In this article, the author focuses on the syncretic character of the myths that
Daniel Danis uses in several plays and that draw on several sources including the Bible and
Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Amerindian spirituality. Beyond this profusion, analysis
finds in Danis’s dramaturgy two great mythical structures—creation and destruction—whose
interaction energizes the relations between groups and between characters. These, which
might be called founding myths, are in turn inseparable from the ritualization of the fable
in which many rituals, and a number of recourses to magic or even the supernatural, are seen
This article unfolds the various strata of the dramatic narrative in which the life
stories and personal accounts of the three Durant brothers are entwined as part of a
rocambolesque series of incidents. This leads to the disclosure of a double parabolic vision
that eventually confirms the metadramatic status of the work and the fact that it is open to
endless interpretation. To this autotelic dimension must be added the paratopic posture of
the author, who establishes his distance from the naturalization of the word in the field of
drama in Québec, while using his own verbal images and neologisms as a technique to “make
In this article, the author starts from Mikhail Bakhtin’s famous statement that
other literary genres are contaminated by the novel to focus on the novelization of the
dramatic text. Analysis reveals the composite character of the narrative material with its
use of epic, tale and chanson de geste, but especially with the contemporary resurgence of
Menippean satire and the serio-comic. The author then examines the hybridization of orality
and literariness in the writing, but also of tones—sometimes trivial, sometimes solemn—and
materials, including those taken from dreams or the visual arts. This aesthetics of mixing
is the formal orientation given by Danis to the story of a culturally and ethnically mixed
people whose wanderings, in point of fact, reflect the search for another location in which
to speak of the existing world.
In this article, the author attempts to understand how the accumulation of often violent episodes in the drama of Danis is the exact opposite of the dominant habits of “storytellers” in contemporary public space. Storytelling is not enough: it is also necessary to know how to play with the utterance modalities that the act of speaking releases in Danis’s speakers. This poetics of speaking is certainly marked by the Gestus of appearance (in the sense of appearing in court), of providing an account based on the facts (with a temporality located after the fact and a responsibility to tell the truth), but also by the emotional vivacity with which a confidential atmosphere is created, as part of a system designed to make the spectator into a partner of the chorus of speakers. This is the originality of a chorality that is both intimate and public, objectifying and perfectly subjective.
The author considers four ways in which Danis plays with the habitual categories of theatre for young audiences. First, he examines the porosity between play and novel, which leads to a peculiar way of handling images and a temporality with blurry outlines. Then, he looks at the way Danis takes charge of the theatrical writing of his text, a move that opens a period of experiments with performance. He then examines the taboo on legitimate subjects for theatre for young audiences, or, more specifically, the characters’ sexuality, which Danis handles with delicacy and frankness. Finally, the author focuses on Danis’s shift from a dramaturgy deeply rooted in Québec territory to an exploration of other places—places where, among other things, violence is inflicted on young people.
After an impressive series of plays written over the ten years from 1993 to 2003, Daniel Danis took a turn in a new direction in the middle of the 2000s as he explored bold and often disconcerting stage forms. The analysis here focuses on the context for dramatic work at the beginning of the new millennium and the stage development of a playwright when he takes charge of the stage. The importance of the text is not evacuated, but its status does shift and become relative as the stage writer is offered several languages—including an audiovisual and a scenographic language—as well as the gestures and utterances of actors (performers is perhaps a better word). Thus we see the emergence of a radically sensorial imaginary world which renounces the development of a full story, choosing rather a mental landscape open to the spectator’s free associations.
The author considers the ins and outs of cultural coexistence
(vivre-ensemble) in several of Danis’s works. Analysis uses several notions
borrowed from sociology and anthropology in order to test hypotheses about the reference to
wild (ensauvagées) origins in the Danisian world. This reference is not seen as a
way of making the past into a founding myth, and attention is paid to the tensions that
affect the denizens of this world who are frequently at odds with representatives of
authority and right-thinking people. In this way, Danis might be seen as presenting worlds
that are subject to a process of disintegration of what is “common”, but at the same time
given life by resistance movements and, in the last instance, by the search for a reinvented
community able to stand up and face the administered society. This may be viewed as the
origin, in Danis’s plays, of the commitment to give priority to marginal and hybrid figures
in the never guaranteed, but always hoped for, reconquest of freedom for all. This utopian
aim is nourished by multiple interrogations about the rapid modernization of French Canadian
society as Danis unearths the traces of what its agents may have repressed.
Kim Thúy and Linda Lê are both of Vietnamese origin; one is Québécoise, the other French. While the two authors share the fact of having lived the unique experience of the boat people, there are great differences in the way each represents exile. In Ru, Kim Thúy presents immigration as a rebirth, the realization of the “American Dream”, while exile in the work of Linda Lê is an expression of irreparable loss. This article proposes to explore the various points of view on the experience of exile and integration found in the first book by Kim Thúy, who seems to have taken a position in favour of happiness, and in a few texts by Linda Lê, described by Nancy Huston as a “professor of despair” and by Simon Harel as a “nasty” writer. We will be looking at the ways in which the one’s narrative is reassuring while the other’s writing is disconcerting in its refusal to compromise or conform.