Monologue in two acts by Louisette Dussault, first presented at the Salle Fred-Barry of the Nouvelle Compagnie Théâtrale / Théâtre Denise-Pelletier (then the Nouvelle Compagnie Théâtrale) in 1979, featuring the author. Subsequently performed across the country and around the world, including at the Festival de Nancy (France) where it won two awards. Also made into a film called l'Etau-bus. Mme Dussault went on one last tour with the work in 2000, and plans to retire the piece.
A woman is bringing her two children to stay with her ex-husband. The journey must be made by bus, and the subsequent moments involve the children's restlessness, her memories of her own childhood and her marriage, and the joys and heartaches of being a mother.
Dussault's piece was certainly a case of a work arriving at the right time; women in Quebec, who had once been bound by the institution of marriage were now, since the Quiet Revolution, choosing to simply leave relationships. What Dussault's work addresses most directly is the new freedom of women in Quebec, but, also, the added (and sometimes overwhelming) responsibility of the new social order and, particularly, how it redefined the roles of women and mothers. Though, in the present day, the work often suffers from an archaic cuteness (it calls upon the performer to portray "adorable" children), it is, in the context of its first production, a feminist theatre work in the best sense, in that it rejoices in the movement while maintaining a clear-eyed pragmatism about it.
Mme Dussault said, of the piece, prior to its final tour, "The show was an exorcism. I had a huge need to express the guilt you feel as a mother - of not being good enough, of bugging too much, of not giving enough. The work is a reflection of my impotence and of my own tenderness."
Commentary by Gaetan Charlebois
Last updated 2018-07-22