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DRAMA 377 better company. Eugene Benson's Encounter: Canadian Drama in Four M edia (Methuen, 201 , $9.50 cloth, $5.95 paper), brings together some previously published stage plays, including Robertson Davies' Overlaid and Gwen Pharis Ringwood's Still Stands the House, both of which may claim to be Canadian classics, along with previously unpublished plays for radio, television, and film. The choice of plays reRects the editor's interest in 'the conRict of man and his environment,' for the plays, with one exception, have rural settings, the most notable of them being Tiln, Michael Cook's grotesque but evocative radio play about a lighthouse keeper and his dying companion, and Joan Finnegan's screenplay The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar, a relaxed and sympathetic look at a northern Ontario family, poor and irresponsible but with the same tenacity and liveliness that David French sees, and values, in his transplanted Newfoundlanders. After such variety, what conclusions? Most of these plays, even when their aims are large, are admirably spare and unpretentiO US in manner. Through them runs a vein of comedy, from the savage wit of Freeman to the inspired mischief of Reaney. W alsh and The Last of the Tsars are close to tragedy in their subject matter, yet both rely on verbal wit to set up the main conRicts. There is little that is portentous, overwritten, or wilfully obscure. Nobody seems to be trying very hard to write the Great Canadian Play, and for that we may be thankful. We have instead a variety of playwrights working with ease and confidence in a medium they have made their own. (ALEXAND ER LEGGA'IT) THEATRE L'Anthologie du thedtre quebeCOis, 1606-1 970, de lan Doat ( Eds La Liberte, 50S, $11.95), est trap mal faite et trop mal presentee pour servir d'ouvrage de reference: cent pages d'index et d'appendices inutiles, un catalogue rapide d'extraits trap brefs, peu choisis. On pourra lire cependant quelques scenes de M' Archambault, de M' Baker, de I'Hon. Choquette, d'Alfred Descarries, de Joseph Desilets, de Jules Ferland, de Louis Guyon, etc. (Ies 'Temps revolus,' 1900-30, etant It la fois les mains connus et les mieux representes ici). Le tome IV des CEuvres thedtrales du R.P. Gustave Lamarche ( Misteres et miracles, PUL, 487, $10.00) est centre sur les figures (feminines?) 378 LETTERS IN CANADA de Jeanne d'Arc et de Notre-Dame: religion et nation, anges et aviateurs, trompettes et Esquimaux. Avec les CEuvres drarnatiques de Real Benoit (Cercle du livre de France, 207, $4.00), on passe d'un certain Moyen Age (Ie notre) it la modernite, de la reconstitution II la nction, du bruit II la parole, du discours it I'ecriture. La legende armenienne de La Nuit de la Saint-Theodore n'est qu'un pretexte; Le Marin d'Athenes navigue II Montreal, entre deux eaux, deux femmes, deux epoques; Le Chant des grenouilles apres la pluie est un fable, un proverbe: 'On ne va pas parler grenouilles toute la nuit, je vous ai raconte ~a en passant. Ga n'a pas plus d'importance que ~a ...' Mais les mots comptent, et les silences. Piece it creer au theatre, alors que les deux premieres convenaient it la television. Sans compter une reedition augmentee et scindee de Textes et documents (sous ce titre et celui de La Tragedie est un acte de foi), Marcel Dube a fait paraltre dans diverses collections de Lemeac un argument de ballet, ]eremie (69, $1.75), deux comedies dramatiques de 1958 et 1959 plus tard adaptees en 'quatuors' pour la television: Medee (124, $3.25) et La Cellule (116, $3.50), une etude psychologique et sociale du colblanc -bleu : Manuel (148, $3.50), ennn De l'autre cote du mur suivi de cinq courtes pieces (214, $3.25). La piece-titre (1951), proche de Zone, et Les Freres ennemis (1960) sont les plus vivantes du recueil; les deux plus recentes (1972) sont conventionnelles, decevantes. Chez Lemeac toujours (sauf indication contraire), dans Hosanna suivi de La Duchesse de Langeais (107, $1.75), Michel Tremblay esquisse Ie drame d'un travesti (Elisabeth Taylor/Cleopatre) it qui son 'beu' joue...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 377-380
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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