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Toupin, Paul

Playwright born in Montreal, Quebec, in 1918, died in 1993.

He studied in France, receiving a doctorate from the Université d'Aix-Marseill, and acquainting himself with contemporary French theatre in Paris. On his return to Montreal, he worked as a journalist and critic, and promoted new French drama. He also taught at the Université de Sherbrooke and Loyola University.

Toupin's first play, Le Choix, was mounted in 1951 at Salle du Gésu. Set during WWII, it presents the dilemma of a mother who must choose which of her two sons will be taken as a hostage. His second play, Brutus, was mounted by Pierre Dagenais at the Salle du Gésu in 1952 (remounted at the Comédie-Canadienne in 1960). It is an historical tragedy centred on Brutus's betrayal of Caesar's friendship and of his wife's love in his pursuit of political ideals. This theme of betrayal recurs in his medieval tragedy, Le Mensonge (1960), and a contemporary work, Chacun son amour, featuring a modern Don Juan.

Son dernier rôle (1979) dramatizes the last days of a great actor who collapses while rehearsing Racine's Phedre.

His works have been produced on television and radio, and crtically acclaimed, but did not enjoy a wide popular appeal.

In his critical work, L'Ecrivain et son théatre (1964), he mounts a defense of his plays, and a critique of other playwrights.

In 1952 he was awarded the Prix de littérature de la province de Québec; and in 1960 the Prix littéraire du Gouverneur général.

Source: Odette Condemine. Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre, eds. Eugene Benson and L.W.Conolly. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1989.

Last updated 2012-04-20