Les Belles Soeurs


Les Belles-soeurs is a two-act play written by Michel Tremblay in 1965. It was Tremblay's first professionally produced work and remains his most popular and most translated work. The play has had a profound effect on Quebec language, culture and theatre.

Les Belles-soeurs premiered at Théâtre du Rideau Vert on August 8, 1968. It was directed by André Brassard and starred Denise Proulx, Odette Gagnon, Denise Filiatrault, Rita Lafontaine, Luce Guilbeault, Germaine Giroux and Nicole Leblanc among others, with set design by Réal Ouellette and costumes by François Barbeau. The English version, translated by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco, had its first run at the St. Lawrence Centre in Toronto on April 3, 1973 and starred Candy Kane, Elva Mai Hoover, Monique Mercure, among others. The production was also directed and designed by André Brassard.

The Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia describes the importance of the play in the following way:

The impact of this work is still being argued in Quebec today, but suffice it to say that it changed much of what was believed to be Quebec culture; language, the form of theatre, which plays should be done at which theatres, the displacing of the Old Guard... It set off a storm of controversy, firstly because of the language (a particularly raucous — some say vulgar — joual), and then because it dared to portray working class women doing working class things...[1]

In 2018 it will play at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the title The Unmanageable Sisters.[2]

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