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Afferent drama / efferent cinema: the structure of modern Canadian and Québécois film-mediated drama… Loiselle, André 1995

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AFFERENT DRAMA / EFFERENT CINEMA: THE STRUCTURE OF MODERN CANADIAN AND QUEBECOIS FILM-MEDIATED DRAMA FROM 1972 TO 1992 by ANDRE LOISELLE B.A., Universite du Quebec a Montreal, 1986 Diploma (Film Studies), University of British Columbia, 1988 M.A., University of British Columbia, 1989 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Theatre and Film) We accept this thesis as conforming to the req^red standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July 1995 ®Andre Loiselle, 1995 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. (Signature) Department of T k f c ^ - V r g , <-,*> ¥~t\*\ The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date | 2 , DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT The great majority of the Canadian and Quebecois plays that have been made into films between 1972 and 1992 are neither popular hits nor critically acclaimed works. The question that this dissertation poses is thus why were these rather marginal works adapted for the cinema? The suggested answer is that, beyond the critical or popular success of the plays (or lack thereof), it is their dialectical structure that gives co-herence, through recursive symmetry, to the corpus of Canadian/Quebecois film-mediated drama. To buttress this claim, I conduct a tripartite analysis of the plays and films of the corpus: the first section is devoted to the dramas; the second scrutinizes the process of film-media-tion; and the third evaluates the significance of the corpus in relation to various theoretical and cultural discourses. I examine four texts in detail: William Fruet's Wedding in White (film: Fruet); Marcel Dube's Les Beaux Dimanches (film: Richard Martin); Carol Bolt's One Niaht Stand (film: Allan W. King); and Rene-Daniel Dubois's Being at Home with Claude, (film: Jean Beaudin). Subsequently, a brief survey of other works shows that the conclusions drawn from these case studies also apply to the corpus as a whole. To realize this analysis, I follow the structuralist methodology proposed by Thomas Price in Dramatic Structure and Meaning in Theatrical Productions (1992), which explicates dramas and films in terms of the dialectical conflicts that they display. The first phase of inquiry shows that the plays exhibit an ii a f ferent-withdrawal/ef ferent-escape dialectic, that is, a tension between a coercive inward pressure and an explosive outward force. The second part argues that this tension finds further expression in the cinematic adaptations, as the closed dramas are "opened up" through the addition of outward filmic imagery. The final part suggests that this tension constitutes a key characteristic of film-mediated drama as a genre, for it embodies the clash between a dramatic concentration on a nucleus of characters (afferent drama), and a filmic tendency to explode this nucleus (efferent cinema). Part III evidences as well that the afferent-withdrawal/efferent-escape dialectic relates to a prototypical expression of the Canadian/Quebecois imagination as defined by Canadian studies scholars such as Gaile McGregor. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iv Acknowlegement v INTRODUCTION Chapter I Hypothesis and Theoretical Framework 1 Chapter II A Brief History of the Corpus 40 PART I STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF THE PLAYS 82 Chapter III Wedding in White 93 Chapter IV Les Beaux Dimanches 134 Chapter V One Night Stand 185 Chapter VI Being at Home with Claude 212 Chapter VII Other Plays from the Corpus 254 PART II FILM MEDIATION OF THE DRAMATIC CORPUS 292 Chapter VIII Wedding in White 296 Les Beaux Dimanches 315 Chapter IX One Night Stand 334 Being at Home with Claude 345 Other Films from the Corpus 355 PART III THE BROADER SIGNIFICANCE OF FILM-MEDIATED DRAMA 377 Chapter X Discourses on the Stage/Screen Dichotomy and the Canadian/ Quebecois Imagination 379 Chapter XI Postscript to the First Cycle of Modern Canadian and Quebecois Film-Mediated Drama 419 BIBLIOGRAPHY 427 APPENDICES 439 iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would like to express my gratitude to the following people for their trust and support: Naomi, Eliane, Sylvie, Odette, Charles-et-Danielle, Benoit, Brent, Dick, Pete-and-Kelli, Professors Jerry Wasserman, Brian Mcllroy, Alain-Michel Rocheleau, Errol Durbach, Peter Loeffler, John Wright, and the faculty, staff and students of UBC's Department of Theatre and Film. v INTRODUCTION CHAPTER I. HYPOTHESIS AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Concurrently, during the 1960s, francophone and anglophone audiences witnessed the beginning of a new stage in the evolu-tion of cinematic and theatrical practice in Canada. This renaissance in film and drama, as in other fields, ensued from a favourable conjunction of demographic, economic, social, and political factors that allowed a young generation of English Canadian and Quebecois artists to emerge all at once on the national scene, wielding a decidedly modern iconoclasm in the face of their elders.1 With the landmark productions of Gilles Groulx' s Le Chat dans le sac and Don Owen' s Nobody Waved Goodbye, in 1964, the documentarists of the English and French units of the National Film Board effected in concert a seminal passage from "direct cinema" to fiction, thus inaugurating one of the most influential trends in Canadian film history.2 A few years later, the dramaturgies of Canada and Quebec were also revived almost simultaneously. George Ryga's The Ecstasy of Rita Joe. first staged in Vancouver in November 1967, and Michel Tremblay's Les Belles-Soeurs. which premiered the following summer in Montreal, captured the imagination of both linguistic communities at virtually the same time, and heralded an era of unprecedented growth in theatrical activity across the country.3 But despite these synchronous watersheds, theatre and film in Quebec have developed, over the last thirty years, along lines significantly different from those followed by their Page 1 English Canadian counterparts. As Canadian drama critic Robert Wallace explains, "the historical and political contexts that frame the stage in Montreal are different from those at work in Toronto, and continue to condition distinctly different forms of theatrical practice."4 This discrepancy between the theatrical practices of the two cities might explain why, for instance, Jean-Pierre Ronfard's Vie et mort du roi Boiteux (1981-2), one of the most important theatrical events ever produced in Montreal, was never brought to Toronto, and why hit plays from Toronto, like those of George F. Walker, have rarely attracted much attention in Montreal's French-speaking theatre community.5 Wallace's comment also applies to the film industry, as Sylvain Garel confirms in his introduction to Les Cinemas du Canada (1992): "l'histoire du cinema quebecois est tres large-ment independante de celle du Canada anglais et fonctionne selon un mysterieux systeme de vases (non) communicants."6 In fact, the cinematic traditions of English Canada and Quebec differ so markedly that film historian Pierre Veronneau admits that, even in the 1990s, "peu de Quebecois ont une connaissance correcte du cinema canadien [et] se sentent spontanement habilites a ecrire sur le cinema canadien alors que plusieurs le seraient sur le cinema frangais ou americain."7 Few critics would deny that, in the sphere of film and theatre production, the contrasts between Quebec and English Canada outweigh, by far, the affinities. There is, however, a closely related field that presents surprising similarities, namely, modern Canadian and Quebecois film-mediated drama. The Page 2 purpose of this study is to examine a number of Canadian and Quebecois plays that have been made into feature films since the 1960s, in an attempt to demonstrate that these similarities, far from being superficial, actually partake of a complex system of parallelism between modern Canadian and Quebecois film-mediated drama. The most striking similitude is, ironically, the lack of interest that filmmakers working in both Canada and Quebec since the 1960s have shown in indigenous stage plays as valuable sources for cinematographic production. From 1972 to 1992, the period that this dissertation will cover in most detail, fewer than twenty original Canadian and Quebecois plays have been made into feature films, out of which only a dozen are published texts. These plays are: Marcel Dube's Les Beaux Dimanches (1965); William Fruet's Wedding in White (1972); Jack Cunningham's See No Evil, Hear... (1972, not published); Me? (1973) by Martin Kinch; Metal Messiah (1975, not published) by Stephan Zoller; Les Celebrations (197 6) by Michel Garneau; Gapi (1976) by Antonine Maillet; Carol Bolt's One Night Stand (1977); Une amie d'enfance (1977) by Louise Roy and Louis Saia; Walls (1978) by Christian Bruyere; Hank Williams "The Show He Never Gave" (1979, not published) by Maynard Collins; Cold Comfort (1981) by Jim Garrard; Du poil aux pattes comme les CWAC' s (1982) by Maryse Pelletier; The Mark of Cain (1984, not published) by Peter Colley; Blue City Slammers (1985, not published) by Layne Coleman; Rene-Daniel Dubois's Being at Home with Claude (1985); Borderdown Cafe (1987) by Kelly Rebar and Page 3 Memoirs of Johnny Daze (not published) by John Beckett Wimbs (for more details see Appendix 1) . As this list attests, the majority of these plays, both from Quebec and Canada, are not among the most critically acclaimed works of the conventional canon. Unlike their American counterparts, it appears that Canadian and Quebecois filmmakers have elected not to adapt the great landmarks of the canon, choosing instead somewhat less significant pieces.9 Acknowledged master works such as Dube's Au retour des oies blanches (1966), Frangoise Loranger's Encore cinq minutes (1967), Tremblay's Les Belles-soeurs (1968), David French's Leaving Home (1972), John Murrell's Waiting for the Parade (1977) and David Fennario's Balconville (1979) have all been turned into television shows rather than feature films, leaving the big screen for improbable works like Roy's and Saia's Une amie d'enfance, and Colley's The Mark of Cain.10 As film critic Martin Knelman observes, Canadian playwrights have generally fared even worse on the screen than Canadian actors. Among those who might have expected to make a mark in films, but haven't, are John Murrell, David French, George F. Walker, Michel Tremblay, Sharon Pollock, Erika Ritter and Larry Fineberg. How many times have memorable evenings of Canadian theatre been turned into dead, well-meaning TV events?11 Many reasons can explain the predicament described by Knelman. Conflict of vision between dramatist and director, for instance, might result in the failure of a film adaptation project, as occurred when Erika Ritter and Norman Jewison battled over the screenplay version of her hit comedy Automatic Page 4 Pilot (1980) .12 Financial difficulties and other production impediments might also explain why some major plays were never filmed. Daryl Duke's frustrated attempt to film Ryga's Rita Joe (19 67) is a case in point.13 But regardless of the conjunctures that might hinder the realisation of any movie, the fact remains that most of the plays that have made it to the big screen are not among the works that have marked the history of theatre in Canada. Modern Canadian and Queb^cois film-mediated drama thus con-stitutes a rare corpus within which the francophone and anglo-phone practices share a common ground, at least insofar as film-mediated drama occupies a comparable position of marginality in the cinematic production of both linguistic communities. It does not come as a surprise, therefore, that, apart from one or two odd historical surveys, not a single scholarly work, in either French or English, has been devoted to the analysis of this corpus. The present study seeks to remedy this situation. Interestingly enough, while film-mediated drama is charac-terized by the scantiness of the corpus, and the relative marginality of the works that compose it, the same is not true of film adaptations of anglophone and francophone Canadian novels. Novels such as Gabrielle Roy's Bonheur d'Occasion (1945), Hugh MacLennan's Two Solitudes (1945), Roger Lemelin's Les Plouffe (1948), Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959), Anne Hebert's Kamouraska (1970), Margaret Atwood's Surfacing (1972), Timothy Findley's The Wars (1977), and Yves Beauchemin's Le Matou (1981) are all central works of Page 5 the Canadian literary canon that have been made into feature films since the 1960s. Apart from these significant entries, more than thirty other prose fiction works have also been adapted over the same period (Appendix 2). A variety of hypotheses can be advanced to account for the quantitative and qualitative imbalance between film adaptations of novels and film-mediated drama, the most commonplace of which is probably that "novel and film," as Joy Gould Boyum puts it, "are closer than play and film in both form and function."14 It could also be argued that the best Canadian plays, unlike our best novels, do not lend themselves easily to the process of film-mediation, being too "theatrical" to translate successfully into cinematic terms. But this argument is hardly convincing since many of the plays that have been adapted respect rigorous-ly the three unities of classical drama and display none of the "cinematic" qualities (numerous scenes, several locations, sense of expansive landscape etc.) found in other, far more successful plays, like Walker's Zastrozzi (1977) and Ronfard's Vie et mort du Roi Boiteux. that have not been transposed for the screen. However, there is a rationale, stemming from the historical specificity of Canadian and Quebecois cinema, that does explain the disparity between literary adaptations and film-mediated drama. The renaissance of fiction film-making in Canada and Quebec, in the 1960s, coincided with the culmination of the New Wave movement in European cinema. The first generation of modern Canadian and Quebecois fiction filmmakers, emerging from the documentary tradition, adopted whole-heartedly the precepts of Page 6 this movement, which favoured the combination of auteuristic subjectivity with a documentarian approach to socio-political issues. The fact that, in the 1960s, there was this "desire among Canadians to make N their own kind of films, '" as Peter Harcourt notes, had a profound and lasting influence on the cineastes' practice of adaptation.15 Indeed, as Pierre Veronneau explains, over the decade, "les cineastes s'affirment davantage comme des 'auteurs' capables de pondre leurs propres scena-rios."15 But whereas, during the heyday of auteurism, Canadian and Quebecois novels were still being adapted, indigenous play-scripts were systematically rejected by the film industry.17 Only in the 1970s did film-mediated drama eventually appear — though always as a marginal practice. This ensues from a fundamental difference between prose fiction and drama, a difference that renders the former more compatible than the latter with the auteurist aspirations of filmmakers. The novel, unlike the play-script, never functions as a fixed, authoritative text imposed upon the director. There is an essential dissimilarity between the exclusively digital medium of the novel, that is, a form limited in its description of the world to abstract written symbols, and the analogic medium of film, which can offer a mimetic depiction of the environment through presentative images and sounds.18 Consequently, the cinematic treatment of prose fiction always entails a complete transmutation of the original scripturally narrated material into an essentially perceptual construct to be shown on screen — even if the film attempts to be "faithful" to Page 7 the novel. While this process does not insure the full auteur-ship of the cineaste, it doubtlessly undermines the supremacy of the literary author, whose written descriptions vanish behind sound and images. Adaptations of novels thus provide a con-venient compromise between the auteurist ambitions of filmmakers and the commercial demands of a movie industry always seeking to capitalize on the success of pre-existing material. A similar process of re-writing is certainly not impossible in the case of cinematic adaptations of drama. But a "faithful" adaptation of a play does not demand a radical transformation of the original text, because a dramatic piece is primarily written for the analogic or mimetic medium of the theatre. The only sections of the play-script that must yield to visualization are the descriptive didascalia whose written information is trans-lated into actual objects and actions. For its part, the dramatic language of the playwright, the dialogue — or what Roman Ingarden called "Haupttext" (primary text) as opposed to the "Nebentext" (secondary text) of the stage directions19 — can be carried over into the film in its near-integrity, irrespec-tive of cinematization. A case in point is Yves Simoneau's 1979 adaptation of Les Celebrations, which was shot "tel quel, sauf pour un monologue interieur que [Simoneau a] suprime."20 The role of the cineaste adapting a play is thus often more akin to that of a stage director interpreting the dialogue of the author, than to that of an inspired auteur appropriating a narrative line and transmuting it to correspond to her or his own vision. Therefore, it is not surprising that within a filmic Page 8 "tradition qui doit en bonne partie au documentaire et au cinema d'auteur," as Veronneau remarks, "le cinema delaisse aujourd'hui le theatre," but conserves its interest in prose fiction.21 As a matter of fact, in the filmic tradition of Quebec, which has shown a greater and more consistent proclivity for auteurism than its Canadian counterpart, the imbalance between adaptations of novels and adaptations of plays is even more pronounced than in the anglophone tradition.22 The marginal character of film-mediated drama in the cinematic tradition of the past three decades thus results, at least in part, from the fact that this mode of production goes against the grain of the Quebecois and Canadian cineastes.23 This leads me to suggest that, in the rare cases when plays have been brought to the big screen, the success of the pieces on stage did not constitute the principal criterion for the filmmakers' choice of sources. By this I do not imply that filmmakers purposefully choose to adapt obscure or bad plays. Rather, I wish to propose that, beyond the critical or popular success of the plays (or lack thereof), it is the structure of these works that gives coherence to the corpus of film-mediated drama. I would thus argue that, although adapting plays represents something of an unnatural act for Canadian and Quebecois cineastes, it nonetheless affords them a unique means to explore specific issues. To buttress this claim, I will conduct an analysis of the plays and films that comprise the corpus of modern Canadian and Quebecois film-mediated drama. This inquiry will follow a Page 9 tripartite organisation: the first section will be devoted to the dramatic texts; the second will scrutinize the process of film-mediation; and the final part will evaluate the broader significance of the corpus in relation to various theoretical and cultural discourses. To insure the manageability of this enterprise, I will examine in detail only the four most notable works of the corpus: Fruet's Wedding in White (film by Fruet, 1972); Dube's Les Beaux Dimanches (film by Richard Martin, 1974); Bolt's One Nicrht Stand (film by Allan W. King, 1978); and Dubois's Being at Home with Claude (film by Jean Beaudin, 1992). However, on the basis of the conclusions drawn from these four case studies, I will subsequently attempt to elaborate a com-prehensive explication of the corpus through a survey of all the published Canadian and Quebecois plays that have been made into indigenous feature films between 1972 and 1992.24 The methodology employed for this analysis will follow the structuralist principles expounded by Thomas Price in his book Dramatic Struc-ture and Meaning in Theatrical Productions (1992), which offers a practical paradigm for the explication of standard plays and films.25 This methodology was chosen primarily because the published texts of the corpus all adopt conventional dramatic forms that lend themselves quite cogently to the type of structuralist reading that Price proposes in his treatise. Indeed, an overview of the corpus reveals that, besides being on the fringe of the canon, the works share a number of strikingly orthodox dramatic properties. As pointed out above, many of them observe the three Page 10 unities of classical drama. Les Beaux Dimanches, Me?. One Night Stand. Une amie d'enfance. Cold Comfort. Being at Home with Claude and Bordertown Cafe are all plays that strictly respect the unities of time, place and action. They all unfold in cir-cumscribed locations; they cover a period of roughly twenty-four hours, or less; and they concentrate on single dialectical con-flicts between well-defined opponents. Even the plays that do not rigidly abide by the rules of time and place, like Wedding in White. Les Celebrations. Gapi, Walls. and Du poil aux pattes comme les CWAC's. nevertheless trace clear through-lines of action, and use explicitly framed and situated scenes to operate obvious manoeuvres through time and space. None of the published dramas of the corpus replicate the complex intermingling of past and present, here and elsewhere, found in more stylistically daring Canadian works like Ryga's Rita Joe. Sharon Pollock's Doc (1984) and Tremblay's Albertine. en cinq temps (1984), in which the changes of locale and epoch are obliquely evoked rather than directly stated. At the level of dramatic construction, therefore, the plays of the corpus by no means subvert established practices. Similarly, the personages that people these plays do not challenge accepted notions of theatrical characterization, for they all function as unified subjects, hypostatized with personal attributes that remain consistent throughout the dramas. Unlike, for instance, the intangible, postmodern26 creatures of Walker's Ramona and the White Slaves (1976), whose elusive identities disconcertingly merge into one another during Page 11 the play, the personages of the corpus are realistic depictions of individuated subjects, whose actions can be understood in terms of typical human behaviour. As a matter of fact, none of the men and women encountered in our collection of texts even exhibits the Pirandellian intricacies of Tremblay's drag queens, especially the Duchesse de Langeais and Hosanna, who wear so many layers of masks that it becomes almost impossible to tell the imaginary character from the "real" person. The corpus does count two prominent homosexual figures, namely, Oliver from Me? and Yves from Being at Home with Claude, who depart sightly from the norm. But neither Oliver nor Yves falls into the spiral of imaginary personas displayed in certain Quebecois and Canadian dramas probing gay issues. Here, I am not only referring to Tremblay's pieces, but also to other well-known titles like Normand Chaurette's Provincetown Playhouse, -iuillet 1919. -j'avais 19 ans (1981), Pollock's Blood Relations (1981) and Michel-Marc Bouchard's Les Feluettes ou la Repetition d'un drame romantiaue (1987), in which the gay characters undermine the concept of a stable subject position by fabri-cating multiple images of themselves through mise-en-abyme performances of their own convoluted dramas.27 The fact that Being at Home with Claude and the other plays of the corpus do not expose the vicissitudes of the postmodern subject in such daedal terms does not entail that these are simplistic plays — far from it. However, it does suggest that, unlike other recent works, the texts of the corpus are not primarily concerned with the postmodern condition. Page 12 Another conspicuously conventional characteristic of the corpus is the fact that the four plays written by women do not drastically resist the predominantly phallo-centric principles of dramatic composition. Although these texts concentrate on female characters — except for Gapi, which focuses on two men — they still resort to the kind of linear dialectical progression emblematic of masculine writing, rather than employing the elusive ecriture feminine prevailing in feminist dramas like Jovette Marchessault' s La Sacra des poules mouillees (1981).28 Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of characters in the published plays of the corpus carry a Western European heritage. In the dozen texts with which we are dealing, there is not a single immigrant from Asia, and only one Native person and one individual of African descent, both cast in the stereotypical roles of convicted criminals in Bruyere's Walls. Thus, the Euro-centric norms and prejudices that are seriously called into question in such plays as Dry Lips Ouahta Move to Kapuskasina (1989) by Amerindian author Tomson Highway, and Afrika Solo (1990) from African-Canadian performer Djanet Sears, seem to be accepted at face value in the works of the corpus. In many respects, therefore, the works that compose the corpus of modern Canadian and Quebecois film-mediated drama manifest a kind of orthodoxy that is more germanely investigated through structuralism than through current practices such as post-colonialism, feminist criticism and queer theory. As a matter of fact, such conventionality seems surprising, for some of the playwrights associated with the corpus are famous (if not Page 13 infamous) for the iconoclastic edge of their artistic practices. For example, as artistic director of Toronto Free Theatre in the 1970s, Martin Kinch earned the nickname "Mr. Sex-and-Violence" because of his proclivity for gruesome and graphically carnal spectacles, which relentlessly attacked the puritanical fagade of English Canadian society.25 His play, Me?. however, bears little evidence of this insurgent fascination with sex and violence, especially when compared with a truly radical play like Michael Hollingsworth's orgiastic Clear Light (1973), which Kinch directed with such caustic irreverence that it was banned by the Toronto morality squad.30 Although in a very different manner, Rene-Daniel Dubois has also acquired the reputation of being a brilliantly provocative nonconformist, primarily on the basis of his award-winning drama Ne blamez jamais les Bedouins (1984), which depicts, in half-a-dozen languages, the frantic last seconds before a frontal collision between two military trains. As Paul Lefebvre says, Dubois "plays so daringly and flamboyantly with space, time, language and the prevailing conventions of playwriting that his work often is compared to poetic frenzy — marvellous torrents of images to some, and mere empty verbosity to others."31 But Being at Home with Claude, the only play by Dubois to have been adapted for film, is also one of the least representative works of his explosively flamboyant dramaturgy. Realistic and sober in its depiction of a police interrogation, Being at Home with Claude is closer, in style and perhaps even in theme, to a classic like Dube's Zone (1953), for instance, than to Dubois's Page 14 own works of the early 1980s. My purpose in foregrounding the stylistic orthodoxy of Being at Home with Claude and the other published plays of the corpus is not to speculate on why these dramatists chose to ignore the various postmodernist techniques available and resorted, instead, to less formally challenging modes of composition. Rather my point is to stress the fact that the works of the corpus do construct their meanings through the use of conventional dramatic structures. It appears, therefore, that the most appropriate way to approach these plays is to adopt an analytical strategy adapted to this recurrent dramatic style. Consequently, Price's structuralist paradigm appears as a most pertinent methodology to analyze the works of the corpus, for its primary function is, expressly, to explicate the ways in which conventional drama generates its meaning. There is certainly no shortage of methodologies comparable to Price's, but they are not equally suitable for the task at hand. Several theoretical treatises, from Anne Ubersfeld's influential Lire le theatre (1978) to Thomas John Donahue's little-known Structures of Meaning: A Semiotic Approach to the Play Text (1993), develop useful models for the interpretation of the mechanisms engendering meaning in orthodox play-scripts. But most of these hermeneutical systems do not afford a perspec-tive on a central aspect of the present study, namely, the cinematic treatment of drama. Other manuals, such as Martin Esslin's The Field of Drama: How the Signs of Drama create Meaning on Stage and Screen (1987), do incorporate comments on Page 15 cinema. But, as is the case with Esslin's book, these works often tend only to describe, or even merely enumerate,32 the encoding devices that theatre and film have at their disposal to construct meaning, without offering any methodological pointers on how to decipher these generated codes in order to elucidate the intricacies of given dramatic texts. Even Roy Armes's 1994 study, Action and Image: Dramatic Structure in Cinema, which articulates a valuable definition of the dramatic patterns that underlie most playscripts and film scenarios, does not provide us with what is required for our purpose, to wit, a systematic methodology that can guide us in our attempt to interpret the signifying structures of theatrical texts and their cinematic adaptations.33 However, Price's Dramatic Structure and Meaning in Theatrical Productions does afford such a methodology, hence its use throughout this dissertation. I will refer occasionally to other theories such as Stanley D. Wilson's psychological inquiry into the roots of shame, Julia Kristeva's reflections on the abject and Leslie Kane's interpretation of silence in modern drama, to confirm and expand the conclusions already drawn via Price's approach.34 But I will always keep these temporary digressions within the broader schema proposed by Price, so as to insure that the same analytical criteria are applied to all the texts studied. Obviously, a new publication like Price's has not been thoroughly assessed yet. In this sense, resorting to this methodology entails a certain risk, for its potential defects have not been identified. (As a matter of fact, the present Page 16 study might very well serve as an initial testing ground for Price's system). However, his approach affords the double advan-tage of stemming from a well-established tradition of dramatic criticism based on Hegelian dialectics, while also incorporating current critical practices such as reader-response theory and deconstruction (Price xiv) . Moreover, the seven case studies that Price submits to demonstrate the practical application of his method, the countless peripheral examples that he provides throughout his book, as well as the enlightening results obtained by employing this framework to scrutinize the corpus of film-mediated drama, have persuaded me of the overall validity of his system of textual inquiry. To familiarize the reader with the general terms of this approach, it will prove useful, here, to outline the elementary principles of Price's methodology. The details of his argument will be explained later, in the course of the analysis proper. In a nutshell, Price's system is based on a three-stage procedure. The first stage is concerned with the structure of action in drama (dialectic of action). The second addresses the semiotic material, that is, the supporting visual and verbal imagery (dialectic of imagery). And the third seeks to abstract a qualitative description of the parallel structures of action and imagery by highlighting the quintessential attributes of each side of the dialectic (implicational dialect) (Price 5-6). The dialectic of action follows the Hegelian postulate that drama "is essentially binary in structure, expressing the tension between opposing yet complementary mental functions" Page 17 (Price 7). This assumption, as Price demonstrates, even stands the test of Chekhovian dramaturgy (Price 192-222). But Price also recognizes that not all theatrical or filmic productions conform to the paradigm. Bunuel's disjointed film Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie (1972), for instance, is one such work, whose separate parts do not coalesce into a unified dialectical structure (Price, 17). But this qualification does not diminish the relevance of Price's approach in the context of this study, for, as shown above, the works with which we are involved do not challenge customary dramatic construction. With this reservation in mind, Price further argues that the differentiated personalities that move on stage function as the embodied fragments of one of the two disputing agencies (Price 13-4) . Certain dramas contain only one agency involved in a struggle against a "hidden player" (Price 2 8-3 6) . Godot, in Beckett's text, is a famous representative of the hidden player, and Sandra, in Tremblay's Hosanna (1973), plays a similar role. Other works include a third conglomerate character, located at a "disengaged apex position" (Price 46) . This is the typical structure of the triangular love-comedy, in which a character personifies the desired object of the two opposing forces. During the course of the drama, Price argues, [. . . ] one side of the argument eventually asserts its dominance over the other. [...] Those characters of the drama who are permitted to achieve their overrid-ing wish make up the fantasy's dominant function; those who are not allowed to attain their overriding objective comprise its recessive function. The former are here designated as "protagonists," the latter as "antagonists" (Price 7). Page 18 The task of the analyst thus involves determining whether the actions performed by the characters lead to their victory or their failure. Consequently, the function of a character, though often pervading the play or film, emerges definitely only at the closure of the drama (Price 18). It could be argued that Price's strategy is not applicable to modern drama, for many plays and films produced over the last few decades do not confer victory to anyone, leaving the characters hanging in a state of utter irresolution. Price responds to such reservations by demonstrating that many recent texts, as varied as Sam Shepard's True West (1980), John Carpenter's Escape from New York (1981) and Federico Fellini's Citv of Women (1980) (Price 312, 314), display what he calls a "synthetic-implied" structure, which develops an oppressive conflict between two equally dysfunctional forces — often rationalized as dis-cordant political systems — and leaves the struggle either stalemated or so unhappily concluded that, in either case, the auditor is drawn to supply in his own mind an acceptable alternative. [...These texts bring] down the curtain on an inconclusive war where victory and defeat have utterly lost significance [...] (Price 309) . This type of dramatic structure will be further discussed later. At this point, it should only be added that the texts belonging in the synthetic-implied category, although highly ironic, frequently pessimistic and often rejecting closure, still function within Price's dialectical framework.35 Unlike other dramas, however, these texts focus on internecine conflicts on the losing side of the debate, relegating the winning agent to Page 19 a position of marginality or even silencing it altogether. The winning camp being eclipsed by the self-destructive strife of its more conspicuous opponents, "it makes no difference at all which of the initial adversaries we designate as ^protagonist' or xantagonist' [...for they are] belatedly understood to be antagonists unwittingly locked in an internal war" (Price 311). Price also makes clear that the terms protagonist and anta-gonist do not necessarily refer to the "hero," on the one hand, and the "villain, " on the other hand. The most detestable of characters can be labelled protagonists if they are the victors in the drama, as the most engaging personages become antagonists if they lose the battle (Price 14-6). In Walker's The Art of War (1983), for example, the evil neo-fascist arms dealer John Hackman is indisputably the protagonist of the play, for he remains, to the end, in complete control of his circumstances. The honest liberal-humanist private investigator, Tyrone M. Power, on the other hand, despite his good intentions, fails miserably in his attempt to stop Hackman, and thus stumbles his way into the antagonistic category. In such a case, the drama belongs to the ironic mode (Price 20-1). Dialectical shifts, in the course of a drama, are not excluded. A character can move from the protagonist's camp to that of the antagonist, or vice versa, or can actually evade the dialectic all together and adopt a neutral position. But in all cases, the movement is always unidirectional (Price 41-50). As Price demonstrates at length, using numerous examples to support his claim, characters in a play "always move in a parallel Page 20 course to the same goal. Their shifts may occur at different moments during the action, but never in different directions" (Price 42) Thus, if a character moves from the protagonist side to the side of the antagonist, all the other characters in the play will either remain in their initial position, or also move towards the antagonistic function. Keeping in mind his earlier qualification concerning certain heterodox types of drama, Price goes on to assert that "there are only seven basic movement-patterns, and that every dramatic conflict will conform to the dynamic tendencies of one or another of these seven classes" (Price 69). "A drama's whole tone," he adds, "and sometimes even its purport, depend [sic] to a large degree upon the direction in which its characters move" (Price 42). The second stage of analysis concerns the dialectic of imagery. At this stage, the student of dramatic texts must discern the various signs — sounds, images, objects, words — assigned to each side of the bipolar structure to qualify the characters' actions and identify the nature of their wish. Just as the actions of the protagonists and antagonists collide, their rhetoric and material entourage also clash, thus providing "emotional heightening and definition for the struggle between the dominant and recessive camps of belligerents" (Price 51). In Rene Gingras's triangular drama Syncope (1983), for instance, the battle between Frangois, an emotional punk, and Dupuis, a level-headed businessman, to control the destiny of Pete, a paradoxically rational artist, is manifested in the conflicting physical appearance and linguistic usage of the two opponents. Page 21 Pete, as the object of Francois's and Dupuis's dispute, stands at the apex position in terms of both action and imagery. It is at this level of inquiry that Price's exegetical technique proves most pertinent to the analysis of filmic adap-tations of plays. Indeed, since his approach considers visual and verbal signs as a complementary instrument in the definition of the dialectic of action that forms the core of a drama, the process of film-mediation can be interpreted, within this methodological framework, as a superimposition of cinematic imagery upon an underlying dramatic structure, at least in the cases where the film retains the basic dialectical configuration of the original play. The task of elucidating the transposition-al procedure thus amounts, in many instances, to identifying alterations in the semiotic material that lends symbolic resonance to the dialectic of action. Finally, the third stage of analysis, dealing with the implicational dialectic, entails a qualitative description of the action and counter-action of the drama. This procedure affords the identification of the values championed by the text. In a congruous drama, words such as "freedom," "love," and "jus-tice" can be used as descriptions of the ethos of the protago-nists, while the antagonists' ethos is described by their antonyms (Price 59-60). For instance, Francois Truffaut's film Jules et Jim (1961) is organized around the implicational opposites Civility/Anarchy, Responsibility/Irresponsibility, Contentment/Discontent etc., with the protagonist, Jules, defined by the first term of each doublet (Price 2 66) . In an Page 22 ironic drama, on the other hand, the protagonists' motivations are associated with "terms that are conventionally negative in character" and the antagonists fail to realize the positive ambitions that inspire them (Price 62). Although the implicational dialectic might appear to be a reductive practice, for it seeks to summarize complex dramatic conflicts in sets of simple antonyms, it can nevertheless prove to be a very valuable analytical instrument. As a matter of fact, the eminent film scholar David Bordwell writes in his book Making Meaning (1989) that, since the 1970s, the semantic doublet has become an almost indispensable interpretative tool. Laura Mulvey's "visual pleasure" argument depends upon the psychoanalytic doublet voyeurism/fetishism. [...] Kracauer's From Caligari to Hitler treated German cinema as torn between tyranny and chaos. For Jacques Rivette, Hitchcock's films revealed a duality of external appearances and hidden secrets.36 In the context of the present study, semantic antinomies are particularly useful inasmuch as they enable us to highlight, in the condensed form of implicational pairings, central aspects of the dialectics at work in each text and, subsequently, to identify recurrent patterns throughout the corpus on the basis of the salient clues that the doublets provide. Of course, to be genuinely conducive to a thorough understanding of the corpus, the implicational dialectic must not limit itself to universal opposites like life/death or female/male, which are shared by innumerable dramatic works. Rather, the doublets must be as specific as possible to mobilize abstractions expressly indica-tive of the distinct characteristics of the dramas, so that corn-Page 23 parison between the texts will divulge consequential similar-ities within the corpus. Price's three stages of analysis will not only guide the examination of the individual plays of the corpus; they will also shape the overarching design of the present study, which, as pointed out above, will deal successively with the plays, the process of film-mediation, and the broader significance of film-mediated drama vis-a-vis theoretical approaches to film and theatre, and within the Canadian and Quebecois cultural con-texts . It will emerge from the first phase of inquiry conducted in the light of Price's theory that an overwhelming majority of the plays analyzed below present a dialectical composition that pits the coercive pressures exerted by a threatening exterior against the explosive forces discharged by a claustrophobic interior. The dramatic conflicts, in these texts, thus revolve around a tension between an inward restraint and an outward drive, that is, an afferent-withdrawal/efferent-escape37 dialectic that racks the central characters located at the threshold, as they seek to remain inside or make it to the outside. In most plays, the central characters end up in the antagonistic position at the closure of the drama. In the few cases in which the central characters occupy the protagonist's function, their victory is usually tainted with irony. However, in all the dramas exhibit-ing the afferent-withdrawal/efferent-escape implicational dialectic, the antagonist or ironic protagonist ultimately remains entrapped inside. Page 24 As will be demonstrated in Chapters III to VII, this structure is manifest in several works of the corpus such as Fruet's Wedding in White and Dube's Les Beaux Dimanches. In both plays, the main female character (Jeanie in the former and Helene in the latter) attempts to escape the constrictive environment in which she is detained by a male figure, but even-tually renounces her desire to flee because of the dread that she feels before the unknown world "out there." A variation of the same structure underlies Bolt's One Night Stand, in which it is the female character, Daisy, who wants to enclose the efferent energies of her male partner, Rafe. In this play, as in the other ones, the safe, albeit confining, inside resists the pressures of the outside. But to preserve this internal in-tegrity, Daisy must literally kill the embodiment of the external threat that Rafe represents. Similarly, in Dubois's Being at Home with Claude, the central character, Yves, must murder his lover to preserve the cloistered universe that they have constructed around their idyllic love. Bruyere's Walls and Garrard's Cold Comfort also show the preservation of a secluded milieu through the use of extreme violence. Other works of the corpus, like Garneau's Les Celebrations, Kinch's Me? and Rebar's Bordertown Cafe, also exhibit a similar tension. But in these works, the victory of the afferent force is conferred a somewhat positive value, as it results from the protagonists' own choice to remain within the borders of their restricted quarters rather than breaking away from them. After having described this recurrent configuration in the Page 25 dramas, I will further argue in Chapters VIII and IX that the dialectic of imagery which defines the struggle semiotically, finds a concrete expression in the structure of the cinematic adaptations of the plays. Indeed, in the process of film-mediation, the closed structure of these orthodox plays is "opened up" through the addition of outward imagery, thus emphasizing the tension between the closed world in which the characters find themselves entrapped, and the open world that they dread to confront. It will be demonstrated that the visual and verbal imagery generated in the process of film-mediation serves to locate the play in a broader context by shifting the focus of the drama from the characters to the set of circumstances that surround them, thus accentuating the tension between the threatening exterior and the secluded interior. In Jean Beaudin's adaptation of Being at Home with Claude, for instance, the filmmaker adds scenes to Dubois's strictly closed drama that illustrate the chaotic external world that caused Yves to seek permanent shelter, beyond death, in his lover's abode. In the third and final part of this study, I will extra-polate from the close reading of the works to suggest that this tension constitutes a key characteristic of film-mediated drama as a genre, for film-mediated drama embodies the clash between the dramatic concentration on the nucleus of human interactions, and the filmic tendency to explode the nucleus and force it out in the open. Decades ago, film critic Andre Bazin made an analo-gous point when he contrasted the centrifugal space of the Page 2 6 screen to the centripetal locus dramaticus of the stage,38 and as Chapter X will attest, many other film and theatre theorists, from Erwin Panovsky to Steven Shaviro, concur with Bazin. Being torn, as it were, between afferent drama and efferent cinema, film-mediated drama thus provides a uniquely appropriate way to give form to the structure of the plays considered in this s tudy. It will also be argued in Chapter X that the afferent-withdrawal/efferent-escape dichotomy relates to a prototypical expression of the Canadian and Quebecois imagination as it is identified by several Canadian studies specialists such as Gaile McGregor. In her monumental study, The Wacousta Syndrome: Explorations in the Canadian Lancrscape (1985) , McGregor singles out, as one of the central symbols of anglophone and francophone art in Canada, the House, which connotes either protection against a threatening exterior or imprisonment in a claustropho-bic interior. "In Canadian literature," McGregor argues, "even when the demonic aspect of the house is evoked, the wish to escape tends to be undercut by a persistent fear of what is xout there' . "39 In her book, Le Roman quebecois: reflet d'un societe (1985), Monique Lafortune discerns a similar tension in Quebec society between a desire to escape a closed space and an urge to return to this safe abode. According to Lafortune, however, the closed space in French Canadian literature is not limited to the house, but can include the territory of Quebec as a whole. Often, in post-1960 novels, like Helene Ouvrard's Le coeur Page 27 sauvaae (1967), the Quebecois village "est decrit comme un univers ferme\ refractaire a la marginalite. Peu de place y est laissee a l'individu; c'est la loi de la repression qui a cours, rejetant tout ce qui n'est pas conforme a la norme."40 Simi-larly, the city (usually Montreal), in works such as Laurent Girouard's La ville inhumaine (1964), appears as a closed space, in which the protagonist "se sent prisonnier de cet univers insupportable, de xce monde de ferraille' ou la vie devient impossible."41 Yet when characters manage to flee the claustro-phobic space of Quebec, often towards the United States, their escape is usually temporary and they eventually return to the fold. "En effet, apres une escapade hors des frontieres [quebe-coises] , les heros rentrent bien vite chez eux [...] dans la plupart des romans, la fuite vers le Sud n'est pas une reussite [et] elle n'est pas presentee comme une solution aux problemes des personnages en cause."42 McGregor's and Lafortune's points, although quite different in their respective approach to the Canadian/Quebecois imagina-tion, nevertheless refer to a tension corresponding to the dialectic structure of the adapted plays and the combination of media entailed by the process of cinematic transposition. Chapter X will show that several Canadian/Quebecois cultural theorists, from various and often diametrically opposed ideolo-gical backgrounds, describe the national ethos in terms suggest-ing that film-mediated drama, despite its marginality in the national filmic tradition, constitutes a unique means of voicing the Canadian and Quebecois experience, for it connotes an im-Page 28 plicational dialectic (i.e. a set of opposing abstractions that epitomize the concerns of the disputing factions [Price 59]) that translates a preoccupation often seen as a fundamental trait of the peoples inhabiting Canada. In the final analysis, it could even be argued that the very marginality of film-mediated drama actually intensifies its representativeness of the national experience, for, as critic Robert Nunn submits, "history has conditioned Canadians to see themselves and their culture as marginal."43 And film-mediated drama has been, over the last thirty years, among the most marginal activities in our marginal culture. The overall aim of the present study is thus to demonstrate that the corpus of film-mediated drama weaves a network of cor-respondences, or a "recursive symmetry," to borrow a term from chaos theory, that extends from the dialectical structure of the plays, to the process of film-mediation and, ultimately, to a paradigmatic representation of Canadian/Quebecois culture. Before undertaking the analysis proper, however, it will prove useful to trace a brief history of film-mediated drama in Quebec and Canada in order to get a sense of the fabric of the corpus. Page 29 NOTES 1' On the socio-political context of Canada in the 1960s see, for instance, Desmond Morton, "Strains of Affluence 1945-1987," The Illustrated History of Canada, ed. Craig Brown (Toronto: Lester Publishing, 1991) 496-522. "Never had so many Canadians come of age at a single time and never had they been so affluent. By the late 1960s, Canada was dominated, as never before, by its young" (p.503). "Federal-government income doubled between 1957 and 1967 ... the new money supported scores of programs [ . . .] The millions of dollars poured into the coffers of arts or-ganizations, universities, orchestras, publishers, and the CBC generated far more talent than Canadians had ever believed they possessed" (p.503, 508). ' See, for instance, Peter Harcourt's comparative analysis of Le Chat dans le sac and Nobody Waved Goodbye in Peter Harcourt, "1964: The Beginning of a Beginning," Self Portrait: Essays on the Canadian and Quebec Cinemas. eds. Pierre Veronneau and Piers Handling (Ottawa: Canadian Film Institute, 1980) 64-76. See also Gary Evans, In the National Interest: A Chronicle of the National Film Board of Canada from 1949 to 1989 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991) 94-105. "Nobody Waved Goodbye and Le Chat dans le sac were the models to emulate" (p.105). See also Robert Daudelin, "La Rencontre direct-fiction," in Pierre Veronneau et al., Les Cinemas canadiens (Montreal: Cinematheque quebecoise; Paris: Pierre Lhermier Editeur, 1978) 107-21. "En un mot, une partie importante du cinema de fiction quebecois a vecu pendant pres de quinze ans sous 1'influence, a des degres divers, du cinema direct" (p.108). "Apres bientot quinze ans, ce film fLe chat dans le sad demeure toujours le point de repere essentiel a toute analyse de l'histoire recente du cinema quebecois" (p.113). See also David Clandfield, Canadian Film (Toronto: Oxford UP, 1987) 89-96. "Don Owen's Nobody Waved Goodbye is usually singled out as the groundbreaker" (p.89). See also Gerald Pratley, Torn Sprockets: The Uncertain Projection of the Canadian Film (Newark: University of Delaware Press; London and Toronto: Associated UP, 1987) 93. "The National Film Board made 1964 a memorable year with two documentary-like features, Le Chat dans le sac in French by Gilles Groulx ... and Nobody Waved Goodbve in English, the first feature directed by Don Owen." On The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, see Jerry Wasserman, "Intro-duction, " Modern Canadian Plays (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1986) 9-23. "... the play that finally touched the nerve of English Canada. The Ecstasy of Rita Joe premiered at the Vancouver Playhouse on November 23, 1967, in a landmark production that was remounted for the opening of the National Arts Centre in 1969. That year the play was also broadcast on CBC-TV and Page 30 produced in a French translation by Gratien Gelinas in Montreal, as Rita Joe reverberated through the nation's collective consciousness" (p.14). On Les Belles-soeurs. see, for instance, Gilbert David, "Un nouveau territoire theatral 1965-1980," in Renee Legris, et al. Le Theatre au Quebec 1825-1980 (Montreal: VLB Editeur, 1988) 141-64. "La creation des Belles-Soeurs de Michel Tremblay au Theatre du Rideau Vert en aout 1968 vient en quelque sorte cristalliser une prise de conscience ... La dramaturgie de Tremblay sert alors de detonateur a une prise en charge inedite de la realite sociale et culturelle..." (p.153). ' Robert Wallace, Producing Marctinality: Theatre and Criticism in Canada (Saskatoon: Fifth House Publishers, 1990) 39. " To my knowledge, the only Walker play that has been translated for a production in Quebec is Zastrozzi: The Master of Discipline (1977). Zastrozzi, maitre de discipline [1986, trans. Rene Gingras] received public readings in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa in 1986. See Theatre quebecois: ses auteurs. ses pieces: Repertoire du Centre d'essai des auteurs dramatiques (Outremont: VLB Editeur, 1990) 125. To be fair, it must be pointed out that the situation seems to be changing slowly, as is suggested by the title of Robert Nunn's article "Canada Incognita: Has Quebec Theatre Discovered English Canadian Plays" (Theatrum 24 [June/ July/August 1991]: 14-19). But the success in Quebec of English Canadian plays, such as Judith Thompson's I Am Yours (1987) and especially Brad Fraser's Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love (1989), is still very much an exception to the rule. ' Sylvain Garel, "Un cinema dans tous ses etats," Les Cinemas du Canada. eds. Sylvain Garel and Andre Piquet (Paris: Editions du Centre Pompidou, 1992) 9. 