Michel Tremblay Biography


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Michel Tremblay was born in east-end Montreal on June 25, 1942, the youngest child of a working-class family. His family lived in a small seven-room house with two other families, and Tremblay remembers distinctly the first voices of his life: women who would speak candidly to one another about their lives and who would censor nothing in front of the young child. Indeed, these are the voices sounded in many of his plays, especially Les Belles-surs. In 1955, he won a scholarship to a school for gifted children; his innate distaste for the cultural elite soon caused him to return to the public schools.

Tremblay speaks of his adolescence as a time of personal anguish, a time when writing became his primary channel of expression. Moreover, as a young man he became obsessed with television: “It was the only theatre I knew.” In 1959, he took a job as a linotype operator and during this period wrote his first television play, Le Train, for which he eventually won first prize in the 1964 Radio-Canada Contest for Young Authors. It is also in 1964 that he met André Brassard, who became one of his closest friends, his principal collaborator, and the director of many of the premier performances of his plays. His publishing career began in 1966 with a book of short stories, Contes pour buveurs attardés (Stories for Late Night Drinkers, 1978). In the same year, he submitted his first full-length play, Les Belles-surs...

(The entire section is 520 words.)