Public Enemy

By (author): Olivier Choinière

Translated by: Bobby Theodore

Three generations of a family argue over current events, finances, and culture, with everyone looking to blame someone else for society’s ills in this satirical examination of how judgment can both divide and unite people.

Elizabeth, the matriarch, has invited her children and grandchildren over for dinner. Instead of a nice family meal, it quickly slides into the adults arguing in the dining room and the kids fighting in the living room. Rapid-fire dialogue fuses and overlaps, but no one listens to each other. A blistering take on the family drama, Public Enemy asks, who’s really responsible for all our suffering?


Bobby Theodore

Bobby Theodore lives in Montreal and is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s playwriting program. His first translation, François Archambault’s 15 Seconds, was produced across Canada and earned him a nomination for the Governor General’s Award for Literary Translation in 2000. Since then, he has gone on to translate more than 12 plays, including the works of some of Quebec’s most talented playwrights, such as Genevieve Billette and Nathalie Boisvert.


Olivier Choinière

Olivier Choinière is a playwright and director based in Montréal. He is the managing and artistic director of L’ACTIVITÉ. In his work, he explores different forms of representation, whether on stage or off, and seeks to give an active role to the spectator. He was the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Siminovitch Prize. A graduate in playwriting from the National Theatre School, Olivier won their Gascon-Thomas Award in 2015. His play Ennemi public won the Prix Michel-Tremblay in 2015 and Manifeste de la Jeune-Fille was honoured at the 2020 Primeurs Festival in Germany.


  • Prix Michel-Tremblay 2015, Winner
  • Excerpts & Samples ×

    James tries to take the card from Daniel. They wrestle. The platform begins to rotate, from the living room to the balcony. James pins Daniel against the bookshelf. Books fall.

    MELISSA. The bookcase!

    ELIZABETH. / Boys, stop it! You’re going to break something! (Their wrestling moves onto the balcony. James takes Daniel down. Everyone goes onto the balcony.) Stop it, you’re going to/ get hurt!

    OLIVIA. Mom!

    James pins Daniel to the ground. Melissa pushes Olivia and Tyler into the living room and shuts the sliding doors.

    DANIEL. Do you see yourself right now?

    JAMES. The only person responsible for what’s happening here Dan is you!

    Daniel stops resisting. James takes the card out of Daniel’s pocket and gets up. James hands Elizabeth the card. Daniel gets up. James and Daniel catch their breath.

    OLIVIA, from the living room. Mom!

    MELISSA. What. (Melissa opens the sliding doors. Olivia glances at Tyler.) What? (Olivia comes onto the balcony.) Olivia, what is it.

    OLIVIA. Tyler killed a squirrel.

    MELISSA. What?

    OLIVIA. There was a squirrel on the balcony earlier and Tyler used a broom and hit the squirrel and knocked it off the balcony.

    MELISSA. I don’t understand – when was this?

    OLIVIA. Before.

    MELISSA. Tyler, is this true?


    JAMES. Tyler? (Pause.) Answer.

    TYLER, at the balcony door. Yes. Pause.

    MELISSA. Darling, squirrels are very dangerous. They might look friendly, but beneath their little furry coat, squirrels are just rats. They eat garbage. They dig through the trash. They could have rabies. If the squirrel had bitten you, you would’ve gotten very sick. Tyler did a good thing knocking the squirrel off the balcony. Squirrels are vermin.


    ELIZABETH. Okay, go back inside now Olivia. Go have some ice cream.

    Olivia goes into the apartment and disappears. Tyler goes into the dining room. Pause.

    JAMES. You need to move out. You can’t keep living here at mom’s.


    MELISSA. Don’t you have a friend you could live with until you find a job?

    DANIEL. No.

    MELISSA. Your old buddy from high school – Jim?

    DANIEL. I haven’t seen him in ten years.

    JAMES. Where are you going to go?

    DANIEL. I don’t know.


    JAMES. You could come stay at my place if you want. I know Bowmanville isn’t exactly next door, but I have a job for you, / a bed, three meals a day

    DANIEL. Thanks, I’ll manage.

    JAMES. Where will you go?

    DANIEL. I don’t know.


    JAMES. Melissa, do you have room at your place? (Pause.) Melissa?

    MELISSA. Uh, I’d have to check with Philip, but yeah, we have an empty room, sure.


    DANIEL. Thanks, Melissa. I’ll manage.

    MELISSA. Well if you ever–

    Pause. Melissa goes inside.

    ELIZABETH. Go back inside, boys. It’s going to rain.

    Elizabeth goes back into the apartment. Pause. James holds his hand out for Daniel to shake. Daniel leaves him hanging. James goes into the apartment. Daniel stays on the balcony, alone.

    Reader Reviews



    152 Pages
    8.40in * 5.70in * .35in


    October 04, 2022



    Book Subjects:

    DRAMA / Canadian

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