Impromptu on Nuns' Island

By Michel Tremblay
Translated by Linda Gaboriau

Impromptu on Nuns' Island
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An opera diva, Patricia, (almost 50) meets her Waterloo singing Salomé at the Opéra Bastille in Paris. In an impromptu get-together in her Nuns’ Island penthouse, on the afternoon of her return from Europe, her mother, a popular Montreal stage and television actress (pushing ... Read more


Overview

An opera diva, Patricia, (almost 50) meets her Waterloo singing Salomé at the Opéra Bastille in Paris. In an impromptu get-together in her Nuns’ Island penthouse, on the afternoon of her return from Europe, her mother, a popular Montreal stage and television actress (pushing 70), and her idealistic committed-to-new-work daughter (pushing 30) goad her: What is the sense of an international career if your art doesn’t contribute to change (or at least to wide-spread pleasure and inspiration) in the society you live in? An international opera star lives in hotel rooms around the world, so what is the meaning (and the impact) of her art, and on what, or who’s society? Is Patricia right in thinking that in this age of globalization an artist who chooses to stay home is doomed to mediocrity? These questions, this tri-generational drama, are framed by the diva’s gay pianist who packs his bags and comes running to accompany her, whenever and wherever she calls.
Like all of Tremblay’s plays, Impromptu on Nuns’ Island is a multi-layered tour-de-force about art, life and politics from a matchless writer of tragicomic women. Grounded in the myth of the eternal return, the universal and chthonic story of the triple goddess and her androgynous male consort, this impromptu also interrogates the evolution of the role of the artist in Quebec’s increasingly distinct culture and society.

Michel Tremblay

A major figure in Québec literature, Michel Tremblay has built an impressive body of work as a playwright, novelist, translator, and screenwriter. To date Tremblay’s complete works include twenty-nine plays, thirty-one novels, six collections of autobiographical stories, a collection of tales, seven screenplays, forty-six translations and adaptations of works by foreign writers, nine plays and twelve stories printed in diverse publications, an opera libretto, a song cycle, a Symphonic Christmas Tale, and two musicals. His work has won numerous awards and accolades; his plays have been published and translated into forty languages and have garnered critical acclaim in Canada, the United States, and more than fifty countries around the world.

Linda Gaboriau

Linda Gaboriau is an award-winning literary translator based in Montréal. Her translations of plays by Québec’s most prominent playwrights have been published and produced across Canada and abroad. In her work as a literary manager and dramaturge, she has directed numerous translation residencies and international exchange projects. She is the founding ­director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. Gaboriau has twice won the Governor General’s Award for Translation: in 1996, for Daniel Danis’s Stone and Ashes, and in 2010, for Wajdi Mouawad’s Forests.

Awards

  • Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation 2002, Winner

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