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Le Pendu

Political allegory in two acts by Robert Gurik, premiered March 24, 1967 at the Salle du Gésu as part of the Dominion Drama Festival in which it won prizes for best production (directed by Roland Laroche) and best set (by Renée Noiseux who also designed the costumes). The lights were by Yves Gélinas, music was by Robert Charlebois and the cast featured Armand Labelle (as Yonel), Pascale Desgranges, Jean-Pierre Cartier, Jerome Thiberghien, and Louisette Dussault. It was subsequently produced at Théâtre de l'Égrégore with Claude Préfontaine as Yonel.

The play received a frenzied reaction at the premiere.

The work is built around the superstition that a piece of rope from a hanged man's noose brings good luck. A poor father proposes that his grown son feign "hanging" himself so that the rope can be sold as talismans. The play then becomes a play about the son - Yonel - and his evolution from blind beggar to farsighted messiah. Much to the father's dismay, the young man begins to give away pieces of the rope to the poor and crippled, which leads to political chaos.

Le Pendu was considered to be - as is most of Gurik's work - a Separatist allegory: the enslaved son liberates himself from the past (ie his father and his father's political cronies), with the rope representing power and revolution.

Deceptively simplistic, in its historical context Le Pendu is fascinating.

Commentary by Gaetan Charlebois

Last updated 2019-10-05