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Les Canadiens

CTE photo
Rick Salutin

Play in two acts by Rick Salutin (with "an assist" by NHL goalie Ken Dryden), premiered at Centaur Theatre in 1977, directed by Guy Sprung with Sebastien Dhavernas, Luce Guilbeault, Ray Landry, Raymond Belisle, Michael Rudder and Eric Peterson. A second, substantially different version was performed at Toronto Workshop Productions/TWP on 20 October 1977, directed by George Luscombe. This version was published by Talonbooks in 1977, and won the 1977 Chalmers Award.

Salutin has a fine old time using hockey and the "team to beat" as metaphors for the history of Quebec and Canada from the Battle of the Plains of Abraham to the election win by the Parti Québécois in 1976. In the initial production, the actors "skated" on sheets of metallic "ice" as they performed. The audience played along and soon, performances resembled Hockey Night in Canada. The work proved to be one of Centaur Theatre's biggest hits and most enduring theatrical memories, despite its vaguely pro-Quebec Nationalist tone.

Further reading: Mary Jane Miller. “Two Versions of Rick Salutin's Les Canadiens, Theatre History in Canada 1:1 (Spring 1980): 57-69.

Commentary by Gratien Charlebois

Last updated 2021-03-16