The Driving Force

By Michel Tremblay
Translated by Linda Gaboriau

The Driving Force
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In Act 1, Claude, 55, visits his father Alex, 77, in an Alzheimer’s ward, intimately tending to his bodily functions and needs while hopelessly trying to reach his silent, vacant father with a series of monologues?to settle old scores and misunderstandings between them.

In ... Read more


Overview

In Act 1, Claude, 55, visits his father Alex, 77, in an Alzheimer’s ward, intimately tending to his bodily functions and needs while hopelessly trying to reach his silent, vacant father with a series of monologues?to settle old scores and misunderstandings between them.

In an astonishing and eerie reversal of roles, in Act 2 it is Alex who visits his son Claude in the same Alzheimer’s ward and it is Alex’s turn to rant and rail at what he perceives to be his mute son’s contempt for his own working class life.

With a cruel and disconsolate irony, we come to see that his father’s lifelong attempt to mock and censure Claude’s work as consisting of nothing but mediocre, misrepresentative lies, has been the very driving force behind Claude’s compulsion to continue to reveal the ?truth” of human relationships as he so desperately wants his father to understand it.

Michel Tremblay

Born in a working-class family in Québec, novelist and playwright Michel Tremblay was raised in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood. An ardent reader from a young age, Tremblay began to write, in hiding, as a teenager. Because of their charismatic originality, their vibrant character portrayals, and the profound vision they embody, Tremblay’s dramatic, literary, and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity; his plays have been adapted and translated into dozens of languages and have achieved huge success throughout Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.

A seven-time recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, during his career Tremblay has received more than seventy-five prizes, citations, and honours, including nine Chalmers Awards and five Prix du grand public, presented during Montreal’s annual book fair, Salon du livre. Tremblay has also received six honorary doctorates.

The French Government, in 1984, honoured Tremblay’s complete body of work when it made him Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres de France; thereafter, in 1991, he was raised to Officer of the Order. In 2008, he was created Chevalier de la légion d’honneur de France. Tremblay was appointed, in 1991, Chevalier de l’ordre national du Québec and was promoted to Grand Officier in 2015. In 1999, he received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. In 2011, he was honoured with the Révolution tranquille medal, given by the Ministry of Culture of Québec, awarded to artists, creators, and artisans who began their careers between 1960 and 1970 and who still have an influence in their field of practice. In total, Tremblay has written twenty-seven plays and twenty-seven novels.

Linda Gaboriau

A major figure in Quebec theatre, MICHEL TREMBLAY has built an impressive body of work as a playwright, novelist, translator, and screenwriter. To date, Michel’s complete works include 29 plays (including 2 theatrical adaptations of his own work); 30 novels; 6 collections of autobiographical stories; a collection of tales; 7 screenplays; 46 translations/adaptations of works by foreign writers; 9 plays and 12 stories printed in diverse publications; an opera libretto; a song cycle; a Symphonic Christmas Tale and 2 musicals. His plays have been published and translated into 40 languages and have garnered critical acclaim in Canada, the United States, and more than 50 countries around the world. His name can be found in the Larousse and Robert Dictionaries, the Who’s Who Encyclopedia, the Dictionary of International Biography and the Encyclopedia Britannica. During his career, Michel has received more than 80 prizes, citations and honours including the Grand Prix de la Francophonie, awarded by the Académie française in 2018, as well as the Prince Pierre de Monaco Literary Prize and the Prix Gilles-Corbeil for his contribution to the arts in 2017. A six-time winner of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, he won nine Chalmers Awards and five Grand Prix du public presented during Montreal’s annual book fair le Salon du livre. In 1999, he was awarded the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. He has also received six honorary doctorates.

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"The text is as severe, intense and implacable as the reality of each character. "
CBC Radio Canada

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