1' Pierre Veronneau, "Presentation," in Pierre Veronneau et al., A la recherche d'une identite : renaissance du cinema d'auteur canadien-ancrlais (Montreal: Cinematheque quebecoise, 1991) 7. I have not been able to find any information about the produc-tion history of Wimbs's Memoirs of Johnny Daze. Although D.J. Turner in Canadian Feature Film Index / Index des films canadiens de long metrage 1913-1985 (Ottawa: Public Archives, 1987, p. 430) and Copie Zero (no 24, p.31) refer explicitly to the play as the source for Bachar Shbib's Memoirs (1984), records of Canadian stage productions, such as Canada on Stage (1974-1988) , do not refer to this work. The archivists of the Playwrights Union of Canada do not know of the play either. Page 31 The practice in the United States has long been to film virtually every play that has enjoyed popular and/or critical success on stage. Besides the obligatory "masterpieces" of Eugene O'Neill (The Iceman Cometh [play: 1946/film: 1973]; Long Day' s Journey Into Night [1956/1962]), Arthur Miller (All My Sons [1947/1948]; Death of a Salesman [1949/1951]) and Tennessee Williams (The Glass Menagerie [1945/1950] ; A Streetcar Named Desire [1947/1951]; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof [1955/1958]; Orpheus Descending [1958/1959] etc.), which have all been made into movies (more than once in certain cases), literally dozens of other Broadway plays have been adapted by Hollywood. Ranging from 1960s classics like Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1962/1966), Mart Crowley's The Bovs in the Band (1967/-1970) and several comedies by Neil Simon (The Odd Couple [1965/-1968] being only the best-known among them) to 1980s hits like Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart (1981/1986), Marsha Norman's 'Night Mother (1983/1986), Sam Shepard's Fool for Love (1984/1985) and David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross (1984/1992), the list of famous works that comprise the corpus of American film-mediated drama is far too long to be reproduced here. Rather, I will refer readers to Tom Costello, ed. International Guide to Literature on Film (London: Bowker-Saur, 1994), in which there are hundreds of titles of American plays brought to the screen. Interestingly, Costello's book does not refer to a single Canadian play made into a film, which attests to the marginality of this practice in Canada. A simple, non-scientific survey also shows clearly the difference between the attitude of Canadian/Quebecois filmmakers and that of the Americans regarding the adaptation of famous plays. Of the more than thirty post-1960 Canadian and Quebecois plays that are considered notable enough to be given a separate entry in The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre, (ed. Eugene Benson and L.W. Conolly, Toronto: Oxford UP, 1989) only one has been made into a feature film: Fortune and Men' s Eyes (1967) , co-produced by the American major, MGM. By contrast, well over half of the eighty-five post-1960 American plays that have their own entry in The Concise Oxford Companion to American Theatre (Gerald Bordman, New York: Oxford UP, 1987) have been made into feature films. Another wholly non-scientific survey can be adduced as well to support this point. A 1988 poll conducted by Gilbert David and published in Cahiers de theatre ieu 47, attests to the fact that most of the Quebecois plays that have been made into films are generally not considered as "landmarks." In this survey, ten drama critics offer their top-ten lists of the best plays of the "repertoire theatral quebecois." Normand Chaurette's Provin-cetown Playhouse, iuillet 1919, j'avais 19 ans (1981) appears on eight of the ten lists; Re jean Ducharme' s Ha ha! (1979) on seven; and Jean-Pierre Ronfard's Vie et mort du roi Boiteux (1981-2) on six. Other plays like Gratien Gelinas's Bousille et les iustes (1959), Michel Tremblay's Les Belles-Soeurs (1968), A toi, pour touiours, ta Marie-Lou (1971) and Albertine, en cinq temps (1984), Jeanne-Mance Delisle's Une reel ben beau, ben triste (1979), Marcel Dube's Au retour des oies blanches (1966), Page 32 and Rene-Daniel Dubois's Ne blamez Jamais les Bedouins (1984) are all mentioned four or five times in the survey. Dubois's Being at Home with Claude (1985), however, appears on only one of the ten lists (p.135), and the other Quebecois film-mediated plays, including Dube's Les Beaux Dimanches (1965), are not mentioned at all in the survey. As indicated above, these numbers have little scientific bearing, but they do indicate the position of marginality that the dramas adapted for the big screen occupy in the canon. 10" For comments on television adaptations of plays see Mary Jane Miller, "Television Drama in English," and Renee Legris, "Tele-vision Drama in Quebec," The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre, 519-22, 522-4. See also Renee Legris and Pierre Page, Repertoire des dramatiques quebecoises a la television, 1952-1977 : vingt-cinq ans de television a Radio-Canada : tele-theatres, feuilletons. dramatiques pour enfants (Montreal: Fides, 1977). Lorraine Duchesnay et al., Vinat-cinq ans de dramatiques a la television de Radio-Canada : 1952-1977 (Mont-real: Societe Radio-Canada, 1978). Mary Jane Miller, Turn Up the Contrast : CBC Television Drama since 1952 (Vancouver: Univer-sity of British Columbia Press, 1987). The basic plot-line of Les Belles-Soeurs was put on film in 1973, when Andre Brassard directed a movie called II etait une fois dans l'Est. which brings together characters from half a dozen of Michel Tremblay's early plays. But most of the lines and dramatic events of the original text are excluded from the film. " Martin Knelman, Home Movies: Tales From the Canadian Film World (Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1987) 172-3. Knelman, 20. 13- See Take One 3.5 (May/June 1971, pub. July 1972): 26; Take One 3.6 (July/Aug. 1971, pub. Oct. 1972): 39. See also Martin Knelman, This Is Where We Came In: The Career and Character of Canadian Film (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977) 137. Joy Gould Boyum, Double Exposure: Fiction into Film (New York: New American Library, 1985) 40. 15" Peter Harcourt, Movies and Mythologies: Towards a National Cinema (Toronto: CBC Publications, 1977) 152. Page 33 16' Pierre Veronneau, "Du theatre au cinema au Quebec: bref historique," Canadian Drama / L'Art dramatique canadien 5 (1979) : 29. Brian Moore's novel The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1960), for instance, was made into a film in 1964, by Irvin Kershner. The same year, Claude Jasmin's book La Corde au cou (19 60) was adapted by Pierre Patry; and Andre Langevin's novel Poussiere sur la ville (1953) was also produced by Patry, and directed by Arthur Lamothe in 1965. But, during the 1960s, not a single Canadian or Quebecois play was adapted. See Turner, 50-60. • The distinction between the novel as a digital medium and film as an analogic medium is suggested in Harris Ross, "Intro-duction, " Film as Literature, Literature as Film (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987) 27. " Roman Ingarden, Das Literarische Kunstwerk, 2nd ed. (Tubingen, 1960) 120. See comments on Ingarden in Egil Tornqvist, Transpos-ing Drama: Studies in Representation (Houndmills, Hampshire and London: MacMillan, 1991) 9. ' ' Leo Bonneville, "Entretien avec Yves Simoneau," Sequences 124 (Apr. 1986): 6. Veronneau, "Du theatre au cinema," 31. " Unlike in Quebec, auteurism in English Canada completely died out in the second half of the 1970s. As Quebec's auteur par excellence, Jean-Pierre Lefebvre, suggests in his essay, "Les cinemas canadiens : d'une image a 1'autre" (A la recherche d'une Identite. 23-43), the numerous English Canadian filmmakers who made auteur films in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Paul Almond, William Fruet, Don Shebib, and Don Owen, "n'ont ... engendre aucune continuite, n'ont provoque aucune releve."(p.36) It is only since the mid-1980s, with Atom Egoyan, William MacGilliv-ray, Guy Maddin, Peter Mettler, Patricia Rozema, Giles Walker, Anne Wheeler, Sandy Wilson and others, that we have witnessed the "Renaissance du cinema d'auteur canadien-anglais." 23" It is worth mentioning, here, that Costello's International Guide to Literature on Film does not mention any instance of Canadian/Quebecois film-mediated drama. But it does itemize a great number of film adaptions of plays from a variety of countries, thus attesting to the fact that most national cinemas, unlike Canadian cinema, rely heavily on their drama-Page 34 turgies for inspiration. For instance, in addition to several adaptations of Shakespeare's, Oscar Wilde's and George Bernard Shaw's plays, British filmmakers have also filmed landmarks of their contemporary repertory such as John Osborne's Look Back in Anaer (1956/1958), Harold Pinter's The Caretaker (1960/1963), and The Homecoming (1965/1973), Peter Shaffer's Equus (1973/1977) and Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1967/1990). Similarly, French cineastes have adapted both the classics of their theatre, such as Moliere's Tartuffe (1669/1963), Racine's Phedre (1677/1968) and Victor Hugo's Ruv Bias (183 8/1948), and twentieth century works such as Frangoise Sagan's Chateau de Suede (1960/1963), Jean-Paul Sartre's Les Mains Sales (1948/1951) and several comedies by Andre Roussin including his popular Lorseque 1'enfant parait (1952/1956) . And of course, Marcel Pagnol has adapted several of his own plays for the cinema (ex: Marius [1931/1931]; Topaze [1930/1951], etc.). The Germans have cinematized plays by J.W. Goethe (Faust [1808/1960]; Gotz von Berlichingen [1773/1979]) and Heinrich von Kleist (Penthesilea [1808/1983]), as well as dramas by Friedrich Diirrenmatt (Per Besuch der alten Dame [1956/1964]), F.X. Kroetz (Wildwechsel [1968/1972]) and Botho StrauS (Gross und Klein [1980/1980]) . And Japanese directors have brought to the big screen the plays of Chikamatsu Monzaemon (Sonezaki shiniu [1703/1978]) as well as those of Mishima Yukido (Kurotokage [1962/1968]). Younger nations have also transposed their theatrical traditions onto the screen. Athol Fugard's well-known Boesman and Lena (1969/1973) was made into a film in South Africa. Brazilian playwright Nelson Rodrigues has seen seven or eight of his texts filmed since the 1960s (Boca de ouro [1959/1962]; Obei-io no as f alto [1961/1981]; Bonitinha. mas ordinaria [1961/1981] etc.). And half a dozen plays by Australian dramatist David Williamson have been cinematized (ex. The Club [1978/1980]; Don's Party [1973/1976] etc.). All these titles indicate rather clearly that Canadian filmmakers, in their lack of interest in the national dramatic canon, are the exception rather than the rule. For a brief history of cinema's interaction with theatre in Europe and America (but not in Canada!), see also Gregory Waller, "Film and Theatre," Film and the Arts in Symbiosis, ed. Gary R. Edgerton (New York, Westport, Connecticut and London: Greenwood Press, 1988) 135-63. 24" In the forthcoming analysis, I will limit myself to the published plays of the corpus to avoid discussing texts that are simply not available to the public. The historical survey conducted in Chapter Two will make mention of the unpublished plays. See Appendix 1. Here, the term "indigenous" excludes from this group Harvey Hart's film version of John Herbert's play Fortune and Men' s Eyes (1967), which was produced by the American major, MGM. See Chapter Two on this matter. The rationale behind the 1972-1992 periodization is broached in Chapter Two. Page 35 " For instance, Price applies his analytical tools to both Frangois Truffaut's film Jules et Jim (1961) and Bertolt Brecht's play Mother Courage and Her Children (1941) with equally enlightening results. See Thomas Price, Dramatic Structure and Meaning in Theatrical Productions (San Francisco: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992) 231-68, 318-49. Subsequent references to this work in this chapter will appear within parentheses in the text. ' The postmodern credo calls into question the notion of a unified, autonomous subject on the basis of Lacanian psycho-analysis, which argues that the formation of the unified "I" results from an imaginary misrecognition of the self as whole through the perception of external images of a unified self. In other words, what is (mis)recognized as Self is always already Other, hence the unstable subject position characteristic of postmodernist literature. This misrecognition originates in what Lacan labels the "mirror stage" of infancy. See Jacques Lacan, "The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience," Ecrits: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: W.W. Norton, 1977) 1-7. It must be pointed out, however, that since the late 1980s the relevance of Lacan's theory, especially as appropriated by film studies, has in turn been called into question by critics such as Noel Carroll, who finds Lacan's generalizations scien-tifically dubious. See Carroll, "Marxism and Psychoanalysis: The Althusserian-Lacanian Paradigm," Mystifying Movies : Fads and Fallacies in Contemporary Film Theory (New York: Columbia UP, 1988) 53-88. ' On the stylistic implications of the homosexual metaphor in Provincetown Playhouse and Blood Relations. see Andre Loiselle, "Paradigms of 1980s Quebecois and Canadian Drama: Normand Chaurette' s Provincetown Playhouse, -iuillet 1919, i'avais 19 ans and Sharon Pollock's Blood Relations," Quebec Studies 14 (spring/summer 1992): 93-104. 28" The distinction made here between masculine writing and ecriture feminine is aligned with the position taken by feminist critics like Patricia Smart, who writes: "L"ecriture des hommes a tendence a privilegier la linearite, la logique et une conception de 1'identite qui est close, distanciee, et rassuree par la presence de frontieres, c'est-a-dire qu'elle se deploie dans un rapport de proximite (de Meme) avec la Loi. Dans 1'ecriture des femmes, c'est davantage la texture qui domine — la densite de ce qui resiste a la cloture a 1' interieur du signe; les gestes, les rythmes et les silences qui sous-tendent le langage et qui parlent dans les breches entre les mots." See Patricia Smart, Ecrire dans la maison du pere : 1'emergence du feminin dans la tradition litteraire du Quebec (Montreal: Page 3 6 Editions Quebec/Amerique, 1988) 26. Denis Johnston, Up the Mainstream: The Rise of Toronto's Alternative Theatres (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991) 172. Johnston, 189. " Paul Lefebvre, "Introduction," Quebec Voices: Three Plays. ed. Robert Wallace (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1986) 12. " See, for instance, Andre Helbo et al. , "Le theatre et les medias: specificite et interferences," Theatre : Modes d'ap-proche (Bruxelles: Editions Labor, 1987) 33-62. In this text, the authors literally give us graphics and point-form enumera-tions of the various modes of semiotic production characteristic of theatre, cinema, television, radio and video. Esslin goes beyond mere enumeration and explains at some length the func-tioning of the various "Signs of Drama," as he entitles six of his fourteen chapters. But his descriptions never coalesce into a systematic methodology for the analysis of drama. Rather, his exploration of "The Field of Drama" serves only to re-inforce the humanist notion that "the ability and the power of drama to create an emotional experience of the utmost intensity, akin to religious or mystical ecstasy, an experience that may become a climactic turning point in an individual's life, and transform that individual, or conversely a deeply unsettling experience like that which Hamlet inflicted upon his uncle, is the true measure of its importance in the fabric of our lives, our society and our culture, the true extent of the xvery cunning of the scene'." See Martin Esslin, The Field of Drama: How the Signs of Drama Create Meaning on Stage and Screen (London: Methuen Drama, 1987) 177-8. 33" Armes identifies four types of dramatic plots common to most theatrical and filmic pieces (the closed plot; the open plot; the mixture of plot and narration; and the refusal of plot), and four kinds of protagonists (the individual as protagonist; the protagonist governed by "the hand of God"; the group as protago-nist; and the disintegration of the protagonist). Although his general postulates on the basic three-act morphology of stage and screen drama might prove useful at times, Armes's approach is not rigorous enough to serve as a model for this disserta-tion. The author usually offers only one example for each category without referring to other films of the same type, and rarely tries to account for variations within each structural group. See Roy Armes, Action and Image: Dramatic Stucture in Cinema (Manchester: Manchester UP, 1994) 63-185. Page 37 Although Price's methodology always proves adequate for the analysis of the works of the corpus, citing other theories re-asserts the value of our conclusions as it corroborates the results through various approaches. The works referred to here are Stanley D. Wilson, Rising Above Shame: Healing Family Wounds to Self Esteem (Rockville: Launch Press, 1991); Julia Kristeva, Pouvoirs de 1'horror : Essai sur 1'abjection (Paris: Editions du seuil, 1980) ; Leslie Kane, The Language of Silence: On the Unspoken and the Unspeakable in Modern Drama (London and Toronto: Associated UP, 1984). 35" The fact that this type of drama is very common nowadays could be attributed to the widespread cynicism that characterizes many Western societies in the late twentieth century. 36" David Bordwell, Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema (Cambridge [Mass.]: Harvard UP, 1989) 117. To put Bordwell's statement in its proper context, I must add that while he recognizes the importance of the semantic doublet in the practice of interpretation, the point of his book is, precisely, that "we should stop doing interpretation" (p.128). Here, I use the words "afferent" and "efferent" in the broader sense of the terms given in The Oxford English Dictionary, respectively, "bringing or conducting inwards," and "conveying outwards, discharging." The compounds "afferent-withdrawal" and "efferent-escape" are employed to give a sense of movement to the opposite reactions of withdrawal and escape. The term "with-drawal" used by itself could connote both internal recoil and external departure. The term "afferent-withdrawal," on the other hand, translates clearly the inward motion of seclusive retreat. Conversely, the term "efferent-escape" suggests the discharging function of outward flight. 38• Andre Bazin, "Theatre and Cinema — Part Two, " in What is Cinema? Vol 1, trans. Hugh Gray (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967) 95-124 (especially 102-8). 39• Gaile McGregor, The Wacousta Syndrome: Explorations in the Canadian Lanascapefsicl, (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1985) 102. l0" Monique Lafortune, Le Roman quebecois: reflet d'une societe, (Laval: Mondia, 1985) 225. Page 38 Lafortune, 226. Lafortune, 228, 230. Robert Nunn, "Marginality and English-Canadian Theatre," Theatre Research International 17.3 (Autumn 1992): 217. Similar-ly, Linda Hutcheon argues that "the periphery or the margin might also describe Canada's perceived position in international terms." See Linda Hutcheon, The Canadian Postmodern: A Study of Contemporary Enalish-Canadian Fiction (Toronto: Oxford UP, 1988) 3. Page 39 CHAPTER II. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CORPUS Prior to the renaissance of Canadian and Quebecois cinema initiated in the 1960s, film-mediated drama had enjoyed some-thing of a golden age in Quebec. Some of the most significant movies produced during the first wave of fiction film-making in Quebec, in the 1940s and early 1950s, are based on popular French Canadian plays. The short movie La Dame aux camelias, la vraie (1942), singled out by Ginette Major as the film that marks the inception of "l'aventure du cinema quebecois de fiction," also represents the first attempt to use theatrical material as a source for a talking motion picture.1 This parody of the well-known Dumas play, which criticizes the cultural hegemony that France exerts over Quebec, was written and filmed by the popular stage actor and director Gratien Gelinas in 1942, and presented as part of his famous annual theatre revue, "Les Fridolinades."2 Ten years later, Gelinas returned to cinema, contributing to the early success of film-mediated drama in Quebec with an adaptation of his acclaimed stage play Tit-Cog (1948) . Universally recognized as the first major work of the French Canadian national dramaturgy, Tit-Cog was actually conceived, first, as a screenplay. Following a suggestion from film producer Paul L'Anglais to develop a full-fledged screenplay based on the 1946 revue sketch Le Retour du conscrit, Gelinas created the character of the orphan soldier Tit-Coq. After a few weeks of work, however, Gelinas decided to write a play on this subject rather than a film-script.3 Page 40 The tremendous popular and critical success that the play enjoyed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, not only in Quebec but across Canada, convinced L1Anglais and producer Alexandre De Seve of the cinematic potential of Tit-Cog. Thus, in the fall of 1952, Gelinas and co-director Rene Lacroix commenced work on "une adaptation quasi integrale de la piece a succes."4 The film opened to rave reviews in February, 1953.5 One of the most enthusiastic responses to the film came from Rene Levesque who declared, years before becoming Premier of Quebec, that with the production of Tit-Cog "le cinema canadien sort de 1'Sge des cavernes."6 Between La Dame aux camelias. la vraie and Tit-Cog, the marriage of theatre and cinema produced a few other memorable films. The first feature-length sound fiction film made in Quebec, Jean-Marie Poitevin's A la croisee des chemins (1943), was adapted from Guy Stein's religious drama, La folle Aventure. which had been staged in 1942 as part of the 3 00th anniversary of the foundation of Montreal. A la croisee des chemins, as narrated by none other than Rene Levesgue, tells the story of a young man who chooses to become a missionary rather than marry his sweetheart. Although the film was not distributed commer-cially, its edifying content made it a great favourite in the parallel network of seminarian cine-clubs, church halls and school auditoria.7 The most successful commercial feature film of the time, La petite Aurore. 1'enfant martyre (1951), is also an adaptation of a play: Aurore. 1'enfant martyre, the best-known melodrama in Page 41 Quebec theatre. Written by Leon Petitjean and Henri Rollin, and premiered in January of 1921, Aurore 1'enfant martyre presents a dramatized version of the life and death of Aurore Gagnon, a ten year old child who died in 1920 following the grave physical abuse inflicted upon her by her father and step-mother.9 The play was an immediate success, and was apparently performed more than four thousand times between 1921 and 1951.10 In 1951, Alexandre De Seve asked Emile Asselin (a.k.a. Marc Forrez) to write a novel on the basis of both the play and the actual events. De Seve then bought the text for a dollar and "autres valables considerations" and used it as the source for the film that Jean-Yves Bigras directed.11 After a six month delay caused by a lawsuit brought against De Seve and the film's distributor, France Film, by Telesphore Gagnon, Aurore's father, who opposed the cinematic depiction of the violent incident in which he was involved, La petite Aurore 1'enfant martyre finally opened to great popular success in April of 1952.12 La petite Aurore is the only film of that period that remained on the commercial circuit over the years, and actually had an interna-tional career, having been shown, apparently, even in Japan.13 Shortly after the success of La petite Aurore, and about a year before the premiere of another adaptation of a melodramatic play, Coeur de maman (1953), based on Henry Deyglun's La Mere abandonnee (1925), television came to Quebec and gave the final blow to an industry that had already started to falter.14 It would take ten years for Quebecois cineastes to take up fiction film-making again, and yet another decade to see the first Page 42 instance of film-mediated drama. But never again would theatre and cinema merge with such tremendous success as during that golden age of the "Canadien-frangais" (as opposed to "Quebe-cois") film industry.15 In English Canada, film-mediated drama never experienced such triumphs. The first Canadian play to be made into a motion picture was Hilda Mary Hooke Smith's Here Will I Nest.16 A dramatized version of the life of Colonel Thomas Talbot, who established a settlement in Western Ontario in the early nineteenth century, the play Here Will I Nest seems to have been a small local success at the London (Ont.) Little Theatre, where it opened on 14 November, 1938.17 The film version of the play, also known as Talbot of Canada, was directed by Melburn E. Turner around 1940, and is most notable, according to Peter Morris, "as the first Canadian dramatic feature in colour."18 It received a private screening in 1942 at the Elsie Perrin Williams Memorial Library, in London. A rhapsodic local reviewer announced at the time that "cultural history was made in London last night when the private premiere of the all-talking motion picture Here Will I Nest was presented. "19 But this was the film's only moment of glory. Here Will I Nest was never released commercially, and only fifteen of the original ninety minutes of the movie have survived.20 For the next thirty years, Here Will I Nest would remain the only instance of an original English Canadian play made into a feature film.21 As pointed out in the introduction, the renaissance of Page 43 Canadian and Quebecois cinema coincided with the emergence of the notion of auteurship in film-making. This resulted in the complete disappearance of film-mediated drama during the 1960s. Only at the beginning of the 1970s were the first attempts made to adapt Canadian and Quebecois plays for the cinema. In Vancouver, Daryl Duke tried for the longest time to make a film version of Ryga's Rita Joe, but the project kept being postponed until it eventually fell through in the fall of 1972.22 Eric Till's venture to make a feature film based on Roch Carrier's play and novel La Guerre, Yes Sir! (novel: 1968 / play: 1970) met with the same fate.23 The first feature film adapted from a Canadian play to be completed and released after 1960, in either English or French, was Fortune and Men's Eyes (1971), based on John Herbert's famous prison drama, and directed by Harvey Hart. Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, the project to adapt Herbert's play was initiated by an American filmmaker, Jules Schwerin. Schwerin had acquired the screen rights to Herbert's Fortune and Men's Eyes (1967) immediately upon seeing it performed in New York in 1967, and after having been turned down by most Hollywood studios, he finally secured the financial support of the American major Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Cinemex International (Canada),24 Shooting began at the old Prison de Quebec in the fall of 197 0, but following a dispute over the artistic direction of the film, the producers, Lester Persky and Lewis Allen, fired Schwerin and called Canadian filmmaker Hart back from the United States, where he had been working for more than half a decade, to take up the project. Hart, who agreed to Page 44 direct the film without knowing anything about the play, discarded most of Schwerin's footage, and re-shot 90 percent of the material in record time to respect the production deadline.25 The Canadian Film Development Corporation (now Telefilm Canada) applauded the replacement as it increased the official Canadian content of the motion picture.26 But in spite of this addition, the film remained, for some, very much an example of "entertainment a 1'americaine."27 Martin Knelman even raised "the touchy question of whether our public funds ought to be invested in a movie distributed and to some extent controlled by a Hollywood company like MGM."28 The fact that the premiere of the film, on 15 June 1971, was in New York, rather than in Toronto or Montreal, attests to the pertinence of this question.29 Admit-tedly, the play itself, although written in Canada by a Cana-dian, had been an American success long before becoming a Canadian classic. It premiered off-Broadway in 1967, and, in an American edition, has become the best-selling Canadian play ever published.30 As a matter of fact, at the time the film was being shot in Quebec, the play had still not received a full profes-sional production in Canada, although it had brief runs in Vancouver and Winnipeg, and had been staged in French as Aux yeux des hommes at Theatre de Quat'Sous, under the direction of Andre Brassard.31 Given all these mitigating factors, Fortune and Men' s Eyes can hardly be considered the beginning of modern Canadian film-mediated drama. The first genuinely Canadian instance of modern film-mediated drama dates from 1972, when William Fruet turned his Page 45 own play Wedding in White (1972) into a motion picture. Although the film features two foreign actors in leading roles, Donald Pleasence and Carol Kane, the content and production history of Wedding in White make it an unmistakenly Canadian work. The plot, based on Fruet's memories of his childhood in Alberta, revolves around a naive teenage girl who, after having been raped by her brother's army buddy, is forced by her father to marry one of his old friends.32 Set during World War II, the work depicts a dismal English Canadian milieu, in which women are the silent victims of cowardly men who vainly imagine themselves as courageous British loyalists, and find refuge from the mediocri-ty and uselessness of their displaced existences in the drunken bravado of Legion halls. Unlike Fortune and Men's Eyes. Wedding in White had both its stage and screen premieres in Toronto: the former in February of 1972, and the latter in October of the same year.33 And also unlike Fortune and Men's Eyes. Wedding in White was filmed without the support of foreign investors.34 Although Fruet's play enjoyed quite a successful first run at the Poor Alex Theatre, it did not arouse an upsurge of critical and popular enthusiasm in any way comparable to that generated by the contemporary performances of David Freeman's Creeps (1971), French's Leaving Home (1972), and Theatre Passe Muraille's The Farm Show (1972).35 Indeed, reviewers were quick to qualify any praise they might have had for Fruet's drama. Kaspars Dzeguze of The Globe and Mail, for one, expressed strong reservations about the play: It doesn't often happen that a play with as much Page 46 competent and even excellent acting — or with as many graceful lines of dialogue or apt observations as has Wedding in White, the play by Bill Fruet that opened last night at the Poor Alex — leaves you feeling so disappointed, cheated and even used. Nor does it often happen that a play whose rudimentary plot is tele-graphed early in the first act fails as much as did Fruet's to provide a complication [ . . . ] Yet for all these perversities it is hard to find a play that would continue to entertain as consistently as did Wedding in White.36 One of the causes of this ambivalent response is the dramatic composition of the play, which, by relying on a succes-sion of short scenes taking place over a period of several months, favours contextual exposition over rigorous plot construction. Dramatist John Palmer, upon seeing the premiere of the play, suggested that "if Fruet could find a way to fewer, more lengthy scenes, he might ultimately have a more satisfying play."37 But Palmer also pointed out in his comment that the play would "make a smashing film," and in retrospect, a number of critics came to perceive the stage production as having served only as training ground for the film-script. John Hudecki, for instance, attributed the intricate coherence of the film to "the fact that [Fruet] took the sensible step of testing Wedding in White on the stage at the Poor Alex Theatre in Toronto before facing the cameras."38 Fruet himself admitted that the film medium was more appropriate than the stage for the kind of subtle realism he was seeking for the presentation of his prairie drama.39 It is no wonder, then, that the film fared better than the play, at least with the critics. The positive response that the film of Wedding in White (1972) received from the press in English Canada, Quebec and the Page 47 United States, its success at the Canadian Film Awards, where it won three prizes including best feature film, and its participa-tion in the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, alongside Claude Jutra's Kamouraska (1973), Gilles Carle's La Mort d'un bucheron (1973) and Denys Arcand's Reieanne Padovani (1973), seemed to augur very well for the future of film-mediated drama in Canada.40 However, Wedding in White would prove to be the exception rather than the rule. The next adaptation of an original modern Canadian play, Jack Cunningham's film version of his own drama See No Evil, Hear... (1972) , was produced just a few months after Fruet's promising beginnings, but experienced a far less prestigious career. See No Evil, Hear... opened at Bill Glassco's Tarragon Theatre in February 1972 to general indifference, and the film that Cunningham made from it in 1973, entitled Peep, remained on the shelves until 1984, when it was shown in a French transla-tion on Radio-Canada television.41 Peep, a psychological study of complex relationships in a peculiar "menage a quatre," is the first in a short series of films made from obscure, unpublished plays, that received very limited release and quickly fell into oblivion. A prime example of this trend is Stephen Zoller's un-published play Metal Messiah (1975) , that Zoller and Tibor Takacs made into a film in the winter of 1976-77 for $62,000.42 This surrealist play about "a silver man who appears from nowhere in the middle of a modern city," was presented at the Bathurst Street Theatre in 1975 by an "almost incestuous repertory company" composed of "victims of the modern age."43 Page 48 Zoller and Takacs spent two years and virtually all their money turning the play into an artisanal film, which never gained the support of any Canadian distributor.44 Metal Messiah (1977) eventually had a screening at the International 16mm Film Festival in Montreal, in April 1978.45 Since then, however, the film has vanished from the screens, except perhaps in the circuits of cult following. Maynard Collins's Hank Williams: "The Show He Never Gave" (1979), filmed by David Acomba in 1981, John Beckett Wimbs's Memoirs of Johnny Daze (?), adapted for the screen by Bachar Shbib in 1984 as Memoirs. Peter Colley's The Mark of Cain (1984), transposed by Bruce Pittman in 1985, and Layne Coleman's Blue City Slammers (1985), cinematized by Peter Shatalow in 1987, are other instances of unpublished plays that were made into little-known films.46 The first feature film to be adapted from a significant play following the successful release of Wedding in White, and the first cinematization of a dramatic piece from Quebec in over twenty years, was Richard Martin's 1974 version of Marcel Dube's Les Beaux Dimanches (1965) .47 The play shows a typical Sunday afternoon in the lives of four bourgeois couples who have nothing better to do with their weekends than get drunk and flirt with each other's spouses. It was something of a box-office hit when it was first produced in 1965 at the Comedie Canadienne, attracting, according to one source, 40,000 spec-tators in its two-month run.48 Like Wedding in White. Les Beaux Dimanches, although successful with the public, is generally not considered a central work of the national repertory.49 Even Page 49 within Dube's canon, Les Beaux Dimanches does not stand out as his masterpiece. Edwin C. Hamblet, for instance, contends that "Au Retour des oies blanches is far superior to Les Beaux Dimanches in symmetry and structure."50 Les Beaux Dimanches. however, is recognized by certain scholars as a pivotal work in the maturation process of Dube's dramaturgy. Maximilien Laroche, for example, argues that "a partir des Beaux Dimanches. les personnages de Dube sortent de la tragedie pour entrer desormais dans le monde du drame, de la liberte et de l'espoir. C'est egalement un passage de 1'enfance a l'age adulte."51 Laroche actually pinpoints the precise moment in the play where this transition occurs. "Le fameux monologue d'Olivier, dans Les Beaux Dimanches." writes Laroche, "on peut dire qu'il constitue le point tournant de 1'oeuvre de Marcel Dube."52 The monologue that Laroche is referring to is a long passage in the first scene of act II, in which Olivier, a medical doctor-cum-philosopher, traces the history of Quebec, from Nouvelle-France to the British conquest to the rebellion of 1837 to the present, finding the root of the endemic alienation of the people of Quebec in the condition of fear and ignorance in which the Church and the establishment have always kept the "Canadien-frangais" nation. Olivier in his speech also praises the young separatists who are "prets a tout, prets a mourir pour que 1' ordre change. "53 In the film, however, Olivier's argument is completely elided. Richard Martin claimed that this cut was rendered necessary by the fact that, over the decade that elapsed between Page 50 the premiere of the play and the production of the film, things had changed drastically in Quebec, and Olivier's political stance had become obsolete. Martin, who had been involved in the original production of the play as both actor and assistant director, explained that he had to work on the screenplay for a year, often with the collaboration of Dube himself, to clear the film-script of "tout le contenu politique de la piece qui, a 1'epoque ou elle fut ecrite, pouvait avoir un certain impact, mais qui aujourd'hui, n'en avait plus."54 But by cutting this material, the co-scenarists deprived Les Beaux Dimanches of its most thought-provoking passage. Talking about the original production of the play, Dube recalls, C'etait une piece extraordinaire: apres le discours sur la souverainete, il y avait des gens qui ap-plaudissaient et il y en avait d'autres qui huaient. Le soir ou on a supprime cette partie, la salle est devenue amorphe : on ne riait plus a ce qui etait drole, on ne reagissait plus a quoi que ce soit.55 In the light of this comment, one understands why Sequences reviewer Janick Beaulieu left the screening of "Les Beaux Dimanches (1974) avec 1'impression d'un film peu reussi."56 Jean-Pierre Tadros, who had been a strong advocate of Martin's project in the early stages of production, expressing great confidence in the ability of the all-star cast to convey Dube's meaning, also had to concede the failure of the movie.57 "The film is exceedingly uneven," he stated. "There are moments when the essence of the Dube play comes to the fore [ . . . ] But these moments are few, and what is in between is a futile effort to render the play modern."58 Stripped of its political content, Page 51 which forms the core of the play, Les Beaux Dimanches as directed by Richard Martin boils down to what Jean Basile has called a "conversation de taverne intellectuelle."59 Almost simultaneously with the production of Les Beaux Dimanches. John Palmer brought to the screen Martin Kinch's first play, Me? (1973) . Palmer, co-founder with Kinch and Tom Hendry of the controversial Toronto Free Theatre, had already directed the play on stage in the spring of 1973. Although little more than a coterie success, the play "nevertheless is worthwhile," says Robert Wallace, "if only for its carefully drawn portrait of Toronto's artistic community."60 Indeed, the milieu of the central character, Terry, bears strong resemblance to Kinch's own environment, although the author refuses to "see a one-to-one correspondence between that character and [him]-self."61 Terry, a promising young writer, is thwarted in his efforts to complete his latest novel by the demands of his zestful mistress, his estranged wife who returns to reclaim him, and his gay friend who happens to be in love with him — all characters who had real-life counterparts in Kinch's entourage.62 In the end, Terry expels the intruders from his apartment, and finds himself alone, in front of his typewriter, unable to write anything but one word: "Me?". Another intriguing particularity of the original production of Me?, which helped to raise considerable interest among TFT regulars, was the fact that Kinch, an accomplished stage direc-tor, now assumed the role of dramatist, leaving the direction of the show to playwright Palmer. In Herbert Whittaker's words, Page 52 "the reversal [was] a startling success." Some of the excite-ment spawned by this risky but rewarding experiment seems to have been carried over to the movie set. Not only was it John Palmer's first contact with film-making, it was also a first for the cast, three of them recreating their stage performances before the camera.64 Stephen Markle, who played Terry both on stage and on screen, described the exhilarating experience of making the film in these terms: the openness and straight-forwardness of making the film was such a relief from the theatrical experience. Making a film is so much more outgoing. There's the involvement of the crew, who do so much to make a film, and it becomes a group effort that's very exciting when everyone is together.65 Although the enthusiastic cast and crew had the feeling that they were working on a film "that will really have some meaning for Canadian audiences," only a handful of Canadians saw the final product when it had a single showing at the Stratford (Ont.) Film Festival in September, 1975.66 The reviewers who recognized in the film the idiosyncrasies of the "Toronto under-ground, " or of any other underground artistic community for that matter, praised the film for its accuracy and sincerity.67 Those who had not lived through the effervescent rise of the alterna-tive theatre movement, on the other hand, probably thought, as at least one reviewer did, that "there is a lot of talk, but the characters never come across as anything but boring."68 Having failed to find a distributor, Me (1974) has since been relegated to oblivion, whence it emerges from time to time for a sporadic television broadcast. Page 53 Over the three years following the production of Les Beaux Dimanches and Me, not a single Canadian or Quebecois play of importance was made into a feature film. In 1977, as the Canadian and Quebecois film industries were about to enter a period of crisis resulting, in great part, from CFDC's ill-con-ceived tax-shelter policy, which sold out the industry to sophomoric entrepreneurs, two plays were adapted for the screen: Carol Bolt's One Nicrht Stand (1977), and Louise Roy's and Louis Saia's Une amie d'enfance (1977).69 These two works, either as plays or as movies, bear witness to the creative exhaustion that afflicted the whole field of artistic production in Canada at the time. Carol Bolt once divulged that in One Night Stand "there is no issue." She wrote it "as a technical exercise, to see if [she] could write a play about nothing."70 True enough, this thriller about a lonely woman who unwittingly picks up a murderer in a bar and ends up killing him in self-defence, lacks the political import of Bolt's earlier Buffalo Jump (1972), Gabe (1973) and Red Emma (1974). Yet in spite of the absence of a social message, or perhaps because of it, One Nicrht Stand was Bolt's first box office hit, and remains her most popular play.71 After a successful opening at Tarragon Theatre in April 1977, One Night Stand enjoyed lucrative runs at Theatre New Brunswick, Fredericton, in August, and at the Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver, in October of the same year.72 But again, the success of the play with the public was not paralleled by unmitigated praise on the part of the press. John Fraser of The Globe and Mail, who Page 54 doubtlessly enjoyed the production, informs the reader early in his review that no one "would claim that One Night Stand is a Kgreat' piece of stage literature."73 Gina Mallet of The Toronto Star was more critical, finding fault with the logic of the plot: "increasingly, the play becomes a series of improbable coincidences which once perceived unravel the whole cloth. Suddenly it seems we are assessing the plausibility of every-thing. One clumsiness succeeds another."74 The improbabilities spotted by Mallet did not annoy film director Allan King and CBC producer Stanley Colbert who, upon seeing the Tarragon production, expressed interest in making a film based on the play.75 King, after having directed a semi-documentary on Martin Kinch's stage production of Bolt's Red Emma in 197 6, began shooting a slightly revised version of One Night Stand just weeks following the last performance at Tarragon.76 In accordance with the arrangement made with the CBC, which put up 60 percent of the budget, the film was presented first on television, in March 1978, but King retained the rights for theatrical distribution.77 The film fared rather well at the Canadian Film Awards, winning three prizes in the category of Non-Feature Craft Awards.78 However, when One Night Stand (1977) the movie reached the big screen in New York in 1982, it received, at best, a lukewarm response.79 J. Hoberman from The Village Voice found the plot wanting in originality. He wrote: "en route to its predictable denouement, One Night Stand offers a few wan reversals."80 As for Janet Maslin of The New York Times, she dismissed King's film as "an unpleasant Canadian Page 55 romance-cum-thriller. " One Nicrht Stand eventually found its niche in the late-night movie offerings of Canadian television networks, where it still regularly makes an appearance. The other 1977 production, Une amie d'enfance, takes place in the backyard of a middle-class home in Duvernay, a dormitory town near Montreal, where Angele and Gaston entertain Angele's childhood friend Solange and her boyfriend Coco at dinner. The gathering is a pretext for Louise Roy and Louis Saia to expose the campiness, the "ketainerie" of suburbia. By juxtaposing the universe of plastic palm trees and artificial standard French of Angele and Gaston to Solange's and Coco's happy bohemian life-style, the authors caustically denounce the comfortable hypo-crisy of the middle-class. The play, which is rarely even mentioned in historical surveys of Quebec theatre, is nonethe-less typical of the period of de-politicization that immediately followed the accession to power of the Parti quebecois in 1976.82 Une amie d'enfance demonstrates clearly that, with the institu-tionalisation of the separatist ideal, the middle-class left the political arena and returned to the comfort and indifference of its living-room — a movement confirmed by the defeat of the Pequiste project in the 1980 referendum. Apart from its topical relevance and some humorous scenes, however, the play has few notable features. Film critic Leo Bonneville justifiably asks, "mais qu'est-ce done qui a porte Francis Mankiewicz vers Une amie d'enfance?"83 Mankiewicz, who had attracted considerable attention with his first feature, Le Temps d'une chasse (1972), and went on to direct one of the very Page 56 best films ever produced in this country, Les bons debarras (1980), admitted that he adapted Une amie d'enfance (1978) with the intent only to produce a neutral screen version of the play that would not mar the humorous quality of the dialogue. The result was, by all accounts, disappointing. Janick Beaulieu even suggested, sarcastically, "on pourrait passer le film tel quel a la radio!"84 Une amie d'enfance is a probative example of film's inability to realize a neutral yet cinematically engaging transposition of a dramatic text, especially when the play has little to offer to start with. As Une amie d' enf ance was being released in cinemas in the fall of 1978, Yves Simoneau was shooting the last scenes of his first feature film, an adaptation of Michel Garneau's play Les Celebrations (1976).85 The play presents a collection of vi-gnettes from the life of Margo, a psychologist, and her long-time boyfriend Paul-Emile, a professor of philosophy obsessed with death. The play opened at the Theatre du Horla, St-Bruno, in August of 1976, and was revived in various small venues later that year. Fernand Villemure praised the "agreable impression de complicite et d'intimite" that emanated from the performance.86 Others, however, deplored the facile nature of the text. "Ca goute la salade populaire assaisonnee de pollution," wrote Andre Dionne, "tout sent le racollage."8? Although Les Celebrations, published in 1977 with Adidou Adidouce, was far less successful with the public and the critics than Garneau's Ouatre a quatre (1973), it still earned its author the Governor General's award, which he declined because this prize represents "1'ideal de Page 57 1'unite canadienne," a notion that he could not endorse.88 But the award and Garneau's politics had little to do with Simoneau's decision to adapt the play. Rather it is the humour of the text that first attracted him. "J'etais alle voir Les Celebrations et j'avais ri du debut a la fin," Simoneau recalls, "je me suis dit: xTiens, voila peut-etre la bonne facon de faire un premier long metrage avec des moyens modestes' . "89 With a budget of less than $20,000, Simoneau hired the two actors from the original stage production, Leo Munger and Normand Levesque, and shot most of the film in little over a week, using the house of one of Normand Levesque's friends as the main location.90 The production of the film, which follows the play-script almost word for word, afforded twenty-two-year-old Simoneau a unique opportunity to learn about actors and their craft.91 The film itself, however, like Une amie d'enfance. met a rather tepid response when it opened in Montreal in June 1979. For Robert-Claude Berube, "ce portrait d'un couple dans le vent, faux intellectuels a l'affut des tendances a la vogue, n'apporte guere que du bruit sur du vide."92 Les Celebrations (1979), although a collaboration between two important Quebec artists, Garneau and Simoneau, is condemned to oblivion, since, for reasons of copyright, it can no longer be shown commercially.9"' In the early 1980s, Antonine Maillet's Gapi (1976), another lesser-known work by a celebrated author, was filmed by Paul Blouin for Radio-Canada television.94 A spin-off from Maillet's tremendously successful one-woman play La Sacrouine (1971) , Gapi shows the solitary life of La Sagouine's husband. After his Page 58 wife's death, Gapi has become a recluse, living alone on a dune, keeping a lighthouse on the coast of Acadia. One day, his old friend, Sullivan, the globe-trotting sailor, drops by for a visit. Gapi would like his friend to stay with him, and Sullivan would like to bring Gapi along on his trips around the world. But Gapi cannot leave his lighthouse any more than Sullivan can relinquish the sea. When it opened at Theatre du Rideau Vert in 1976, Gapi was inevitably compared with La Sacrouine, always at the disadvantage of the former. Jean-Cleo Godin, for instance, found that Gapi's "temoignage est touchant, et la piece s'ecoute avec plaisir. Mais a 1'un et a 1'autre, il manque ce qui fait la grandeur de la Sagouine : 1'eclat d'une secrete sagesse, la profondeur."95 Andre Dionne, for his part, contended that Gapi "n'est que le carbone de la Sagouine [...] mais 1'exotisme n'y est pas."96 Still the text was considered worthy of an adaptation by Radio-Canada producers. Unlike One Nicrht Stand. Gapi (1981) was initially intended only for television broadcast, but the producers elected to show it in competition at the 1982 Festival des Films du Monde in Montreal.97 Paul Blouin unsuccessfully opposed the theatrical screening, well-aware that the staginess of the film, acceptable on television, could not pass the test of the big screen.98 And to be sure, the film was received rather negatively.99 One reviewer, validating Blouin's reservations, wrote that "the inclusion of the film in Montreal's competition section is puzzling for even the partisan audience found the stagebound offering uncompelling. "10° Page 59 Four years after the failure of Gapi at the Festival, another film adaptation of a Quebecois play made for television received a theatrical screening, when Daniel Roussel's version of Maryse Pelletier's Du poil aux pattes comme les CWAC's (1982) was shown at the Cinematheque quebecoise as part of the Rendez-vous du cinema quebecois.101 By no means one of Pelletier's best works, this drama about the training of four female army recruits during WW II is in fact so meagre that it has been described as a play "tout bonnement insignif iante. "102 Not surprisingly, the screening of Du poil aux pattes comme les CWAC's (1985) was totally ignored by the press. The period between Gapi and Du poil aux pattes comme les CWAC's saw very little activity in terms of film-mediated drama. The only instance worthy of mention here is Tom Shandel's film Walls (1984). The production of this movie brought to its con-clusion a project initiated half a dozen years earlier when Christian Bruyere wrote Walls (1978) as a play, with the firm intention of eventually making a film on the same subject.103 The play, which opened in May 1978 at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, is a dramatized version of a hostage-taking incident that took place in June 1975 at the B.C. Penitentiary, and resulted in the killing of a classification officer by the prison guards.104 Most reviewers complimented the raw theatrical power of the production, but disapproved of the "one-dimen-sionalism" of the characters, and "the basic good guy-bad guy cliches" pervasive in the text.105 Georgia Straight drama critic and NFB documentarist Tom Page 60 Shandel was the only adamant advocate of Bruyere's play, even comparing it to Ryga' s Rita Joe as one of the most "provo-catively sensational" plays ever to come out of Vancouver.106 But Shandel was not the most objective of reviewers. He had a vested interest in the subject of the play, having himself previously tried to produce a documentary on the B.C. Penitentiary events.107 It is thus the meeting of a writer and a critic determined to make a film on the same issue that led to the production of Walls in 1984. Like most works of the corpus, the film version of Walls had a theatrical release that raised little enthusiasm, and has been seen on television only occasionally.108 Within the context of a study on film-mediated drama, Walls poses a problem, for not only do the play and the film have significantly different structures, they also present different characters. For instance, Ron Simmons, the liberal lawyer who plays a central role in the film, does not exist in the play. Furthermore, the main female character does not even have the same name in both works; she is called Mary in the play and Joan Tremblay in the film. In fact, there are so many discrepancies between the play and the film that the two works should actually be considered as two distinct fictional versions of the same factual material. Significantly, the opening credits of Walls do not refer to the play at all, indicating only that the film is based upon real events and that Bruyere wrote the screenplay. Norma Bailey's Bordertown Cafe (1991) is another example of a film that differs markedly from the play that preceded it. Described by Reg Skene as a "cartoon-like political allegory" Page 61 about "Free Trade anxiety," Kelly Rebar's play Bordertown Cafe (1987) examines the predicament of a young man, Jimmy, who must choose between staying in Alberta with his mother, or following his father to the United States.109 In the play, all the drama takes place as Jimmy, his mother and his grandparents await the arrival of the estranged father. But the father never shows up, thus basically forcing Jimmy to remain in Alberta. In the film, not only does the father show up, he also takes his son with him to his new home and new bride in Wyoming. Jimmy's drama is thus of an entirely different sort here, as he no longer only resigns himself to staying in Alberta, but wilfully and knowingly decides to reject the material comfort and stability of the U.S. household, and to return home to his mother's small prairie cafe. However, despite this attempt to flesh out Jimmy's drama, Rebar' s film-script failed even more than her play to impress the critics. As George Godwin pointed out in his review, we know the nature of [the characters'] troubled relationships from the beginning, and nothing more is to be learned as the film slowly makes its way to its predictable crisis. In the end, there is no revelation and the characters' interactions slide into the familiar pat-terns of potted TV drama and sitcom.110 Vic Sarin's 1989 film version of Jim Garrard's Cold Comfort (1981) also departs from the original text. But whereas Walls and Bordertown Cafe bring about important alterations to the dramatis personae and the overall structure of the plays, Sarin's film diverges from Garrard's drama almost exclusively at the level of the dialogue. Perceived as either "a fascinating Page 62 exercise in bizarre naturalism," or a "Gothic horror tale," Cold Comfort relates the story of a travelling salesman who falls prey to a deranged tow-truck driver and his backward teenage daughter.111 At the end of the play, father and daughter leave their home permanently, abandoning the salesman chained to a pipe inside the house. Although labelled "sexist, xenophobic, and condescending" by Janice