A genuine happening, La traversée du siècle (“crossing the century”) will see seven Montreal theatres join forces for the first time to pay tribute to the greatness of the universe of one of our most illustrious writers: Michel Tremblay. Created in collaboration with André Brassard and adapted and directed by Alice Ronfard, the show immerses us in the lives and destinies of Victoire, Albertine and Thérèse, leading characters in Tremblay’s work: three strong, resilient women who have weathered the great upheavals in Quebec society over the years. 

Ranging from the fantastic to the hyper-realistic, from tragedy to comedy, this overview of a century is a composite adaptation of some of Tremblay’s best known plays and novels. It’s a project in the image of the man who created a masterful fresco marked by struggle, resilience, love and diversity, a sweeping œuvre whose groundbreaking themes remain strikingly relevant today. 

The NAC French Theatre will be hosting La traversée du siècle on September 7.

© Alice Ronfard et Michel Tremblay

Company

La traversée du siècle is presented in association with Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui, Duceppe, Théâtre Espace Libre, Théâtre La Licorne, Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, Théâtre de Quat’Sous and Théâtre du Rideau Vert

Michel Tremblay has written 30 plays, 30 novels, 7 film and television screenplays, 47 translations or adaptations of works by foreign writers, 1 opera libretto and 2 musicals, as well as the lyrics to some 15 songs. More than 2,400 productions of his plays have been staged in some 50 countries around the world. Tremblay has received nearly 90 awards over the course of his career, including the prestigious Prince Pierre of Monaco Award, the Prix Gilles-Corbeil from the Fondation Émile-Nelligan, and the Grand Prix de la Francophonie from the Académie française for his body of work. The Belles-Sœurs cycle, the Chroniques du Plateau-Mont-Royal (published in English as The Plateau Mont-Royal Chronicles), and La diaspora des Desrosiers (The Desrosiers Diaspora), a series of nine linked books, are considered landmarks of contemporary French-language literature. In 1988, he was awarded the Prix Athanase-David by the Government of Quebec for his body of work. 

Alice Ronfard has directed 30 plays. She won the Canadian Museums Association’s Award of Excellence for her design of the exhibition Femmes, corps et âme at the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City, the Prix Gascon-Roux for best direction for her production of Euripides’ Les troyennes (The Trojan Women) at Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, and the Grand Prix de la Communauté urbaine de Montréal for Shakespeare’s La tempête (The Tempest), one of three Shakespeare plays presented during Montréal’s so-called “Shakespearean Spring” of 1988. From 1995 to 1999 she served as André Brassard’s assistant artistic director at the National Theatre School of Canada, and took over as acting director from 1999 to 2001. Alice Ronfard teaches production, set design, acting and directing at several theatre schools. 

Creative team

  • Based on the novels and plays of Michel Tremblay
  • Directed, adapted and dramaturged by Alice Ronfard
  • Creative consultant André Brassard
  • Dramaturgical consultants Alex Bergeron, Dany Boudreault, Emmanuel Schwartz
  • Original cast Marie-Josée Bastien, Félix Beaulieu-Duchesneau, Alex Bergeron, Céline Bonnier, Dany Boudreault, Violette Chauveau, Samuël Côté, Francis Ducharme, Gabriel Favreau, Eve Gadouas, Abigail Galwey, Rachel Graton, Johanne Haberlin, Maxime Isabelle, Bozidar Krčevinac, Roger La Rue, Valérie Le Maire, Clara Prévost, Évelyne Rompré, Isabelle Roy, Emmanuel Schwartz, Marie-Hélène Thibault
  • Assistant director and stage manager Ariane Brière
  • Stage design Gabriel Tsampalieros
  • Lighting designer and engineer Julie Basse
  • Assistant and lighting engineer Natacha Descoteaux
  • Composer, original score, and sound engineer Joris Rey
  • Composer, original version of "Brésil brille", jukebox song and choral numbers Abigail Galwey
  • Production manager Marjorie Bélanger
  • Technical director Audrey Janelle
  • Executive producer Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui
  • Executive producer Dumont St-Pierre

National Creation Fund investment

The National Creation Fund’s investment of $179,000 supports the final development process with the full cast, creative and production teams for this epic production.  This includes additional time to work on the text, as well as an extended period to finalize lighting, sound, sets and staging.

Credits

La traversée du siècle is presented in association with Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui, Duceppe, Théâtre Espace Libre, Théâtre La Licorne, Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, Théâtre de Quat’Sous and Théâtre du Rideau Vert. 

A staged reading of La traversée du siècle was presented at Théâtre Espace Libre in August 2022. 

La traversée du siècle was made possible with the financial support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. 

Developed with the support of the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund. 

This production is presented as part of CAM en tournée, an initiative of the Conseil des arts de Montréal. 

Past performances

Presented by Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui Aug 26 2023 Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui
Presented by Théâtre Espace Libre Sep 2 2023 Théâtre Espace Libre