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Les Beaux Dimanches

Drama in three acts by Marcel Dubé, premiered at Comédie-Canadienne in 1965 with Janine Sutto, Jean Duceppe, Michelle Rossignol, Claude Préfontaine, Andrée Lachapelle, Roger Garceau, Denise Pelletier, Pierre Boucher, Richard Martin, Marjolaine Hébert and Yves Létourneau; directed by Louis-Georges Carrier with set and lights by Jean-Claude Rinfret and costumes by Richard Lorain. Revived at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde in 1994.

Considered a Canadian classic, this is another vicious assault by Dubé on the Quebec middle-class; a domestic melodrama that asks the question, "What do the bourgeoisie do on a Sunday now that they no longer go to church?" Apparently, they tear each other to pieces. Dated for its depiction of women and its cautious political messages, it still gives a fairly accurate picture of the hole left in Quebec society by the Quiet Revolution.

Influenced by American drama, the work's atmosphere of constant flirtation, drinking and threats of divorce is heavily reminiscent of Edward Albee, particularly Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (whose opening preceded Beaux...'s by three years).

Victor and Hélène have "friends" over the Sunday after a Saturday night debauch. We then see a fierce example of the wars between the generations and men and women. The dialogue occasionally sounds as if it were directly recorded from such real occasions: naïve political talk, bitter "humour" and sniping.

The critical reaction was vociferous, with those who disliked the work doing so with as much gusto as those who loved it. Summing up the opening, Manuel Maître wrote in La Patrie, "There are...some good passages that had some spectators frozen in their seats...at the premiere...here and there in the hall, groups of spectators, certainly the young, applauded with vigour."

The play has been adapted to film.

Commentary by Gaetan Charlebois.

Last updated 2016-04-10