Dales, Cold Comfort proved suc-cessful enough with the public to prompt a number of short runs across the country in the months following its premiere in January, 1981, at Saskatoon's Twenty-Fifth Street Theatre under Garrard's direction.112 Film producer liana Frank saw the first Toronto performance of Cold Comfort in May 1981, and immediately saw some cinematic possibilities in the text. The production of the movie suffered a long delay, however, due to the disbandment of Frank's company, Stratton/Frank Associates, and the unavailability of the film rights to the play, which had been acquired by Moses Znaimer. When Znaimer's option on the property expired, Frank quickly teamed up with Ray Sager to produce the movie. They hired the veteran cinematographer Vic Sarin to shoot and direct the film. For the sake of expediency, Frank and Sager elected to confide the task of writing the script to Richard Beattie and L. Elliott Simms rather than to Garrard, maintaining that the latter was "not adept yet at scriptwriting. "113 Beattie and Simms retained the general structure of the play, but abbreviated and reorganized the dialogue. Cold Comfort (1989) was something of a sleeper at the 1989 Page 63 Festival of Festivals in Toronto, but again, as is the case with the overwhelming majority of the films surveyed above, the critics were not impressed. Martin Knelman saw the movie as "a drawn-out telling of an old joke about the travelling salesman," and Martin Girard remarked that "le film souffre de n'etre au fond qu'une adaptation d'un texte ecrit pour la scene."114 The only redeeming quality of the film, according to these re-viewers, was Maury Chaykin's performance as the depraved father. But even Chaykin's skilful histrionics failed to stir Variety reviewer S. Ayscough who charged that in this "misdirected tale [...] acting is weak on all fronts."115 This train of negative critical response to film-mediated drama finally ceased in 1992 with the release of Jean Beaudin's adaptation of Rene-Daniel Dubois's Being at Home with Claude (1985). Beaudin's film was the first widely acclaimed cinematic treatment of a play since the success of Wedding in White in 1972. For instance, Sequences film critics Janick Beaulieu and Leo Bonneville both voted Being at Home with Claude (1992) one of the ten best movies of 1992, alongside such international hits as James Ivory's Howards End (1992) and Billy August's The Best Intentions (1992).116 Released exactly twenty years after Fruet's movie, Beaudin's version of Being at Home with Claude affords the tentative completion of a first cycle in the history of modern Canadian and Quebecois film-mediated drama. Wedding in White and Being at Home with Claude, as well as being the two poles that conveniently limit the corpus chronologically, stand out as two exceptional works whose success frames the relative Page 64 failure of the bulk of the corpus. Incidentally, Denys Arcand's adaptation of Brad Fraser's international hit Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love (1989), released in 1994, seems to mark the inception of another cycle of film-mediated drama.117 I shall elaborate on this speculation in the concluding chapter of the present study. Dubois's play, which premiered at Theatre de Quat'Sous on 13 November 1985, is set in the summer of 1967 as a police in-spector tries to extract an explanation from a young homosexual prostitute, Yves, who has confessed to killing another young man, Claude, but refuses to say why. Yves eventually reveals that Claude was the only man he ever loved, and that he slit his throat as they were having sex to preserve this moment of ecstatic communion from the sordidness of the outside world. Beyond the anecdotal homosexual melodrama, what enthralled the theatre audiences was the deeply-felt tragedy of an ideal love rendered impossible by a world of mediocrity and ugliness.118 Ironically, in a 1989 publication on Quebecois theatre in the 1980s, Diane Pavlovic and Lorraine Camerlain allude to Being at Home with Claude only to illustrate the new gay consciousness voiced in recent theatrical practice, as if, within the space of a few years, a work once praised for the universality of its theme had become of mere topical interest.119 In any case, by the early 1990s, Louise Gendron of the Productions du Cerf had acquired the film rights to the play, and had chosen Jean Beaudin to direct the movie. Beaudin in-itially hesitated to accept Gendron's offer, for he thought that Page 65 adapting this play, which strictly respects the classical unities, "serait un travail epouvantable. "12° Beaudin eventually solved the problem by splitting the film into two juxtaposed narratives. The first narrative closely follows Dubois's play — except that it situates the action in 1990 — and limits itself almost exclusively to the judge's office in which the inter-rogation takes place. The other narrative, presenting black-and-white flashbacks, shows Yves's gentle side as he first meets Claude, his ecstasy as they make love, and his anguish im-mediately following the brutal killing of his lover. The added scenes doubtlessly succeed in opening up Dubois's closed drama. But by exhibiting the most intimate moments of Yves' s life with Claude, Beaudin puts more emphasis on the homosexual nature of the relationship than even Dubois does in the original work. This risky directorial choice could have infuriated the purists. Instead, it delighted them. Film reviewer Elie Castiel praised Beaudin for bringing homosexuality to the fore, "lui retirant ainsi sa marginalite, " and creating "une oeuvre profondement humaine sur la rehabilitation de l'etre."121 The popular film critic Rene Homier-Roy also applauded Being at Home with Claude, claiming that "le plus remarquable, dans cette tragedie amoureuse, c'est qu'elle arrive a depasser sa specif icite homosexuel. "122 Only Marie-Claude Loiselle of 24 Images opposed the flow of acclaim for Beaudin's film, criticiz-ing its perverse use of slick music-video aesthetics to hide the emptiness of the discourse. She explains the triumph of the film "par sa coincidence avec le gout du jour;" a rationale that Page 66 might also underlie the success of Dubois's play in 1985.123 As this historical survey shows, a significant number of the plays adapted between 1972 and 1992 are little known, and the films that they have inspired have rarely been successful enough to justify broad distribution. Of the eighteen dramatic texts brought to the screen over that twenty year period only a dozen have been published, and merely four or five movie versions are readily obtainable in video format.124 Thus, to avoid scrutinizing texts that are unfamiliar and unavailable to the majority of readers, only the best known works of the corpus will be analyzed in depth. Because of their success on stage, the accessibility of the films, as well as the fact that the cinematic adaptations closely observe the original playscripts, the texts that emerge as the most appropriate choices for our structural inquiry are Wedding in White, Les Beaux Dimanches, One Night Stand and Being at Home with Claude. Since none of the other plays stand out as anything more than minor achievements, the analysis of both the dramas and the film adaptations will focus on these four titles. However, following these few case studies, an additional segment will propose a concise examina-tion of all the other published dramas in order to verify the validity of the conclusions drawn thitherto, and to advance a general interpretation of the corpus as a whole. The next four chapters (III to VI) cover, respectively, the plays Wedding in White. Les Beaux Dimanches, One Night Stand and Being at Home with Claude. Chapter VII will offer a succinct reading of the remaining published plays. The analysis of the film adaptations Page 67 will be carried out in Chapters VIII and IX. Page 68 NOTES 1" Ginette Major, Le Cinema quebecois a la recherche d'un public: Bilan d'une decennie: 1970-80 (Montreal: Presses de I'Universite de Montreal, 1982) 13. Here, I stipulate "talking" motion picture, because certain sources suggest that as early as 1907, French Canadian dramatist Julien Daoust combined theatre and silent film for the production of his stage play La Fin du monde. See Germain Lacasse, "Vestiges narratifs: les premiers temps du scenario quebecois," Etudes litteraires 26.2 (Fall 1993): 58. ' Leo Bonneville, "Rencontre avec Gratien Gelinas," Sequences 107 (Jan. 1982): 5-7. See also Christiane Tremblay-Daviault, Structures mentales et sociales du cinema quebecois (1942-1953): un cinema orphelin (Montreal: Quebec/Amerique, 1981) 319-22. See also Pierre Veronneau, "Du Theatre au cinema au Quebec : bref historique," Canadian Drama / L'Art dramatique canadien 5 (1979): 25-6. 3Bonneville, "Rencontre avec Gratien Gelinas," 7. See also Leo Bonneville, "Rencontre avec Paul L'Anglais," Sequences 106 (Oct. 1981): 11. See also Pierre Veronneau, Cinema de 1' epocrue duplessiste. Dossiers de la Cinematheque (Montreal: Cinematheque quebecoise, 1979) 114-5. 4- Tremblay-Daviault, 246. Veronneau, Cinema de 1' epocrue duplessiste, 117. Rene Levesque in L'Autorite 28 Feb. 1953, quoted in Veronneau, Cinema de 1'epoque duplessiste. 120. Tremblay-Daviault, 89-101. 8' Yves Lever, Histoire crenerale du cinema au Quebec (Montreal: Boreal, 1988) 99-100, 105. 9- Alonzo Le Blanc, "L'histoire d'Aurore Gagnon (1909-1920)," and "Creation de la piece Aurore 1'enfant martyre (1921)," Aurore, 1'enfant martyre by Leon Petitjean and Henri Rollin (Montreal: VLB editeur, 1982) 15-23, 51-66. There is some confusion concerning the date of creation of this play. Veronneau, in Cinema de 1'epoque duplessiste, writes that Aurore 1'enfant Page 69 martyre premiered in 1928 (p.105). In this, Veronneau follows Edouard G. Rinfret (Le Theatre canadien d'expression francaise: repertoire analytique des oricrines a nos jours tome 3, Lemeac, 1975, p.146), and indirectly Jean Beraud (3 50 ans de theatre au Canada francais, Cercle du livre de France, 1958, p.198). In "Du Theatre au cinema au Quebec," Veronneau claims that the play was written in 1929 (p.28). Elaine F. Nardocchio in Theatre and Politics in Modern Quebec (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1986) also implies that the play premiered in 1929 (p.17). However, the exhaustive study conducted by Le Blanc in his presentation of the dramatic text in the VLB edition demons-trates clearly that the play had its first successful run in the winter of 1921 (p.51-3), and was already a classic by 1929 (p.62-3). ' The "four thousand" figure was given by the lawyers represent-ing France-Film, distributor for La Petite Aurore. in the course of a lawsuit started by Telesphore Gagnon, Aurore's father. See Le Blanc, "Le film La petite Aurore 1'enfant martyre (1951), " Aurore 1'enfant martyre. 92. Le Blanc gives a slightly higher figure in The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre (ed. Eugene Benson and L.W. Conolly, Toronto: Oxford UP, 1989), saying that the play was performed "200 times a year from 1921 to 1951" (p.36). Leonard Doucette, in The Cambridge Guide to World Theatre, talks about five thousand performances over the same period. See Doucette, "Canada: 2. French," Cambridge Guide to World Theatre ed. Martin Banham (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988) 154. Asselin/Forrez quoted in Le Blanc, "Emile Asselin/Marc Forrez (1894-1981)," Aurore 1'enfant martyre, 81. Asselin's novel was published as La Petite Aurore (Montreal: Alliance cinematogra-phique canadienne, 1952). " Le Blanc, "Le film La petite Aurore 1'enfant martyre." 87-95. See also Veronneau, Cinema de 1'epoque duplessiste. 109-10. The fact that the play had already been performed for years, in Quebec, Canada and New England, led judge Edouard-Fabre Surveyer to reject Gagnon's argument that the distribution of the film would occasion irreparable damage to his reputation. 13" Veronneau, Cinema de 1'epoque duplessiste. 113. Asselin/Forrez maintains that the film "fut traduit en plusieurs langues ... et poursuivit sa carriere a 1'etranger et jusqu'au Japon." Quoted in Le Blanc "Le film La petite Aurore 1'enfant martyre." 95. For an analysis of the sado-masochistic structure of the film, and its relation to the collective unconsciousness prevalent in Quebec during the Duplessist "grande noirceur," see Tremblay-Daviault 222-4. Page 70 " Deyglun's La Mere abandonnee, premiered in 1925 and published in 1929, was re-edited as a radio-drama and published in 1936 as Coeur de maman. See Litterature quebecoise et cinema. Revue d'histoire litteraire du Quebec et du Canada francais 11 (Ottawa: Editions de l'Universite d'Ottawa, 1986) 173. See also Tremblay-Daviault, 261-74; and Louise Blouin and Raymond Page, "Biographie d'Henry Deyglun," L'Annuaire theatral I (1985): 11-12. On the effect of the arrival of television in Quebec see, for instance, Clandfield, Canadian Film (Toronto: Oxford UP, 1987) 61. "When television came along and swallowed up the talents spawned by the first Quebec film industry, the two major production companies [Renaissance Films and Quebec Productions] had died." See also Major, 14. "L'avenement de la television allait d'ailleurs consommer la rupture." ' On the difference between "Canadien-frangais" and "Quebecois" films see, for instance, Michel Houle, "Du Canadien-frangais au Quebecois," Les Cinemas canadiens (Montreal: Cinematheque quebecoise; Paris: Pierre Lhermier Editeur, 1978) 145-9. " According to the information provided in D.J. Turner, Canadian Feature Film Index / Index des films canadiens de long metrage 1913-1985 (Ottawa: Public Archives, 1987), Here Will I Nest was the first play to serve as a source for a Canadian film (p.24). ' See announcement of the play's premiere in Curtain Call 10.2 (Nov. 1938): 12. See also the positive anonymous review that the play received in Curtain Call 10.3 (Dec. 1938): 9. "By the writing of Here Will I Nest both the theatre and Canada have been well served. " Here Will I Nest was published in Hilda Mary Hooke, One-Act Plays From Canadian History (Toronto: Longmans, 1962) 57-78. Peter Morris, Embattled Shadows: A History of Canadian Cinema 1895-1939 (Montreal: McGi11-Queen's UP, 1978) 187. There is some confusion about the date of production of the film. Morris claims that the film was produced the same year as the play, in 193 8; Gerald Pratley in Torn Sprockets: The Uncertain Projection of the Canadian Film (Newark: University of Delaware Press; London and Toronto: Associated UP, 1987) gives 1939 as the date of production (p.37-38), and D.J. Turner in the Canadian Feature Film Index writes that the film was shot in the summer of 1941 (p.24). F.B.T., "Film Made by Londoners Has Private Premiere Here," London Free Press 1 Apr. 1942. The author of this review is identified only as F.B.T. Page 71 Pratley, 38; Turner, 24. 21" The only instances of film-mediated drama in English Canada between 1941 and 1971 involve non-Canadian plays, such as Oedipus Rex, filmed by Tyrone Guthrie in 1956 (Turner, 37), and American filmmaker Arch Oboler's version of his own play Mrs Kinasley's Report, shot in 1960-1 (Turner, 44). "• See Take One 3.5 (May/June 1971, pub. July 1972): 26; Take One 3.6 (July/Aug. 1971, pub. Oct. 1972): 39. See also Martin Knelman, This Is Where We Came In: The Career and Character of Canadian Film (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977) 137. 23- See Take One 3.8 (Nov./Dec. 1971, pub. March 1973): 35. " John Hofsess, "Fortune And Men's Eyes — a report from the set in a Quebec City prison," MacLean's 83.12 (Dec. 1970): 81. 25' Martin Knelman, "Herbert's Fortune in Quebec jail," Globe and Mail 9 Jan. 1971: 21. See also Martin Malina, "The wheel of Fortune," Montreal Star 13 Feb. 1971: 23. 26- Malina, 23. ' Richard Gay, "Fortune and Men's Eyes." Cinema Quebec 1.5 (Nov. 1971): 30. Knelman, This Is Where We Came In. 143-4. The film opened at the Trans Lux West, New York, on 15 June, 1971, more than a week before it premiered at Toronto's New Yorker (!) on the 24th (Turner, 115-6). Jerry Wasserman, Modern Canadian Plays (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1986) 55. Wasserman, 15. Claude Lapointe, Andre Brassard : strategies de mise en scene (Outremont (Que.): VLB Editeur, 1990) 164. 32' See the short biographical note on Fruet in Rolf Kalman ed., A Collection of Canadian Plavs, vol.2 (Toronto: Simon & Pierre, Page 72 1973) A2-3. See also Fruet's recollection of his childhood memories in George Csaba Roller, "Bill Fruet's Wedding in White," Cinema Canada 2.3 (July/Aug. 1972): 45-6. 33' Richard Plant in The Penguin Book of Modern Canadian Drama (Markham (Ont.): Penguin Books, 1984) claims that the play-opened in 1970 (p.246). All other sources, however, give 2 February, 1972 as the date of the premiere. See L. W. Conolly ed. , Canadian Drama and the Critics (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1987) 82. See also Denis W. Johnston, Up the Mainstream: the Rise of Toronto's Alternative Theatres, 1968-1975 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991) 272. For the premiere of the film see Turner, 136. 34' For production credits see, for instance, Turner, 136. See also Peter Morris, "Wedding in White." The Film Companion (Toronto: Irwin, 1984) 320. Richard Gay, "Wedding in White," Cinema Quebec 2.4 (Dec. 1972): 41. "Dermet Production (Toronto) avec 1'assistance de la SDICC et d'un groupe de financiers torontois." Kalman writes that Wedding in White "played to packed houses during its eight-week run" (p.A3). Denis Johnston, however, suggests that the play ran for nine weeks (p.272). As an indica-tion of the difference between the local success of Wedding in White, and the nation-wide impact of Creeps, Leaving Home, and The Farm Show, it is interesting to note that Eugene Benson and Leonard W. Conolly, in their English-Canadian Theatre (Toronto: Oxford UP, 1987), write at some length about the critical and popular success of the three latter plays (87-95), but say absolutely nothing of Fruet's work. 36" Kaspars Dzeguze, "Wedding in White perverse but entertaining," Globe and Mail 3 Feb. 1972: 12. John Palmer, Toronto Star 3 Feb. 1972. Quoted in Conolly, 84. 38' John Hudecki, "Wedding in White One," Take One 3.7 (Sept./Oct. 1971, pub. Dec. 1972): 30. See also Robert-Claude Berube, "Wedding in White," Sequences 71 (Jan. 1973): 30. "Rode par une fructueuse presentation sur scene, son texte etait pret." Roller, 44-5. Page 73 " See, for instance, Robert-Claude Berube. See also Jean-Pierre Tadros, "Wedding in White Two," Take One 3.7: 30-1. See also W.M. Bernard, "Wedding in White," Films in Review 14.4 (Apr. 1973): 244. See also the anonymous "Canadian Film Praised in US," Globe and Mail Tues. 1 May 1973: 17. For information on the Canadian Film Awards see Maria Topalovich, A Pictorial History of The Canadian Film Awards (Toronto: Stoddart, 1984) 98-9. Regarding the Canadian presence at Cannes in 1973 see "Festivals et Prix / Festivals and Awards," Film Canadiana 1973-1974. eds. Louis Valenzuela, Piers Handling and Maynard Collins (Ottawa: Canadian Film Institute / Institut canadien du film, 1974). ' See Johnston, 151-2. Turner, 154. The film was shown on TV on 28 April 1984. • Turner, 231. 3- Lome Macdonald, "Metal Messiah. " Motion 6. 4/5 (Nov. 1977): 37. Macdonald, 37-8. 45• Turner, 231. Film Canadiana 1977-1978 (Ottawa: Canadian Film Institute, 1978) gives April 1977 as date of the film's premiere (p.39). But in his article, which was published in November 1977, Macdonald does not refer to the April screening. As a matter of fact, the article suggests that, by the time of publication in November, the film had not yet been completed (p.38). 46" I have not been able to find any information about the produc-tion history of Wimbs's Memoirs of Johnny Daze. Although Turner (p. 430) and Copie Zero (no 24, p. 31) refer explicitly to the play as the source for Bachar Shbib's Memoirs (1984), records of Canadian stage productions, such as Canada on Stage (1974-1988), do not refer to this work. The archivists of the Playwrights Union of Canada do not know of the play either. Note that, before 1989, Shbib spelled his name Chbib. Peter Colley's The Mark of Cain, although unpublished, is available in copyscript at the Playwrights Union of Canada. 47' I purposefully exclude from this survey Andre Brassard's II etait une fois dans l'Est (1973), which borrows much material from Michel Tremblay's dramaturgy without transposing systemati-cally any of his original texts onto the screen. See note 7 of Chapter I. See also Andre Loiselle, "Film-Mediated Drama: Andre Page 74 Brassard's Film II etait une fois dans l'Est as a pivot in Michel Tremblay's Dramaturgy," Essays in Theatre / Etudes theatrales 10.2 (May 1992): 165-80. Normand Cloutier, "Marcel Dube broue du noir...," Le Magazine MacLean Aug. 1966: 10. 49" See survey in Jeu 47 referred to in note 6 of the Introduc-tion. 50' Edwin C. Hamblet, Marcel Dube and French-Canadian Drama (New York: Exposition Press, 1970) 57. Renate Usmiani also considers Au retour des oies blanches to be Dube's best play. See Usmiani, "Marcel Dube," Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 53: Canadian Writers Since 1960, First Series, ed. W.H. New (De-troit: Bruccoli Clark Books, 1986) 168. The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre has no separate entry for Les Beaux Dimanches, but has one for both Un Simple Soldat, and Au retour des oies blanches. ' Maximilien Laroche, Marcel Dube (Montreal: Fides, 1970) 40-1. 52" Laroche, 36. See also Usmiani, 168. "The main interest of [Les Beaux Dimanches] lies in the discussion of important contem-porary issues with Olivier, a doctor and cynic, serving as spokesman for the author." • Marcel Dube, Les Beaux Dimanches (Montreal: Lemeac, 1968) 100. 54' Richard Martin quoted in Jean-Pierre Tadros, "Les Beaux Dimanches tels qu'ils nous reviennent, " Le Jour 27 July 1974: VI. 55' Gerald Gaudet, "Marcel Dube : la tragedie de l'homme blesse," Lettres quebecoises. 46 (summer 1987): 46. 56' Janick Beaulieu, "Les Beaux Dimanches," Sequences 79 (Jan. 1975): 30. 57" See Tadros' s enthusiastic report on the shooting of the film in Magog in Jean-Pierre Tadros, "Sous la direction de Richard Martin : Une nouvelle vie cinema tographique pour Les Beaux Dimanches de Dube," Le Jour 27 July 1974: V 1. Page 75 Jean-Pierre Tadros, "Les Beaux Dimanches (Lovely Sundays)," Variety 276 (30 Oct. 1974): 42. 5 Jean Basile, "Theatre : Les Beaux Dimanches de Marcel Dube," Le Devoir 13 Feb. 1965: 11. It should be noted here that in her production of Les Beaux Dimanches premiered at the Theatre du Nouveau Monde on 19 January 1993, Lorraine Pintal retained Olivier's monologue, arguing that, after almost thirty years, Quebecois still have to grapple with the issues raised by Dube in 1965. Robert Wallace, "Kinch, Martin" The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre, 285. Me? had a successful revival in 1977, again at TFT, and then vanished from the professional stage. See Canada on Stage: 1977 ed. Don Rubin (Downsview, Ont.: CTR, 1978) and subsequent issues. Kinch quoted in Robert Wallace and Cynthia Zimmerman, The Work: Conversations With English-Canadian Playwrights (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1982) 351. 62' William Lane, Introduction to Me? by Martin Kinch (Toronto: Coach House, 1975) 7. "Every one of the four major characters of the play were in the audience that night." Herbert Whittaker, "Role switch makes Me? spellbinder," The Globe and Mail 30 Apr. 1973: 14. David McCaughna, "Making Me," Motion Sept./Oct. 1974: 24. McCaughna, 24. 66" Brenda Donohue quoted in McCaughna, 24. The film was shown on 15 September 1975. See S. Adilman, "Me," Variety 280 (1 Oct. 1975): 26. 67- See, for instance, Clive Denton, "John Palmer's Me," Cinema Canada 23 (Nov. 1975): 54. See also Martin Knelman, This is Where we Came in. 153-5. ' Adilman, 26. Page 7 6 See Lever, 290-2. Pratley 113-123. Veronneau, Les Cinemas canadiens. 175. Bolt quoted in Rota Lister, "An Interview With Carol Bolt," World Literature Written in English 17 (Apr. 1978): 151. See Cynthia Diane Zimmerman, "Carol Bolt," Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol 60: Canadian Writers Since 1960. Second Series, ed. W.H. New (Detroit: Bruccoli Clark Layman Books, 1986) 19. See also James Noonan, "Bolt, Carol," The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre. 57. For exact dates of production see Canada on Stage: 1977. 18, 174, 289. 73• John Fraser, "One Night Stand: better and better," The Globe and Mail 11 Apr. 1977: 15. 7 " Gina Mallet, "New thriller is suitably macabre but improba-ble, " The Toronto Star 11 Apr. 1977: D5. 75' David McCaughna, "Mr. Goodbar rides again, " MacLean' s 6 Mar. 1978: 65. 76" Peter Harcourt, "Allan King: a celebration of people," Cinema Canada 40 (Sept. 1977): 28. Turner, 246. McCaughna, "Mr. Goodbar rides again," 65. • Topalovich, 123. 79- Although McCaughna, in his 1978 article "Mr. Goodbar rides again," suggested that One Night Stand was soon to be released in the theatres, there seems to have been no public screening of the film before 1982. See Turner, 246. 80- J. Hoberman, "Arrested Development, " The Village Voice 11 May 1982: 58. Page 77 81' Janet Maslin, "Film: One Niaht Romance-cum-thriller," New York Times 29 Apr. 1982: C22. 82' Nardocchio in Theatre and Politics in Modern Quebec pays lip service to Une amie d'enfance (p.94). But there is not a single reference to the play in The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre, nor is it acknowledged by either Gilbert David in "Un nouveau territoire theatral 1965-1980," in Renee Legris, et al., Le Theatre au Quebec 1825-1980 (Montreal: VLB Editeur, 1988), or Monique Engelbertz in her voluminous Le Theatre quebecois de 1965 a 1980 — un theatre politique (Tubingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1989) . 33' Leo Bonneville, Le Cinema quebecois par ceux qui le font (Montreal: Editions Paulines, 1979) 616. 84" Janick Beaulieu, "Une amie d'enfance." Sequences 95 (Jan. 1979): 23. See also Bonneville, Le Cinema quebecois. 617. "Ainsi cette incursion de Francis Mankiewicz du c6te du theatre filme aura ete une experience peu probante." Turner, 249, 281. 86" Fernand Villemure, "Les Celebrations," Cahiers de theatre Jeu 4 (1977): 85. 87" Andre Dionne, "Les Celebrations." Lettres quebecoises 4 (Nov. 1976): 20. 88" Andre Dionne, "Michel Garneau et le lieu de la culture," Lettres quebecoises 11 (Sept. 1978): 51. See also Renate Usmiani, "Michel Garneau," Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 53. 206-7; Louise H. Forsyth, "Garneau, Michel," The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre. 220-2. 39• Leo Bonneville, "Entretien avec Yves Simoneau," Sequences 124 (Apr. 1986): 6. 90• Information given to me by Yves Simoneau in a personal letter sent from Los Angeles, on Monday 24 June, 1991. Bonneville, "Entretien avec Yves Simoneau," 6. Page 78 92- Robert-Claude Berube, "Les Celebrations," Sequences 102 (Oct. 1980): 37. 93. Information provided in Simoneau's letter of 24 June, 1991. 94' Gapi is a revised version of Gapi et Sullivan, published in 1973 but never produced. 95' Jean-Cleo Godin, "Antonine Maillet : Gapi," Livres et auteurs quebecois (1976): 196. 96" Andre Dionne, "Gapi. " Lettres quebecoises 5 (Feb. 1977): 23. 97' Turner, 366-7. Premiered on 23 August 1982. 98' In a telephone conversation, 4 September 1991, Paul Blouin told me of his opposition to the inclusion of Gapi in the festival. 99' See, for instance, Janick Beaulieu, "Gapi," Sequences 110 (oct. 1982): 18. "Le manque de progression dramatique se fait remarquer davantage ici qu'au theatre. C'est dommage." 10°- L. Klady, "Gapi. • Variety 308 (1 Sept. 1982): 19. 101- See Copie Zero 28 (June 1986): 23. Premiered on 1 February 1986. 102" Adrien Gruslin, "Quand les textes dramatiques laissent a desirer," Spirale. June 1982: 11. 103• Erich Hoyt, "A play called Walls — someday to be a film, " Westworld 4.3 (May/June 1978): 83-4. 104- Sharon Pollock's One Tiger to a Hill (1981) is loosely based on the same incident. 105' Respectively, Max Wyman, "Andy Bruce/Steinhauser play as raw as a new wound," The Vancouver Sun 8 May 1978: C3; and Bob Page 79 Allen, "No answers in Walls, but it's strong theatre," The Province 6 May 1978: 11. 