic than funny
[com 2]: and if we can laugh about it, then better still [quiet laugh]