Marie-Antoine, Opus One

Written by:

Lise Vaillancourt, translated by Jill MacDougall

Cast Size:
11

Roles For:

  • Men: 1
  • Women: 10

Genre:

Comedy
Quebec Theatre
Tragedy
Translation

Themes:

Children
Family
Metatheatrical
Quebec
Society
Surrealism

Year Written:

1984

Synopsis:

Marie-Antoine, Opus One is a play in two acts with eleven characters and choruses of mice and schoolgirls… [T]he play is a “neo-baroque tragi-comedy” and “a great opera of words”… a celebration of creativity of all kinds, a celebration of life as a work of art–when vision and dreams triumph over stifling social convention… It provides a child’s-eye-view on society as a strange stage constructed by adults, wheron they are players. While sometimes society’s spectacles are delightful, the scripted daily routines of established, patriarchal society most often strangle the imagination.

The play dramatizes the ways in which children’s spontaneity is crushed while they are being trained and conditioned to take their place on their parents’ formula-ridden stage. The young heroine, Marie-Antoine, does her best to remain aloof from her parents’ clutches of conformity.” (From “Introduction to Marie-Antoine, Opus One by Lise Vaillancourt, Introduced by Louise H. Forsyth” in Anthology of Quebec Women’s Plays in English Translation Volume One (1966-1986))

Characters:

GIRALDINE DE COURTEPAILLE, the mother, 34

PIERRE DE MAGNANA, the father, a baron, 48

MARIE-ANTOINE DE COURTEPAILLE, their daughter, 5

LEA, Marie-Antoine’s double

JVORX, the maid, 56

JVA NEL*, the opera singer, 40

VERA CRYSTAL*, the prima ballerina, 32

MADAME DELTONGRADE*, the mayor’s wife, 52

IRENE*, her daughter, 15

LAURA HOPKINS*, the school teacher, 36

ROSE-ALMA MATER*, the school principal, 52

Chorus/Pupils

*NOTE: Actors can double to fill these roles.

First Produced:

Théâtre experimental des femmes, Montréal, 1984. English translation staged reading by CEAD, Montreal and New York Dramatists, New York, 1990. Produced at Concordia University, Montreal, 2001.

Resources:

Marie-Antoine, Opus One is available through Playwrights Canada Press in Anthology of Quebec Women’s Plays in English Translation Volume One (1966-1986), edited by Louise H Forsyth.

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