106- Tom Shandel, "Inside Walls," Georgia Straight Apr.28-May 5 1978: 18. • Tom Shandel, "Scaling Walls," Georgia Straight May 12-19 1978: 17. Turner, 424. See, for instance, S. Devins, "Walls." Variety 316 (12 Sept. 1984): 20. "The pic[ture] becomes mired in predictable dialog from the two opposing camps." Reg Skene, "Making the Prairie Connection," Newest Review 13.4 (Dec. 1987): 16. K. George Godwin, "Bordertown Vogue," Border Crossings 10.3 (July 1991): 37. Respectively, Don Rubin "Introduction: Close to the Bone," Canada on Stage 1981-1982 (Toronto: CTR, 1982) 9; and Stephen Weatherbe, "Your mother warned you," British Columbia Report 1.25 (26 Feb. 1990): 31. 112' Janice Dales, "Cold Comfort. " Newest 6.7 (Mar. 1981): 6. See notes on the play's production history in Jim Garrard, Cold Comfort (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1982) 7. See also Canada on Stage: 1981-1982, 98, 189, and Canada on Stage: 1982-1986 (Toronto: PACT, 1989) 16, 46. 113• Wyndham Paul Wise, "Northern Comfort, " Cinema Canada 154 (July/Aug. 1988): 5. Note that the credits of the film ascribe the scenario to Richard Beattie and L. Elliott Simms rather than to Beattie and Lee Siegel, as Wise suggests in his article. 114" Respectively, Martin Knelman, "Cold Comfort," Toronto Life Dec. 1989: 135; and Martin Girard, "Cold Comfort," Sequences 145 (Mar. 1990): 53. 115- S. Ayscough, "Cold Comfort, " Variety 336 (6-12 Sept. 1989): 26. Page 80 116- "Dix meilleurs films de 1992," Sequences 163 (Mar.1993): 26. " Angela Baldassarre argues, in an article published in March 1994, that "the movie bug's bitten" a number of playwrights like Fraser and Linda Griffiths, who are turning their plays into films. See Angela Baldassdarre,"A Different Take," Theatrum 37 (Feb./March 1994): 18. ' See, for instance, Robert Levesque, "Lothaire Bluteau inou-bliable; Rene-Daniel Dubois livre une piece majeure," Le Devoir Tue. 19 Nov. 1985: 23. "... le fait divers serait banal. Mais Dubois organise dans cette seance d'aveu un lent processus de confession qui va s'apparenter de plus en plus a une veritable offrande, celle de 1'innocence, sans doute de 1'amour aussi ... 1' amour trop fort ne se preservera que dans la mort. "Lui, apres, ne retrouvera pas la laideur du monde."" ' Diane Pavlovic and Lorraine Camerlain, "Le Quebec des annees 1980: eclectisme et exotisme," Canada on Stage: 1982-1986, xxxi. Leo Bonneville, "Interview: Jean Beaudin," Sequences 157 (Mar. 1992): 20. Elie Castiel, "Being At Home with Claude." Sequences 157 (Mar. 1992): 53. ' Rene-Homier Roy, "L'amour qui tue," L'Actualite 17.2 (Feb. 1992): 85. " Marie-Claude Loiselle, "Being at Home with Claude de Jean Beaudin : 1 *ecran vide." 24 Images 60 (spring 1992): 78. A serious contender at the 1992 Genie Awards, Being at Home with Claude lost the best feature-film prize to David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch (1992) . The film won a single award for Richard Gregoire's haunting musical score. See Jay Scott, "Naked Lunch top fare at Genies," The Globe and Mail 23 Nov. 1992: Al-2. See Appendix 1. As mentioned in note 46, Peter Colley's The Mark of Cain has not actually been published, but copyscripts are available at the Playwrights Union of Canada. To my know-ledge, only Wedding in White. Les Beaux Dimanches. Cold Comfort and Being at Home with Claude are available at video stores, and One Night Stand does appear on television regularly. Page 81 PART I. STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF THE PLAYS This section of the study will seek to determine the dramatic structure of the four most noteworthy Canadian and Quebecois plays made into films between 1972 and 1992, and elaborate a comprehensive interpretation of the corpus. To accomplish this task, I will rely heavily on the methodological principles set forth in Thomas Price's treatise Dramatic Structure and Meaning in Theatrical Productions.1 As indicated in the first chapter, the basic precept of Price's theory states that orthodox dramatic conflicts are essentially binary in structure, opposing two conglomerate characters, among whom only one, the protagonist, is allowed to realize its prevailing wish. Certain dramas, Price also asserts, comprise a third character who functions as the object of the other characters' actions rather than as a subject actively involved in the dialectical struggle. In this, Price basically paraphrases earlier struc-turalist theories such as Algirdas J. Greimas's "actantial" system.2 To these familiar postulates, Price adds the more poten-tially disputable theorem of "unidirectionality," which holds that "whether characters move toward the protagonists in certain plays, toward the antagonists in others, or toward a dialecti-cally disengaged ^neutral' position in yet others, such shifts are never multidirectional in the same work" (Price 42). Price extends a cogent rationale to elucidate this phenomenon. Without reproducing his demonstration in its entirety, it will prove beneficial to quote him at some length on this issue, and Page 82 examine briefly the corollary of this theorem before undertaking the actual analysis of the plays. Initially, the notion of unidirectionality in drama appears disputable, for countless plays and films seem to present instances of one or many characters moving from success to failure as others rise from misery to fortune. But Price contends that such cross-movements are only specious. His brief analysis of Shakespeare's Macbeth (c.1606) persuasively clari-fies this point: When, for example, Macbeth's fall from power coincides with Macduff's release from the usurper's yoke, these two figures would seem to execute a dialectical countercross, one taking a positive and the other a negative course. But this does not accurately describe the drama's dynamic, for actually Macduff is never in a position to move positively because he and all the other victors are situated in the dominant unit from beginning to end. Whatever sufferings they are forced to endure, the tragedy's protagonists remain steadfast in their loyalty to the institution of the monarchy, to legitimate royal succession, and to the Divinity who assures that right of succession [ . . . ] Conse-quently, the drama's only dialectical shift occurs when Macbeth's violation of the Divine Right of Kings propels him from the camp of the faithful to that of the Ultimate Rebel (Price 45) . Similarly, the rise of the hero coinciding with the fall of the blocking character in traditional triangular love comedies, such as Moliere's L'Ecole des femmes (1662), merely has the ap-pearance of a multidirectional manoeuvre. As Price observes, the generic features of comedic drama confine blocking characters in the losing camp from the start by ascribing to them the obvious flaws of dysfunctional "humour" types. "Crippled by their character aberrations," Price writes, "the hero's opponents are Page 83 incapacitated for realizing their primary wish and therefore must be counted as losers from beginning to end" (Price 47). Price originally derived the principle of unidirectionality from inductive generalization rather than deductive reasoning. However, he advances theoretical hypotheses to support his claim. First, he finds an aesthetic explanation for this phenomenon in the commonsensical notions of unity and clarity. "The spectator," he notes, "can only concentrate on one radical alteration of fortune at a time; and the focus is further resolved by pointing any other transformations in the same direction" (Price 42). He also submits a somewhat more intricate justification for unidirectionality by proposing a psychological interpretation of the process of dramatic composition. Associating the function of drama to that of the dream as expounded in Freudian psychoanalysis, Price posits that in both dream and drama "the opposing characters and images are under-stood to be metaphors for a conflict that reflects the deepest personal aspirations and fears of the dreamer or dramatist" (Price 11). In keeping with Freud's inference that "what instigates a dream is a wish, and the fulfilment of that wish is the content of the dream," Price then suggests that the primary function of drama, similar to that of the dream, is to allow symbolic gratification to the dramatist's wish (which can actually be a negative, or ironic wish) .3 But for this gratifica-tion to be realized, [the drama] must re-establish the complete separation of opposites, thus assuring the integrity of both dominant and recessive functions. A dialectically Page 84 misplaced character represents the contamination of one function by its opposite, and such contamination is an irritant that prevents the whole system from operating normally. In order for the dominant function to retain its position of superiority and achieve its overriding wish it must expel any foreign elements, any uncharacteristic tendencies, as it were, and relegate them to the value system of the opposite, shadow side. The same is true, in reverse, for the inferior function (Price 43). Unidirectional movement, Price consequently deduces, results from the fact "that contaminating elements on both sides would tend to negate each other." If commensurate intruders adulterate equally the value of both the protagonist and the antagonist, "the superior function would then still remain in control, with no immediate need for symbolic reinforcement and no necessity for decontamination" (Price 43). Price's discovery of a strictly unidirectional dynamic within the binary framework of drama leads him to postulate that all conflicts in conventional plays and screenplays conform to one of only seven basic structures (Price 69). There is, first, the static model which allows no dialectical movement between the protagonists and the antagonists, the members of each side remaining steadfast in their respective camps from beginning to end (Price 75-82). Gratien Gelinas's political drama Hier, les enfants dansaient (1966) belongs to this category. In this play, Gelinas sets in opposition the views of a father and his son regarding the future of Quebec. While the elder defends the practice of peaceful negotiation within the federalist system, the younger advocates radical action to effect Quebec's independence. The drama closes with both men maintaining their Page 85 initial positions, which suggests that the quarrel over Quebec's constitutional status is not likely to conclude in a mutually-agreeable compromise. The power of the piece stems primarily from the author's ability to achieve almost perfect balance in his presentation of the polemic, providing each side with convincing arguments. Gelinas ultimately sides with the father, though, according him the moral victory in the debate. The second possibility, that Price labels "apostatic-posi-tive, " is defined by the shift of one or more characters from the negative unit to the positive or winning unit (Price 105-10) . This is the standard structure of propagandistic drama tracing the passage of characters from slavery to freedom, from servility to empowerment. One can discern such a structural shift in the celebrated Marxist film Mother (192 6), by Vsevolod Pudovkin. The mother is initially a submissive member of the proletariat, resisting the communist ideology. But after having realized that her collaboration with the ruling class has led to her son's arrest, she becomes aware of the injustices that she and her family have suffered. She then decides to join, and even lead, the revolutionary movement to overthrow the oppressors. Although such progression from harmful ignorance to positive awareness and action is most common in this type of drama, it is worth reminding the reader that the term "positive" in "apostatic-positive" does not imply that the winning characters necessarily stand for positive values. As Price points out, "in its ironic phase apostatic-positive drama creates a chilling effect by showing the movement of characters Page 86 to a powerful but malign protagonist" (Price 109). The ironic apostatic-positive structure is evident in Ted Kotcheff's Canadian film The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974). At the beginning of the film, Duddy is a somewhat mischievous but nonetheless likeable and generous young man, who values the opinion of his grandfather, develops a loving relationship with a Quebecoise and tenders a helping hand to those in need. By the end of the movie, however, he has failed the sage patriarch, abandoned his faithful lover, and betrayed his most loyal friend. Yet, all these contemptible deeds allow him to become financially successful and to fulfil his great wish of being granted credit at the neighbourhood cafe. As the final credits start rolling, his father recapitulates Duddy's ironic apostatic-positive transformation as he relates his son's rise from the realm of the weak and sensitive to the clan of the powerful and ruthless. The "apostatic-negative" model presents the opposite movement, that is, the passage of one or several characters from the dominant group to the recessive group (Price 135-41). Macbeth, as pointed out in Price's previous description, is a probative illustration of this structure. Indeed, in its portrayal of the central character's perfidious usurpation of the king's throne, the gradual disintegration of his guilt-ridden conscience, and his brutal death as a result of his own use of violence, Shakespeare's Scottish play narrates in most emphatic terms Macbeth's irrevocable fall from the camp of the righteous, where he once belonged, to the realm of the damned. Page 87 The four remaining movement-patterns result from the possible presence of a third character located in a disengaged position. The passage of this third character from its neutral stance to the protagonist's unit constitutes a "metastatic-positive" drama (Price, 185-92). Comedic love triangles gen-erally reproduce this pattern as a disputed personage is eventually won over by the heroic protagonist overthrowing the blocking character. The "metastatic-negative" model inverts the dynamic, showing the apex figure joining the antagonists in their demise (Price 223-30). Henrik Ibsen's intricate Hedda Gabler (1890) is elaborated on the basis of this structure. The contested figure in this text is Lovborg, a brilliant, dionysian visionary, who is sought by two contesting forces: on the one hand, the plain Mrs. Elvsted, who encourages him to be diligent and sober; and on the other hand, the romantic Hedda, who loathes the dull, prosaic environment inhabited by her mediocre husband, Tesman, and Mrs. Elvsted. Hedda manages to draw the contested character to her side, convincing Lovborg to turn his back on temperance and adhere to her idealistic outlook. This movement away from the petty world of Tesman and Elvsted is manifestly negative, for it results in Lovborg's grotesque death and Hedda's ensuing suicide. While much less attractive than Hedda, Tesman and Elvsted emerge from the conflict victorious, for they may be boring and insignificant, but at least, they survive. The sixth model, the "synthetic-realized" structure, entails the defusing of a conflict through the intervention of Page 88 a third party who persuades one or both sides to waive the polemic (Price 269-78). Most commonly, this pattern is as-sociated with the use of the "Deus ex Machina, " which provides external, and often artificial, solutions to otherwise irre-solvable situations. Finally, Price describes the "synthetic-implied" structure, alluded to in the introductory chapter, which rejects the use of an external force to settle a deadlock conflict, and leaves it to the audience to supply an alternative to the unresolved circumstances that the drama exposes (Price 309-17). The distinction between the static model and the synthetic-implied structure is that, while the former concedes victory to one of the two belligerents, the latter lays bare an unsustainable predicament that requires a solution foreign to both sides of the battlefield. In the synthetic-implied conflict "victory and defeat have utterly lost significance" (Price 3 09). David Fennario's Balconville (1978) is an example of synthetic-implied drama, as it stages a pointless strife opposing working-class francophones and anglophones, who argue over trifles and fail to perceive that as proletarians they could unite for a common cause. Unlike in Gelinas's piece, where the debate is presented with great lucidity, allowing one side to advance the more convincing rationale, in Fennario's drama the struggle remains frustratingly inconsequential. The play thus rejects closure, ending with all the characters turning to the audience in panic and asking, "What are we going to do? / Qu'est-ce qu' on va faire?" as their decrepit apartments are about to go up in Page 89 flames, demanding that the spectators find a solution. Price's seven models afford a useful means to detect the thematic purport of dramatic texts, for once the basic structure of a play has been disclosed, it becomes easier to recognize the patterns of imagery recurrent in the drama as they too function on the principle of dialectic opposition. The images attached to the protagonists clash with those of the antagonists; and when characters move from one stance to another their semiotic make-up reflects their apostasy (Price 51-6). The dialectic of imagery thus fleshes out the bare bones of the dialectic of action by assigning connotative meaning to the conflicting units, and endowing each side of the dialectic with metaphorical implications. The final stage of analysis, the implicational dialectic, consists in selecting conceptual antonyms that summarize the distinctive traits shared by the characters of each contesting group (Price 59-62). As pointed out in the first chapter, the implicational dialectic is mainly useful in the context of the present study insofar as it permits us to isolate into binary terms certain crucial motifs at the core of the dramas, and pinpoint recurring concerns among the texts of the corpus on the basis of the cues offered by these epitomic doublets. Though the following structural reading of the plays encom-passes these three stages, inquiry into the dialectic of imagery will be most extensive in the next part, devoted to the cinema-tic adaptations, for it is through the analysis of alterations in the deployment of verbal and visual signs that the process of Page 90 film-mediation will be primarily elucidated. The implicational dialectic, for its part, will be further considered in the third and final section, which will establish links between the corpus, theories of film and drama, and the Canadian/Quebecois imagination. It will emerge from the case studies conducted in this part that, although the plays appraised below belong to various dynamic classes, they all share fundamental properties at the levels of structure and motives. I shall begin the inquiry with the first modern Canadian play to have been made into a genuinely Canadian film, and one of the most intricate texts of the corpus, William Fruet's Wedding in White. Page 91 NOTES Thomas Price, Dramatic Structure and Meaning in Theatrical Productions (San Francisco: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992). Subse-quent references to this work in this section will appear within parentheses in the text. 2" See Algirdas Julien Greimas, Semantique structurale : recher-che de methode (Paris: Larousse, 1966). 3" Sigmund Freud, "Lecture VIII: Children's Dreams," Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, trans. James Strachey (1966; New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1977) 129. Price, 43. On the notion of "negative wish" see Price, 20: "...recognizing irony for what it is, namely, a negative wish." See also Freud, "Lecture XIV: Wish-Fulfilment," Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. 221: "... a dream is a fulfilled wish or the opposite of one." Page 92 CHAPTER III. WEDDING IN WHITE1 Synopsis: Location and time: "Somewhere in Western Canada, in a small town, near the end of the Second World War" (Fruet 247). Act I, scene i: Jim and Mary Dougal, along with their timid daughter, Jeanie, give a hero's welcome to their soldier son, Jimmie, returning home for the weekend with his army buddy, Billy. Scene ii: Later in the evening, Billy would like to go out with Jeanie and her buxom friend, Dollie, but Jimmie feels that they should accompany Jim to the Legion Club. Scene Hi: At the Legion, Jimmie, Billy and Jim are drinking with the latter's old friends, Sandy and his lover, Sarah, when a bully challenges Jimmie to a fight. Petrified, Jimmie dodges the confrontation, thus humiliating his father before the Legion crowd. Scene iv: Back at Jim's place, father and son retreat to their bedrooms to mend their wounded pride. When Jeanie and Dollie return from their night out, Billy tries to seduce the latter, but he is spurned. Angry and frustrated, he rapes Jeanie. Act II, scene i: Three months later, long after Jimmie and Billy have absconded from the scene, Jeanie knows that she is pregnant from the rape. However, as her parents are preparing for a reception at the Legion in Jim's honour, she refrains from divulging her condition. Scene ii: After the reception, while Jim and Sandy are drinking in the basement, Jeanie confides in her mother. Scene Hi: The next morning, Mary reveals the shameful news to Jim, who responds violently by battering his daughter for having dishonoured the family. Page 93 Act III, scene i: A week later, Mary tries in vain to dissuade her husband from evicting Jeanie. Scene ii: Shortly after, Sandy insinuates to Jim that he could marry Jeanie to restore his friend's honour. Jim is delighted with this pros-pect. Scene Hi: Jim's plan to give Jeanie's hand to Sandy is confirmed. Sarah, feeling betrayed, expresses her outrage at Mary, her best friend. But Mary is obliged to condone her husband's arrangement and must thus terminate her life-long relationship with Sarah. Scene iv: Jim gathers his drunkard friends in his living room to celebrate the wedding. As the curtain falls, Sandy is seen shoving Jeanie into a bedroom for their nuptial intercourse. Preliminaries to the Analysis: This plot summary of William Fruet's Wedding in White already provides some basic indications of the dialectic of action that generates conflict in the play. The central event of the drama is evidently the rape of Jeanie. Although there are other nodal points in the text, such as Jimmie' s show of cowardice at the Legion and Sarah's termination of her friend-ship with Mary, these dramatic occurrences are subordinated to the crisis provoked by the rape and the resulting pregnancy. This crisis, however, is not resolved through poetic justice in the form of a well-deserved punishment for the rapist; as a matter of fact, Billy is never heard of again after the night of the rape. Rather, the denouement of Wedding in White hinges on the rehabilitation of Jim's honour through the arranged marriage Page 94 that somewhat redeems Jeanie's shameful condition. In this, we recognize at once a particular dramatic conf-iguration. The text does not exhibit a straightforward conflict in which the triumph of the protagonists would ensue directly from vanquishing the antagonists. Instead, Jim's victory, as is clearly manifested by his celebratory mood in the last scene, stems from the (re)admittance into his clan of his daughter, a character who is neither an antagonist nor a protagonist, but only a victim. Indeed, as the synopsis intimates and as will be demonstrated below, Jeanie has no specific desire in the play and, as such, does not actively participate in the dialectic. Rather, she is the "object" through whom the crisis is triggered by an antagonist — via the rape — and eventually resolved by the protagonists — via the wedding. In both instan-ces, Jeanie is manipulated by others, without having any control over her circumstances. We are thus in the presence of a triangular construction, in which the conflicting forces act upon a third, neutral agency, whose eventual assimilation by the protagonists leads to their victory. In terms of Price's theory, this structure is labelled metastatic-positive drama. Admittedly, the metastatic-positive organisation of Wedding in White is not as readily recognizable in the comedic love triangles generally associated with this model. This ensues from the fact that we are dealing, here, with an ironic play, as is evidenced by the caustic tone of the work, its dubious resolu-tion through an arranged marriage, and even its title. And ambivalence is common in the ironic phase of the metastatic-Page 95 positive configuration. As Price reports, ironic playwrights reproducing this pattern often employ "secretive dramaturgical techniques: hidden players in one or more functional unit (thus obscuring triangular relationships), self-contradiction and denial on the part of the contested females [ . . . ] and apparent disinterest of the victorious males."2 Like other ironists, Fruet resorts to elaborate strategies to achieve the indirectness indigenous to his chosen mode of composition. Foremost among these strategies is the meek characterisation of Jeanie. As a "contested female," Jeanie should normally occupy a prominent position in the drama, but instead, she is portrayed as a peripheral character who, for most of the play, is ostracized by her father and the other members of the Dougal household. Interestingly enough, certain reviewers have seen Jeanie's characterization as the principal weakness in both the stage version and the film, arguing that her passivity creates a void at the core of the drama. For instance, Peter Crossley, comment-ing on the production of the play at the Manitoba Theatre Centre, in May 1973, claims that Jeanie, as portrayed by Nancy Beatty, "seemed unreal [...] she was shy, yes, but when she was approached by a young man, she showed no surprise or emotional response."3 Piers Handling, in a concise analysis of the movie, also complains about Jeanie's lack of intensity: "We never really come close to her. She is relatively without energy, almost apathetic in accepting her fate."4 But while these reactions were undoubtedly influenced, in part, by factors external to Fruet's text, such as the perfor-Page 96 mance of the actresses, Jeanie's impassiveness is also clearly inscribed in the play script itself. For example, one of Fruet's stage directions stipulates that Billy's approach to Jeanie, which prompted Crossley's criticism, "has caught her completely by surprise, and she doesn't respond in any way" (Fruet 279). As pointed out above, this passivity and inhibition actually form an integral part of Jeanie's function in the network of interac-tions that make up the play; and, as we shall see, her initial exclusion from, and eventual inclusion into, the heart of Jim's camp is the central dialectic of action in Wedding in White. Dialectic of Action: From the outset, Fruet diverts attention from Jeanie. The play opens with Jim boisterously welcoming home Jimmie, on short leave from a remote military base. During the first scene, the dialogue revolves entirely around Jimmie, old Jim "hanging on every word his son says" (Fruet 251). Jeanie's entrance in the scene occurs as the conversation is already well under way, and her position on stage, hidden at the top of the stairs whence she descends slowly and timidly, keeps her apart from the action transpiring downstairs. After a brief, albeit affectionate, encounter between brother and sister, Jim, Billy and Mary "all follow Jimmie into the living room leaving Jeanie forgotten" (Fruet 250-1) . Were the play as a whole analogous to this preliminary scene, Jimmie would doubtlessly emerge as the central character of the drama. However, a few scenes after his conspicuous Page 97 ingress, Jimmie vanishes from the stage never to be seen again, and the sporadic actions that he performs — his failure to hold his own in the Legion brawl, for instance — although not irrelevant, are of little significance in the general economy of the play (Fruet 268-9). In retrospect, it appears that Jimmie's prominent presence in the first moments of the play serves primarily to accentuate Jeanie's virtual absence from the dramatic event. His unconditional inclusion in the rank of commendable family members contrasts drastically with her exclusion from it. The sleeping arrangements proposed by Jim epitomise Jeanie's predicament: "You [Jimmie] an Bill can have your old room an Mother an me [sic] will take Jeanie's. She can sleep on the chesterfield downstairs" (Fruet 253) . Here, as through most of the drama, Jeanie constantly suffers relegation. Jeanie's segregation from Jim's immediate circle culminates in the scene following his discovery