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Chaurette, Normand

Normand Chaurette
Normand Chaurette

Quebec playwright noted for his use of theatrical structure.

Normand Chaurette was born July 9, 1954. After receiving his BA in literature in 1979, he taught linguistics and transformational grammar, while opening a centre where he taught French to Asian immigrants.

In 1976, his play Rêve d'un nuit d'hôpital won the Radio-Canada Prize and the Paul-Gilson Prize, given in Lausanne by the Association radio phonique des programmes de langue française. From 1979-1983 he freelanced, writing several short stories, prefaces, translations and criticism. From 1984-88 he was an editor at the Quebec publisher (notably of plays) Leméac.

His own play, Fragments d'une lettre d'adieu lus par des géologues (Théâtre de Quat'Sous, 1986 and translated by Linda Gaboriau as Fragments of a Farewell Letter Read by Geologists), won the award for best new play in 1988 from the Association québécoise des critiques de théâtre. His Scène d'enfants was nominated for a Governor General’s Award in 1989. He won the award in 1996 for Le Passage de l'Indiana (Festival d'Avignon, 1996, Théâtre du Nouveau Monde/TNM/Théâtre Ubu, 1996). His play Les Reines (Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui, 1990 and in English as The Queens, Canadian Stage, 1992) was performed at the Comédie-Française in Paris in 1997.

Other plays include Fêtes d'Automne (Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, 1982), Juillet 1919, j'avais 19 ans (Provincetown Playhouse, 1982). La Société de Métis (Les Têtes Heureuses, 1986) and Stabat Mater II (Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, 1999). His Le Petit Köchel began an international tour at the 2000 Festival d'Avignon, directed by Denis Marleau. It subsequently won another Governor General’s Award for the author. Ce qui meurt en dernier (2007, co-production by Théâtre Ubu, Espace Go, and the French theatre in the National Arts Centre is another variation of the "Jack the Ripper" story. Ce Qui Meurt en Dernier won a GG for theatre in 2011; and his essay, "Comment Tuer Shakespeare" won a GG for essays in 2012.

The 1992 Espace Go production of Normand Chaurette's Provincetown Playhouse, juillet 1919, j'avais 19 ans, directed by Alice Ronfard.
The 1992 Espace Go production of Normand Chaurette's Provincetown Playhouse, juillet 1919, j'avais 19 ans, directed by Alice Ronfard (photo: Les Paparazzi).

His translation of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream as Le Songe d'un nuit d'été won the award for best translation at the 1996 Masques Awards (and was revived in May, 2000, TNM). In 1999 TNM staged his new translation of Roméo et Juliette and in 2002 his Joyeuses commères de Windsor (Merry Wives of Windsor).

He has said, "As a writer, I get the impression that I have a responsibility to the 800 people a night who see my plays. But a responsibility is not a mission." He believes that "Language is a material. An alexandrine, a verse of 12 feet, is like a 12-foot wooden beam. Everybody says that my work is poetic, musical. But it is also very physical."

His works are published by Leméac Éditeur, Montréal. In 2005, he was presented with the Order of Canada.

Profile by Gaetan Charlebois.

Last updated 2021-10-29