Anthony Furey is a columnist for Sun Media and the chain’s national comment editor. He’s written for various other publications including TIME and The Times Literary Supplement. Find him online @anthonyfurey.
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In making “the two seminal works” of Canadian theatre The Farm Show and Leaving Home in 1972, Furey gives a Toronto-centred view. The seminal works, arguably, were earlier and elsewhere: George Ryga’s The Ecstasy of Rita Joe in Vancouver in 1967 and Michel Tremblay’s Les Belles-Sœurs in Montreal in 1968.
I have, however, two larger complaints. First, a review of this length should comment on the quality of the translations. Is Wajdi Mouawad accurately represented in the two long quotations? We are just beginning to ask, for example, whether English speakers received the best possible sense of Tremblay’s earlier plays through the transla- tions of John Van Burek. Second, Furey evaluates Mouawad’s works solely as literary texts and not also as performance, and indeed gives no sign of having seen the two plays performed. I think of the visual impact of King Arthur’s knight waving a sword as he strides on stage in Tideline, set in the present. Or the role of the audience in that drama when characters look out at us and see a river, while saying that they are imagining the audience.