of her pregnancy. Unmoved by his wife's plea, Jim inflicts what he considers to be an apt punishment on his dishonoured daughter: "She is to leave and not set foot back here again, do you hear? I never want to be reminded of the shame she brought in this house" (Fruet 312). Only at the end of the play, once Jim has found an expedient way to rehabilitate his honour, will Jeanie be finally incorporated into the winning unit of the dialectic through the ironic wedding in white that bestows her on a contented Sandy.5 Jeanie's passage from a position of disenfranchisement to the domineering faction of Jim and Sandy could be interpreted as a movement from an antagonistic status to a role among the Page 98 protagonists. However, as mentioned previously, a perusal of her character establishes that Jeanie never belongs on the side of the antagonists, for she never nourishes any predominant desire that the denouement of the drama frustrates. She generally remains oblivious to her surroundings. Her marriage to Sandy marks neither the negation of her overriding wish nor the realization of her ambitions; she displays neither resistance against, nor interest in, her betrothal to Sandy.6 After a brief moment of panic, stemming from her father's initial decree to evict her, she resumes her nonchalant attitude in the light of Jim's final decision to give her hand to his best friend.7 Until the closing scene, when she is literally shoved into the protagonist's room, Jeanie remains effectively absent from the dialectic. Even the action that seals her fate, the rape, actually denies her presence in the dialectic. Early in the play, Jimmie's buddy, Billy, recognizes Jeanie as easy sexual prey. Feigning interest in her, inquiring about her activities and promising her gifts, he effortlessly gains her confidence (Fruet 253-6) . However, his attention rapidly shifts away from Jeanie when her friend, the voluptuous Dollie, walks on stage in Scene Two. Dollie, far more than Jeanie, embodies the object of Billy's desire, as Fruet specifies in a stage direction: "It is Dollie who interests Billy [...] Jeanie is unable to compete, not having Dollie's looks or drive. She is soon a forgotten party as Billy and Dollie engage in their childish game" (Fruet 275) . Page 99 However, Dollie is not as easily inveigled as Jeanie. She ridicules Billy's seduction act and rejects him violently once the game has ceased to amuse her (Fruet 277). His backtracking toward Jeanie and the rape that follows result directly from his foiled lust for Dollie, and has little to do with Jeanie, who merely stands in for her friend. Significantly, just prior to the rape, Billy attempts to model the callow girl after the more mature paragon, admonishing her to change her hairstyle: "[...] all ya gotta do, is fix it different. I mean more grown up [...] You know? Curl it up like women do" (Fruet 279). Moreover, the rape takes place in complete darkness, hence negating, as it were, Jeanie's presence, erasing her body from the scene. This treatment of Jeanie as the shadow of Dollie corrobo-rates Fruet's use of ironic indirectness. In his section on the metastatic-positive model, Price notes certain common usages among ironic dramatists. Often, says Price, ironic plays focus "on a misfit or mental runaway whose ultimate possession by the protagonist brings economic or sexual advantage to the latter but often confers a dubious blessing on the contested figure" (Price 186). Other ironic works, he adds, concentrate on "the betrayal of weak and impotent antagonists by fickle women" (Price 192). Although Jeanie and Dollie behave in drastically different ways, they both exhibit characteristics of the apex figure in ironic metastatic-positive drama; they correspond to two facets of the same function. Jeanie personifies the intro-verted social misfit, largely unaware of her condition, "wander-ing aimlessly about the house, lost in thought" and blindly Page 100 yielding to her father's will (Fruet 285). As for Dollie, she incarnates the fickle woman whose only ambition in life is to toy with boys without ever committing herself. Dollie does not move as explicitly as Jeanie from the apex position to the winner's side, but a close look at her actions uncovers her adherence to the dynamic. Her most momentous deed in the play is her teasing of Billy, which triggers the latter's brutal behaviour. Although this puerile game exposes Billy's lustful desire, it does not translate any definite longing on Dollie's part; she interrupts her tantalizing performance as abruptly and motivelessly as she commenced it. This accords with her function as an apex figure, for, like Jeanie, Dollie does not express any predominant desire; she only responds to the motions of others.8 Halfway through the play, she voices a vague intention to escape her banal prairie life by travelling to Van-couver, where her brother-in-law, with whom she is having an affair, could provide for her (Fruet 286) . But she never attempts to realize this project. Her lack of action in this matter not only reflects the inconstancy typical of her role, but also confirms the impossibility of any self-asserting movement for the apex figure within the metastatic-positive framework. Furthermore, at the end of the play, Dollie sanctions her friend's marriage with Sandy by attending the reception and performing endorsing gestures. She earnestly photographs the newlyweds and their entourage, explains to Jeanie the double-entendre of some crude jokes made by the guests, hence signi-Page 101 fying her affinity with Jim's and Sandy's clique, and even advises the naive teenager on her conjugal duty: "Come on, Dougal, you're suppose to dance with him!" (Fruet 326-29). Consequently, Dollie, like Jeanie, also moves from a disengaged position, characterized by her careless attitude and aloof dallying with men, to the protagonists' camp, as she actively partakes in the ritual that marks Jeanie's transition from the questionable freedom of obliviousness to confinement in a marriage of convenience.9 The presence of Dollie, however, further obscures the dispute between protagonists and antagonists, for the coveted woman is different for each side. Whereas Dollie arouses the carnal appetite of Billy, Jeanie draws the drunken gaze of Sandy. The drama thus adopts a disjunctive structure that carries out the metastatic dynamic through an out-of-phase conflict. This asynchronous dialectic involves, at first, Billy's aborted overture towards Dollie leading to Jeanie's rape, and subsequently, Sandy's procurement of Jeanie through the mediation of Jim. Although Billy and Sandy never clash directly, they are nevertheless in structural opposition with one another, for the former's failure to acquire the woman he desires (Dollie) obliquely permits the latter to find a wife (Jeanie) . The triangular configuration at the core of this ironic metastatic-positive drama, therefore, is composed of Jeanie and Dollie as the dual apex figure, Sandy on the prota-gonist's side, and Billy in the antagonistic position. Always soliciting kisses from his best friend's daughter, Page 102 Sandy is the only male character in the drama who displays any sort of sustained interest for Jeanie. This interest, however, is not without ambivalence. There is probably a streak of sincerity in Sandy's statement to Jim that " [Jeanie] 's a fine looking girl. (Snaps his finger) I'd marry her like that [...] I would, I would! A wee wife and little ones, something I've always wanted" (Fruet 316). But his sincerity is marred by the fact that his advances to the teenage girl always reek of alcohol (Fruet 288-90). Besides, his flirting with Jeanie discloses his callous disregard for the feelings of his faithful girlfriend, Sarah, who understandably construes the wedding as an unforgivable betrayal. The ambivalence remains unresolved at the end of the play. In the last scene, Sandy behaves as both a likable drunk and a repugnant old lecher. Conscious of his new wife's trepidation at the prospect of spending the night with him, Sandy speaks a few comforting words: "Ohh now don't be frightened of old Sandy." Yet, the following instant, he treats her like a cheap harlot. Fruet describes Sandy's final action as follows: (Reaching the top of the stairs, his hand slowly slides down her back, and he gently caresses her buttocks ... Suddenly clutching them firmly.) Sandy: {Breaking into a loud hoarse laugh.) That a girl! (Quickly he pushes her into the bedroom and the door slams shut) (Fruet 3 32). That such ambivalent behaviour is attributed to Sandy, who doubtlessly emerges as one of the protagonists of the play since Page 103 he fulfils his wish of finding a "wee wife," leaves no doubt as to Fruet's ironical perspective on the state of affairs depicted in his work. Billy, for his part, must be regarded as an antagonist, or loser, primarily because his overriding wish to seduce Dollie is not fulfilled. But even prior to his resounding failure with Dollie, Billy experiences a number of lesser defeats that adumbrate his function in the dialectic. His very presence at Dougal's home, to start with, is partly against his will. As Jimmie informs his mother, Mary, early in the first scene, "[Billy] didn't have nowheres to go to on his leave, so I brought him home with me! [. . . ] Bloke didn't want to come! So I says look here boy, any pal of mine is always welcome in my folk's home!" (Fruet 249-50). Billy's first attempt to charm Jeanie, still in the introductory scene, also occasions the thwarting of his will as the inopportune appearance of Mary interrupts his ploy (Fruet 256). In the second scene, after his first meeting with the alluring Dollie, Billy communicates forcefully to Jimmie his unwillingness to waste an evening drinking with old Jim at the Legion Club: " (Angry) Hey look how long we gonna hang around? I don't want to go no friggin Legion tonight!" (Fruet 2 62). Nonetheless, in the next scene, Billy finds himself at the Legion Club where, faute de mieux, he tries to make a pass at Sarah, Sandy's aging girlfriend. But, "when he persists, she makes him release her and waddles indignantly back to the table" (Fruet 265) . All these minor frustrations pave the way for Page 104 Billy's most humiliating setback before Dollie. From his arrival at the Dougals's to his surreptitious flight with Jimmie the morning after the rape, Billy remains an antagonist. That Billy elects to run away after having assaulted Jeanie is in keeping with his persona as a loser. However, the fact that Jimmie absconds with Billy seems to contradict the image of the valorous son fabricated by the father. Jimmie's seemingly incongruous behaviour might be read as a negative movement from the winning coalition to the losing party. But a scrutiny of Jimmie's conduct, from a perspective less biased than that of Jim, reveals that the young man does not move from the side of the protagonists to that of the antagonists. Rather, like his friend Billy, Jimmie must be labelled an antagonist from the start. As remarked above, despite his ostentatious entrance on stage, Jimmie is not among the most consequential characters of the play. He only participates indirectly in the triangular dispute already described, serving mainly to emphasize Jeanie's marginality, and unwittingly introducing her to the rapist. But Jimmie, unlike Jeanie and Dollie, does have a wish that he has sought to realise. As we learn in Act One, scene three, "he's asked for active duty a hundred times now [...] They won't let him off" (Fruet 266). His inability to fulfil his wish to become a fighting soldier, which puts him in the antagonistic bloc even prior to the beginning of the play, generates a resentment that trans-lates into hostility toward friends and strangers alike at the Page 105 Legion Club (Fruet 2 66-7) . Yet, when Jimmie is called upon to defend his father against the assault of a belligerent Legion patron, and thereby given a chance to prove his worth as a ser-viceman, "he sits frozen in fear" (Fruet 269). Notwithstanding the reasons that Jimmie adduces to rationalise his circums-tances, this scene unveils the authentic cause of his failure.10 Beset with cowardice as his main character trait, Jimmie is irrevocably condemned to be a loser. In the light of the incident at the Legion, which crystallises his military bank-ruptcy, Jimmie's secretive departure with Billy does not come as a surprise. Fruet concludes Jimmie's involvement in the drama by relating his function to Billy's antagonistic role in the indirect polemic with Sandy. After having returned home, Jimmie tries to compensate for his lack of courage at the Legion by threatening to fight Sandy, who does not reciprocate but nevertheless takes the gesture as an insult. Before Jimmie can do any physical damage, he collapses under the weight of his intoxication, and crawls up to his room, whence he will not reappear. Jimmie's aborted confrontation with Sandy echoes Billy's broader disjunctive contest with the old man as, in both cases, the conflict averts direct confrontation, and results in the discomfiture of the younger. This scenario concurs with a recurrent pattern in ironic drama "by representing the victory of age over youth" (Price 192). Joining Billy and Jimmie on the side of the antagonists is Mary, Jim's submissive wife. Having little aspiration in life, Page 106 other than to slave for her family, Mary could mistakenly be associated with Jeanie and Dollie as a detached figure eventual-ly appropriated by the winning unit. However, contrary to the younger women, Mary does experience explicit frustration of her modest desires, and this on at least three occasions. First, in Act Three, scene one, after having found out that Jeanie is pregnant, Mary is forced to renounce her dream of organizing a beautiful reception for her daughter's wedding at the King George Hotel (Fruet 307-8). The reception will be held, instead, in her own decrepit living room and, subsequently, at one of Jim's friends' place. A few moments later, in the same scene, Mary suffers another blow before Jim, who has elected to banish Jeanie from his house. Determined to protect her daughter, Mary defies her husband. "I'll not let you send Jeanie away Jim. [...] I've thought about it. After she's had the baby, she could find a job, and I could watch it through the day [...] I'd look after and care for the baby real well" (Fruet 311-2) . But, as indicated above, Jim angrily dismisses her suggestion, and Mary must yield to her husband's authority.11 Although, in the next scene, Jim goes back on his ruling, his decision to offer Jeanie in marriage to Sandy does not raise Mary to the status of protagonist. In fact, this gestures leads to yet another bitter ordeal for the old woman, who finds herself compelled to forsake her best friend, Sarah. Angry at her boyfriend for marrying Jeanie, Sarah puts the blame on Mary. "Disgustin cheap people, that's what ya are!!" Sarah tells Mary, who retorts: "Don't ever come back here again, ya hear?! You Page 107 don't call us things like that!" (Fruet 322). This feud, which is equally painful for both women, constitutes what Price calls an "internecine conflict," that is, a futile struggle between two characters belonging to the same unit (Price 37). Mary, who loses her soul mate, and Sarah, who sees her long-time lover abandon her, are undeniably located on the losing side of the dialectic. Although Sarah is a rather minor figure in the play, her function as an antagonist is probably manifested more explicitly and more consistently than that of any other character. Almost every time she appears on stage, Sarah occupies a position of pathetic subordination vis-a-vis Sandy. In her first appearance, at the Legion, she is shown as having to endure Sandy's drunken boasting (Fruet 264). In Act Two, scene two, after the reception in Jim's honour, she is treated with utter contempt by her boyfriend when she tries to stop him from flirting with Jeanie: Sarah: (Embarrassed) Sandy, leave Jeanie be! (Sarah pulls at him. Sandy suddenly reels about on her snarling. ) Sandy: Who the hell you think you're pushin?! Keep your bloody hands to yourself! (Fruet 291.) Shortly after, in the same scene, she is required to return home from Dougal's place alone on foot, in the cold darkness of the night, because Sandy is too drunk to drive her (Fruet 295-6). Thus her final frustration, following Sandy's marriage ar-rangement with Jim, hardly comes as a surprise. It only confirms her status as a perpetual loser. Page 108 On the other side stands the ironic winner, Jim, who at the closure of the drama not only redeems his threatened honour, but also strengthens his bond with his friend-cum-son-in-law, Sandy. Enraptured by his son's visit at the beginning of the play, and delighted by the nuptial settlement reached at the end, Jim must be regarded as an immobile protagonist even if he undergoes certain setbacks in the course of the drama, such as Jimmie's embarrassment at the Legion and the news of Jeanie's pregnancy. Although these intermediary events might dent Jim's precious reputation momentarily, the conclusion of the drama eradicates the traces of his few disappointments and reinstates him to his original state of contentment.12 Around Jim gravitate some minor figures whose roles in the dialectic must also be mentioned. Described in the dramatis personae as "assorted soldiers in club" and "sundry wedding guests," characters such as Scotty, Tommie, Art and Bob cohere to the winning unit, all boozing up with Sandy and Jim.13 More notable, however, are two secondary personages who belong to the losing camp, Hattie and Barnie. We encounter this old couple in the scene at the Legion Club as they are impudently trying to integrate Dougal's circle of friends. Told by Jim to "shove off, " they seek the help of a bellicose soldier who threatens Jim, challenges Jimmie to a fight, and humiliates the latter in front of his father (Fruet 268-9). Yet, this intervention does not allow Hattie and Barnie to join Jim's clan, as they and their bully acolyte are led off by the crowd. Despite the brevity of their presence on stage, these two antagonistic Page 109 figures point emphatically toward the larger thematic concern of Fruet's play. Their intrusion in the drama, indeed, exposes Jim's paramount trait, namely, his uncompromising insistence on erecting barriers between his closed circle and the outside world. We will return to this point presently. The foregoing analysis of the dialectic of action has demonstrated at length that the central movement of this play consists essentially in Jim's initial rejection, and ultimate acceptance, of Jeanie into his commanding unit. Schematically, this triangular drama traces the passage of Jeanie and Dollie from outside the dialectic to inside the protagonists' unit, while leaving the antagonists dangling in discontent. In itself, the identification of this structure only allows us to station the characters on one side or another of the conflict, without actually providing us with sufficient semiotic material to interpret the meaning of the drama. However, the following discussion, concerning the dialectic of imagery, will remedy this situation. By permitting us to discover the rhetorical patterns attached to each unit of the dialectic, the next stage of analysis will unveil the thematic purport of Wedding in White — fleshing out the bare bones of the dialectic of action. This procedure will expound a fundamental dichotomy between, on the one hand, scenic and verbal imagery relating to a guarded interior and, on the other hand, dramaturgical signs alluding to a formidable but attractive exterior. Dialectic of Imagery: Page 110 The first information the reader gathers about any charac-ter in Wedding in White concerns Jim's attachment to a specific area of his house. Early in his introductory set descriptions, Fruet details the extreme left of the stage in these terms: Beneath the stairway another door opens to the cellar. This same corner of the room has become Jim's personal little sanctuary consisting of a large black leather chair, an old gramophone, a small whisky cabinet, a display of shell casings and other war souvenirs. Several army group photos hang beside pictures of King George V and Queen Mary. A Union Jack is draped as a background (Fruet 247). Thus, even before encountering any of the personages, the reader already knows of Jim's preferred site: an exiguous corner underneath the stairs where all of the old man's universe is enclosed. This is one of the dominant scenic figures affixed to Jim, denoting his physical and mental huddling up in a recess of his house decorated with images of the past and symbols of Great Britain. Jim's clinging to his British roots, or more precisely, his imaginary (i.e. through images) re-construction of British traditions, intimates his inward resistance against his environ-ment. As James Leach has noticed, "the claustrophobic world of Wedding in White, for example, stems from a rigid adherence to British traditions and an unwillingness to adapt to (or even create) a new environment."14 Although Leach's comment is concerned with Fruet's film, Jim's impulse to shun his surround-ings is equally present in the play. This essential aspect of Jim's persona is reinforced throughout the drama by an accretion of images that emphasize his propensity for secure enclosure and Page 111 apprehension of the outside world. For instance, Jim works as a prison guard at a nearby P.O.W. camp, an occupation devoted entirely to the upholding of the barriers that separate the inside from the outside. His claim that the prisoners are treated "like bloody royalty" attests to his favourable pre-judice towards life in confinement (Fruet 258, 289) . He exer-cises his profession at home as well, prohibiting Jeanie from moving in and out of the house freely, and training a dog to protect his abode against potential escapees.15 Jim's inward tendency is evidenced, as well, in the fact that when he wishes to carry on a drinking spree with Sandy, he retreats to the cellar (Fruet 292). Furthermore, the war souvenir which Jim is proudest of is a model ship built inside a whisky bottle: an ironic metaphor that translates Jim's fascination with secluded objects while emphasizing the unequivocal metonymic implications of the container (Fruet 259). Jim's apprehension of the outside world finds one of its most intricate manifestations in his fear of being ashamed or dishonoured. It is this dread of exposure before the opprobrious gaze of his neighbours that leads him to decree Jeanie's eviction, to dismiss Mary's offer to keep the girl's baby, and to find a convenient cover-up by marrying her to Sandy.16 My intention, here, is not to embark on a fastidious psychological inquiry into the origins of shame in Fruet's characters. However, in order to understand the link between Jim's inclina-tion toward enclosure and his anxiety concerning disgrace or shame, it will prove useful to look succinctly at the psycho-Page 112 logical mechanism that his conduct reproduces. Of particular interest for our purpose is the fact that Jim's admiration for his son, most ardently voiced at the beginning of the play, and the unbearable shame he later experiences as he witnesses Jimmie's display of cowardice at the Legion, comply with a psychological structure common among shame-based families comprising alcoholic parents.17 The role of the Hero/Impostor in which Jimmie is cast by his father is typical for the first born child of parents in dire need of self-esteem enhancement.18 As psychologist Stanley D. Wilson suggests, the heroic achievements assigned to the son seek "to provide a feeling of worth to parents who feel like failures [and] represent an attempt to cure the family of the shame sick-ness. "19 Consequently, it emerges that Jim's attitude towards Jimmie stems from the former's own embedded sense of shame. Although Fruet does not provide his audience with the characterological background necessary to unearth the roots of the family's mortification, the depiction of Jim's current behaviour leaves little doubt that he is a character gnawed by shame.20 His inclination toward seclusion does not come as a surprise then, for shame is defined as an "experience of feeling exposed [which] results in a compelling need to hide [and] causes us to feel psychologically isolated, afraid of further contact, afraid of further exposure [emphasis added]".21 Therefore, Jim's fabrication of Jimmie as the honourable heroic son appears as yet another barrier, albeit an ineffective one, that the old man Page 113 erects between himself and the world to avoid further exposure.22 Moreover, Jim establishes a figurative link between Jeanie's shameful pregnancy and the world out there. "Aye she's been about more than we imagined, " he tells Mary, "a regular little woman of the world [...] I've travelled half the world and I know the kind of women that take up with men the way she did" (Fruet 309). For Jim, the world looms as a wicked environ-ment whose strident shaming attacks must be shut out. It is worth mentioning that this segment of the play, in which Jim's views on the malevolence of the world are brought to bear on Mary, begins with his vehement complaining about the "damn cold wind out there, " and ends on his retreating to his cherished corner where he seeks refuge in whisky and a bagpipe tune (Fruet 3 08-312) . The dialectic between the forbidding exterior and the safe interior where one can withdraw from the world is rendered tangible, here, through the contrasting images of the bitter winter wind and the nook. In Chapter X, we will see that this dichotomy is in keeping with a common interpretation of the Canadian imagination, often abridged in the term "garrison mentality," following Northrop Frye's famous phrasing.23 Incidentally, the fact that Jim comes up with his opportune solution to the drama as he is ensconced in his alcove, where Sandy joins him in the next scene and convinces him of Jeanie's redeemability, suggests an ironic reversal of the Shakespearean process of pastoral rejuvenation, labelled the "green world" by Frye.24 In Wedding in White, it is not a sojourn in the forest that resolves dilemmas but withdrawal into the penetralia of the Page 114 house. The cluster of dramaturgic images and figures associated with Sandy is very similar to that related to Jim, although the former's is much sparser. Like Jim, Sandy works as a prison guard. He too displays a proclivity for segregation, rejecting Hattie and Barnie as he declares, "this is supposed to be a club for servicemen only!" (Fruet 268). He follows Jim to the cellar for his drinking bout, and shares Jim's opinions about honour. For Sandy, as for Jim, the rape of Jeanie, in itself, is not the actual cause of disgrace. Rather, as Sandy says, "the shame's that it could ever happen in the house of such a fine honourable man [emphasis added]" — a veritable desecration of Jim's sanctuary (Fruet 315). Most importantly, Sandy proves his allegiance to the figurative constitution of the winner by performing the literal assimilation of Jeanie into the secluding unit, pushing her into the room and slamming the door shut behind them. This image of Jeanie accepting to be made prisoner for the pleasure of Sandy and Jim remains the most potent emblem of Fruet's ironic look at life in the prairies. In contrast with these images of segregation, inward withdrawal and seclusion, the figures associated with the losing camp betoken frustrated aspirations regarding the external world. This is most evident in the case of Jimmie, whose only dream was to go abroad on active duty. His failed outward yearning is the sole issue that manages to reach the core of his persona beyond the fagade of the strong, high-spirited son that he displays to humour his father. Only when mention is made by Page 115 a legion patron of his not going overseas does "his clownish mood switch to sober hostility" (Fruet 265) . For a short moment, Jimmie tries to maintain the image of the heroic son, even emulating his father's segregationist attitude, telling Hattie and Barnie to "get the hell out of here" (Fruet 268). But, when his confrontation with the bully shatters his guise, he starts speaking in his own words and, thence, turns his banishing command against himself. "Let's get the hell out of here!" he says to put an end to the humiliating situation (Fruet 269). As much as his father wants to hide inside, Jimmie wants to escape outside of this milieu bound by honour. But his