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Le Temps des lilas

Drama in two acts by Marcel Dubé, premiered at the Théâtre Orphéum, 1958; subsequently played on television in 1962; and toured to Brussels and Paris. It was revived at the Théâtre du Rideau Vert, 1993 with Giséle Schmidt and Gilles Pelletier in the leads.

According to Maurice Lemire (Fides editor of the play), "...the critics did not receive the play without some hesitation. Some deplored the work's lack of dramatic intensity, others the banality of the dialogue..." However, the work signals a change in Quebec drama towards poetic text and more resonant character development (see Aléola and Le temps d'une vie).

Heavily influenced by Anton Chekhov (Three Sisters), Dubé gives us a portrait of a little boarding house and its garden as the world around this microcosm impinges upon and destroys it. Blanche and Virgile are about to have their home expropriated, but they are already surrounded by the despair of the young ingenue abused by her lover, by a single woman who sees her life ending as she enters middle age, by a handsome stranger with a (political) secret.

Very dated, the work was actually old-fashioned even for its time. But Dubé is painting pictures here, and the hues may be subtle but the hand is sure. Even the title (The Time of the Lilacs) suggests the gentleness of watercolours. This play is much more nuanced than his rough and tumble Les Beaux Dimanches.

Commentary by Gaetan Charlebois.

Last updated 2016-04-10