escape from the premises of his discomfiture only magnifies his debasement in the next segment, for he remains entrapped in the role imposed by the father. As pointed out above, Jimmie tries to re-enact the previous scene at home, this time putting himself in the aggressor's role. Again, Jimmie attempts to mirror Jim's behaviour by expelling someone from his realm. But by victimising his father's friend Sandy, whom he orders, "Go-waan, take your beer with you," Jimmie again betrays his inability to satisfy Jim's expectations, and as a result, once again, imposes banishment upon himself. He climbs upstairs, whimpering "soooorry" as he leaves the stage permanently (Fruet 271-2) . Jimmie's running away from Jim's home epitomizes the failure of the character, and operates as a metaphor for his annihilation. As Price argues, in ironic metastatic-positive drama, "for the antagonists, suicide or banishment often ends Page 116 the struggle" (Price 192). Significantly, the escapist solution that Jimmie opts for conveys the connotation of ignominious retreat associated with both suicide and banishment. Jimmie's behaviour, perhaps more than that of any other character, bares the two complementary notions that the antagonists attach to the exterior world. On the one hand, it evokes an imaginary universe filled with adventures for the brave. On the other hand, it functions as a nondescript cloak engulfing the escapist coward, whose inability to live in the rule-ridden house of the father propels him outwards without, however, affording the fulfilment of his wish for true freedom. The embitterment ensuing from Jimmie's inability to go to the front is augmented by the fact that he perceives his "domestic" job in the army-supply stores as a potential object of ridicule (Fruet 266-7). This rather unmanly position, which makes of him "the only guy who knows where the hell anything is in this place" (Fruet 266), draws a clear parallel between him and his mother, who, as the stereotypical woman of the home, is the only person to know where anything is in the household.25 There is much affinity between mother and son. Like Jimmie, Mary is compelled to reproduce the segregationist behaviour of her husband, when she must expel Sarah from her house in the penultimate scene, following the latter's insulting words against the Dougals. But, as is the case for her son, this conduct visibly clashes with her own desire. Immediately after having rejected her friend, "covering her face, [Mary] crosses quickly to the sofa where she sobs quietly [. . . ] The old woman Page 117 blows her nose a few times and collects her composure" (Fruet 322-3) . Also like her son, Mary once dreamed of experiencing the outside world. As a young woman, she had fantasized about a first night of love where "there really will be fine music like in the pictures. And everything will be wonderful" (Fruet 311). Instead, her first sexual contact took the form of a rape, as Jim forced himself upon her on her small bed in the house where she worked as a maid. For her daughter she had envisioned a flamboyant wedding reception in a grand hotel. But her husband has decreed otherwise, and she is forbidden from inviting a single guest outside of his closed circle of friends (Fruet 319) . The only modest exposure she savours is "all the clapping and cheers" at a Legion reception organized to award Jim a com-memorative plaque. However, this rare moment of societal enjoyment is almost denied her by Jim, as his own fear of exposure leads him to refuse to prepare an acceptance speech (Fruet 282, 293). Ever since their youth, it seems, Jim has rebuffed all of Mary's attempts to discover life outside of his exiguous perimeter. Like Jimmie, Mary is condemned to insure the tidiness of the inside while dreaming of escaping to the outside, the only difference being that Mary does it with more courage. Initially, Billy's connection to the outside seems less distinct than that of Jimmie and Mary, since all his attention is oriented towards Dollie rather than towards the world out Page 118 there. But, in fact, Billy is perhaps more closely linked to the exterior than the other characters, for he is the only outsider in this prairie drama, speaking "in a broken harsh Newfoundland accent" (Fruet 248) . In the first scene, Billy asserts this connection by displaying or referring to tokens of the outside world, such as the brooches he promises Jeanie and the por-nographic pictures he shows Jim (Fruet 254, 257). His immediate interest in the externally attractive Dollie, who "is well developed physically and covered in an array of cheap jewel-lery, " corroborates an attachment to the signs of outward radiance analogous to that of Mary (Fruet 257). The scenic arrangement of Billy's pivotal approach toward Dollie also provides a figurative enactment of this outward inclination, as he is seen traversing the set to meet her off-stage right, completely opposite Jim's seclusive sanctuary, stage left (Fruet 276-7). But Billy's off-stage encounter with Dolly ends in fiasco and, through the first act, he is compelled to remain within Jim's circle — the house and the Legion Club — though he would much rather go out to meet the girls (Fruet 262). This failure to fulfil his outward attraction aligns him with Jimmie and Mary, and, as is the case for Jimmie, the last image that Billy leaves behind, after his flight, is not that of a hero conquering the world and its women, but that of a recreant vanishing into the indifference of a prairie landscape. Like the other antagonists, Sarah is futilely drawn outside of Jim's and Sandy's vicinity. In her case, the escapist alter-native is offered by memories of her late husband. "If Harry Page 119 were still alive he'd not be down there [in the cellar]," she claims. "He was a gentleman." (Fruet 294). But Sarah's nostalgic escape is illusory, for her husband, hardly a gentleman, used to drink and beat her up (Fruet 296). Sarah, like Jimmie and Billy, does not remain trapped inside Jim's quarters. But, like the young men, as well as Hattie and Bernie, her movement towards the exterior is clearly associated with failure. She is seen twice leaving the Dougal house alone, engulfed by the cold night air: once because Sandy is too drunk to drive her home; another time, as she is expelled by Mary, whose forced seclusion is as dreadful as the former's eviction (Fruet 295, 322). Therefore, the overall image created by the losers is one of dissatisfaction with a narrow, cloistering environment which draws them outwards without affording a positive external substitute. The two apex figures, Jeanie and Dollie, exhibit traits that link them initially to the losers, and ultimately to the winning side. In the first half of the play, Dollie comes across as the embodiment of outwardness. She wears jewellery and excessive make-up, and when she is asked where she will spend the evening she answers, "Could be anywhere..." (Fruet 257, 2 62) . Jeanie, although much more timid and inward than her companion, attempts to copy Dollie. She is delighted at the prospect of having jewellery to compete with her friend, sneaks out of the house to follow Dollie on her nightly spree, and partakes as best she can in the other's teasing act (Fruet 254, 2 62, 273-7). The rape of Jeanie consummates the mimicry as she is equated to her friend, at least in Billy's perverted mind. Page 120 Following the rape, a significant change transpires as it is now Dollie who starts resembling Jeanie. In Act Two, scene one, Dollie enters complaining, for the first time, about her father's restrictive house rules: "God what a time I had getting out tonight! You'd think I was some little kid! [...] My father says if I don't get a job soon, he's kicking me out — yuk yuk!" (Fruet 2 85-6). Although, in this scene, Dollie still behaves in a far more vigorous way than Jeanie, her relationship with her father clearly echoes and even foreshadows Jeanie's. The metamorphosis is completed in Act Three, scene four, when "Dollie wearing some of her mother's clothes enters" Jim's house for the wedding reception (Fruet 325) . Having replaced her flashy clothes and jewellery with ostensibly old-fashion garments, Dollie not only mirrors Jeanie, who is wearing a second-hand wedding dress, but also displays her allegiance to the traditional role of women. The transformation of the imagery associated with Dollie corresponds to the diphasic structure of the play, personifying initially the outward attraction as-sociated with Billy's desire, but ultimately assuming the inward persona of the compliant girl. A similar transformation, from outbound temptation to inbound resignation, also befalls Jeanie. But in her case, the change occurs at a precise moment. In Act Three, scene one, after Jim has decreed her eviction, Jeanie utters her only wish of the play; a wish which is, in fact, purely negative (or ironic): "I don't ever want to go away" she tells her mother as she bursts into sobs (Fruet 3 07). After this moment, which marks Page 121 the turning point of the ironic metastatic-positive drama, Jeanie resumes her nonchalant behaviour, but now she embraces the convictions of the winners. When she is presented with her soiled white wedding gown, she reacts according to expectations: "Oh, it's beautiful. See mom?" (Fruet 324). And, unlike her mother, she is allowed to invite a friend, Dollie, to the ceremony, for they have both been annexed to Jim's sanctuary. As we see, there is a manifest opposition between the seclusive and constrictive imagery attached to the protagonists, and the figurative allusions to outward aspirations deployed by the antagonists. The dialectic of imagery thus augments the connotative meaning of a dialectic of action that displays, in almost purely vectorial terms, conflicts between motions seeking to entrap and motions aimed at breaking out. After having deci-phered this symbolical structure in Wedding in White, it is now possible to abstract an implicational dialectic that will epitomize in the form of conceptual doublets the tensions at the core of the drama. As Price puts it, "this next task involves searching out the most appropriate antinomies to describe the play's dominant and recessive poles, its wishful and fearful motives" (Price 95). Implicational Dialectic: Our primary objective at this stage of analysis is thus to encapsulate in distinctive dichotomic terms the drama's action and counteraction. As indicated in previous sections, this procedure will allow us to identify recurrent patterns in the Page 122 corpus of film-mediated drama by spotlighting the basic dialec-tical structures of the various texts analyzed. To this end, rather than extending an exhaustive inventory of quasi-universal antinomies that would more than likely reappear in countless plays, I will limit the list of implicational dichotomies to those specific doublets whose crucial significance in the drama is clearly evidenced by the previous analysis. From the outset, it is apparent that such broad dichotomies as Male/Female, Age/Youth, Courage/Cowardice and Lust/Love are not particularly helpful in the context of this study, for they embrace too wide a range of dramatic texts. Furthermore, they do not strictly apply in the case of Wedding in White, for charac-ters from both sides share some of these traits. For instance, there are males on both ends of the dialectic, and the notion of age does not accurately discriminate between winners and losers. However, there are some implicational antinomies that do offer accurate and distinctive abstractions of the dialectic of action and imagery diagnosed in the inquiry conducted previously. I would argue that the most momentous among these dicho-tomies is the couple Afferent-withdrawal/Efferent-escape. This doublet sharply summarizes the central conflict between the inward pull performed by the protagonists and the outward resis-tance of the antagonists. Indeed, the seclusive actions and imagery that characterize Jim, Sandy and their acolytes find an eloquent abstraction in the term "afferent-withdrawal," for it connotes both the inward movement and the segregationist26 attitude that has been illustrated earlier. On the other hand, Page 123 the expression "efferent-escape," by signifying both a discharg-ing drive and an escapist tendency, appropriately qualifies Jimmy's, Mary's and the other antagonists' outward desire that never finds fulfilment. As demonstrated above, the apex figures temporarily oscillate between these two poles, but they even-tually surrender to the afferent force that traps them inside. The compound Afferent-withdrawal/Efferent-escape is preferred, here, to the broader semantic doublet Imprisonment/-Freedom for many reasons. First, the former antinomy expresses far more precisely than the latter the clashing forces of centripetal recoil and external attraction at work in Wedding in White. Second, and ensuing from this initial point, the Afferent-withdrawal/Efferent-escape couple, being more focused in its description of the dialectic than Imprisonment/Freedom, is less likely to reappear in a myriad of works. This makes its potential recurrence in the corpus all the more meaningful. Finally, it could be argued that the personages in Fruet's play all remain somewhat imprisoned and never truly achieve freedom; the difference between the protagonists and antagonists stems from the fact that, while the former value and support this state of imprisonment, the latter wish, but fail, to replace it with a positive external substitute. Again, Afferent-with-drawal /Efferent-escape appears as the more appropriate antinomy, for rather than alluding to Freedom, a fait accompli that is never actually accomplished, it refers to an escapist motive that does not translate into an achieved goal. Several other dialectical pairings could be listed to Page 124 abridge the conflict of Wedding in White, such as Stubborn-ness/Flexibility, Intolerance/Tolerance, Narrow-mindedness/Open-mindedness, Dominance/Submission, Firmness/Flaccidity, Self-assertion/ Self-effacement and Authority/Servility, all of which abbreviate faithfully enough the qualitative features of the drama's bipolarity. For instance, the authority/servility doublet condenses clearly the two poles represented by Jim and Mary, the former constantly imposing his views on the latter, who silently obeys. Similarly, the stubbornness/flexibility dichotomy pointedly describes Jim's and Mary's contrasting responses to Jeanie's pregnancy. But while these general descriptors are potentially indicative of Fruet's perspective on the predicament of his prairie characters,27 they do not trans-late any particularly consequential aspects of the text, for they apply cogently only to some of the personages. Flexibility, for example, pertains but marginally to Jimmie, who displays this quality only when he agrees to go to the Legion with his father. These doublets, therefore, reflect certain facets of the strife, but do not shed much light on the dynamics at work in the play. There are two other qualitative couples, however, that extend valuable insight into the motivational opposition at the core of Wedding in White. One of them is the binary Contentment /Discontent, which captures the essence of the conflicting temperamental inclina-tions emblematic of each side of the strife. Indeed, while Sandy and Jim are easily contented with their circumscribed existen-ces, all the antagonists hanker for external gratifications that Page 125 they cannot achieve. This dichotomy is important to note, for the contentment that distinguishes the protagonists is in-strumental in their eventual assimilation of the apex figures. The apex figures, as Price informs us, usually share "qualities that render [them] vulnerable to the functional unit to which [they] finally move [...]" (Price 264). The character traits shared by Jeanie and Dollie being nonchalance, noninvolvement, noncommitment, etc., the two girls are naturally won over by the faction that offers them facile contentment, rather than by the clan perpetually afflicted by the inaccessibility of their ideal "out there". Not surprisingly, following the resolution adopted by Jim and Sandy concerning the wedding, Jeanie's "whole attitude is once again relaxed and lazy" (Fruet 318) . As stated before, the panic that overwhelms her immediately prior to the arrangement is converted into heedless contentment as soon as the marriage is settled. Even if this contentment rhymes with confinement, it is still more closely aligned with the trifling disposition of the apex figures than is the frustrated efferent yearning of the discontented antagonists. The choice of the terms "contentment" and "discontent" for this focal dichotomy could probably be challenged on semantic grounds. The pairing pleasure/displeasure, for instance, might be considered as a more appropriate description of the charac-ters' respective penchants. But regardless of the specific words selected, the opposition implied by this doublet remains a key point of reference in our understanding of the drama, for it affords a condensed rationale for the dialectical shift in terms Page 126 of a central affinity between the winners and the apex figures, whom they appropriate in the end. The other salient doublet is Defence of honour/Rejection of honour, which distinguishes emphatically between the attitude of the protagonists and that of the antagonists in terms of their conception of social propriety and acceptable rules of conduct. But, as the preceding analysis evinces, the conventionally positive overtone associated with the word "honour" acquires, here, negative connotations, conveying a sense of repression aimed at protecting the self against exposure. Rather, it is the notion of rejection of honour that stands for life-affirming values. Mary phrases this opposition in evocative terms when she states, "I no understand [sic], I guess. A wee baby ... hon-our...," abdicating before Jim's intransigence (Fruet 312). Yet, this same rejection of honour also leads to the rape of Jeanie by Billy. As such, this doublet corroborates Fruet's highly ironic attitude towards his material. On the one hand, it implies that, while Jim's and Sandy's set of principles offers them an effective means of maintaining control over their cir-cumstances, their actions are overdetermined by rigid codes of behaviour that preclude more constructive solutions, and lead them to turn in on themselves rather than envisioning novel alternatives. On the other hand, the rejection of honour peculiar to the antagonists conveys a greater flexibility toward heterodox behaviours, but also connotes the lack of a body of restrictive convictions necessary to dictate a workable sub-stitute for the misguided settlements contrived by the protagon-Page 127 ists. This dichotomy effectively translates the social framework that regulates the outcome of the drama. Therefore, the three main implicational dichotomies singled out here, provide us with the three principal axes that define the specific dialectical composition of Wedding in White. First, the opposite motivating wishes of each side, that is, the unfulfilled desire of the antagonists to realize a positive efferent-escape in reaction to the afferent-withdrawal success-fully managed by the protagonists. Second, the key charac-teriological attitude of contentment that ultimately aligns the protagonists with the apex figures against the discontented an-tagonists. Finally, the social edifice of honour defended by the protagonists, which silences the rejection of honour of the antagonists, but which also suffers the ironic criticism of the author. As pointed out before, several other doublets could be added. But these are the ones that appear as most representative of Fruet's composition. Conclusion: The foregoing analysis has allowed us to funnel the dramaturgical data deployed in Wedding in White into increasing-ly focused planes of dialectical opposition. From the general structure of action, which determined the broad categories of protagonist, antagonist and apex figure, we moved on to es-tablish a dialectic of imagery ascribing symbolical meaning to the conflicting actions performed by each group, and finally we Page 128 isolated epitomic doublets that highlight certain fundamental implications of the drama. Through this procedure, it has been demonstrated that the actions of the main protagonist, Jim — from his warm welcome of Jimmie into his house to his marrying Jeanie to Sandy, which draws in the peripheral apex figure — all symbolize his desire to preserve watertight quarters that seclusively contain all that he values and shut out all that he fears and despises. Conversely, the aspirations of the antagonists — from Billy's effort to seduce Dollie to Mary's planning of her daughter's wedding ceremony in a grandiose hotel and Jimmie's longing to be shipped abroad — all translate their attraction toward the external world, but their actions never lead to the fulfilment of their wish. As for the neutral characters, at the top of the triangular configuration, their ambivalent desire leads them first outwards, but soon pulls them back into the cloistered unit of the protagonists. It has also been shown that, in the concise terms of the implicational dialectic, the conflict of Wedding in White can be described on the basis of three abstract pairings, namely, the fundamental objective that motivates the clashing actions — Afferent-withdrawal/Efferent-escape — the conflicting outlook of the characters facing their circumstances — Con-tentment/Discontent — and the societal ideology that dictates the end of the drama — Defence of honour/Rejection of honour. The identification of these quintessential aspects of Fruet's play will allow us to discern a central recurrence in the Page 129 corpus, as it will be shown that the Afferent-withdrawal/-Efferent-escape antinomy provides a germane qualitative descrip-tion to epitomize the bipolarities of all the dramas analyzed. Moreover, although the afferent-withdrawal option might involve utterly negative consequences, the efferent-escape alternative appears, in all these plays, as an impossibility for the focal characters. Whether they are like timid Jeanie from Wedding in White or, as we shall observe in the next chapter, like the bold Helene of Dube's Les Beaux Dimanches. these personages always yield to the afferent force. Page 13 0 NOTES 1- William Fruet, Wedding in White, in Modern Canadian Drama, ed. Richard Plant (Markham [Ont.]: Penguin Books, 1984) 246-332. Subsequent references to this work in this chapter will appear within parentheses in the text, except when additional comments require notes. 2' Thomas Price, Dramatic Structure and Meaning in Theatrical Productions (San Francisco: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992) 192. Subsequent references to this work in this chapter will appear within parentheses in the text. Peter Crossley, Winnipeg Free Press, 10 May 1973; rpt. in L.W. Conolly ed., Canadian Drama and the Critics (Vancouver: Talon-books, 1987) 85. 4' Piers Handling, "Bill Fruet: 2 or 3 things...," Cinema Canada 40 (Sept. 1977): 45. 5" The satisfaction that Jim and Sandy draw from the former's opportunistic solution is manifested in the festive mood that concludes the scene in which the decision is made (Fruet 316-7) . 6' See, for instance, Fruet 322-3, in which Jeanie's indifference is contrasted to Sarah's sincere attachment to Sandy. 7' Stage direction: "Her whole attitude is once again relaxed and lazy" (Fruet 318). 8' Dollie explains that her role is not to desire but to respond to men's desire. She tells Jeanie that, once you have learned "that all guys want that [,] you just gotta make up your mind who you're givin and who you're not" (Fruet 286). 9' This substantiates Price's observation that "when, as often happens, the apex unit contains several contested figures, the latter all eventually shift to the dominant column" (Price 185). Jimmie explains the authorities' refusal to send him abroad in these terms: "You know what that prick of a sarge tells me? "Dougal, you're the only guy who knows where the hell anything is in this place ..." Sure! [...] That's what I get for doing my Page 131 job so well..." (Fruet 266). Jimmie later explains his failure at the Legion as follows: "You wanna know why I didn't kick the crap out of that guy dad? Ca...Cause that's all it would mean . . . that's all! Woulda been the end of it! I come home on leave...to see you an mom....an they throw me in the jug. That what you want? Huh?!" (Fruet 272). ' Fruet states clearly, in a stage direction, Mary's antagonis-tic position following this argument: "Mary rises, drained of any further fight. It's probably the first time the old woman has stood up to Jim in all the years of their marriage, and she has lost" (Fruet 312). " This is in keeping with Price's notion that "a play's dynamic pattern can only be ascertained by comparing the initial and final commitments of each character relative to the conflict's bi-polarity [Price's emphasis]," any temporary movement to the opposite side being cancelled by a subsequent return to the starting point (Price 49). " These characters appear in Act I, sc. iii and Act III, sc. iv. ' James Leach, "Second Images: Reflections on the Canadian Cinema(s) in the Seventies," Take Two. ed. Seth Feldman (To-ronto: Irwin Publisher, 1984) 109. ' On Jim's strictness regarding Jeanie's comings and goings see Fruet 262, 285, 303. For references to the dog see Fruet 260-1. ' Fruet, 312-317. See also Jim's own version of the events that led to the wedding: "...one day my Jeanie comes to me and she says %Dad, I Love Sandy' [...] NNow Sandy,' I says, ^it's true you're a few years older than my lass, but! I know the man that you are too. I know you'll treat my Jeanie right ... an them's the things that's important to me!'" (p.327-8). 17' On Jim's shameful experience at the Legion see stage direction page 269: "Jim is unable to hide his shame and disappointment as he just looks to Jimmie." On alcoholic families see Sharon Wegscheider, Another Chance: Hope & Health for the Alcoholic Family (Palo Alto: Science and Behaviour Books, 1981) 104-15. Sharon Wegscheider uses the word "Hero". Other psychologists, like Stanley D. Wilson, use the term "Impostor" to label the same paradigm. See Wilson, Rising Above Shame: Healing Family Page 132 Wounds to Self Esteem (Rockville: Launch Press, 1991) 138-40. Wilson, 138-9. • Unlike other contemporary plays such as Walker's Sacktown Racr (1972) and French's Of the Fields. Lately (1973), in which events of the past are enacted or narrated to illuminate the source of the characters' shame, Wedding in White makes very few significant references to past family experiences. 21' Wilson, 7-8. See also Michael Lewis, who writes, in Shame: The Exposed Self (New York: The Free Press/Macmillan, 1992), that "shame represents a global attack on the self," and that "the phenomenological experience of the person having shame is that of a wish to hide, disappear, or die" (p.75). ' It could be argued that Jimmie's very name attests to Jim's negation of an independent existence for his son, outside of his role as a mask of strength and pride for his father to wear. 23"Northrop Frye, "Conclusion to a Literary History of Canada," in The Bush Garden: Essays on the Canadian Imagination (Toronto: Anansi, 1971) 225. • See, for instance, Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (New Jersey: Princeton UP, 1957) 182-3. 25' For a parallel with Mary's function in the household see Fruet, 281. "Jim: Tip! Where the devil are my medals?? [...] Mary: They're in where they should be! With your cuff links in the top drawer!" 26" According to Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary the verb "segregate" is synonymous with "withdraw." 27" One of the potential functions of the implicational dialectic is to provide a key to discern the author' s perspective on his/her material: "Our descriptive reduction of the text's argument therefore constitutes an abstraction of the authorial self and 'anti-self,' the wished-for and dreaded attributes, as these interior adversaries have become reified in the fantasy's action and counteraction" (Price 62). Page 133 CHAPTER IV. LES BEAUX DIMANCHES1 Synopsis: Location and Time: A sumptuous house in a suburb of Montreal, on a beautiful summery Sunday, in the mid-1960s. Act I: On the morning following an intemperate party, Helene Primeau argues with her husband, Victor, about the barrenness of their socialite lifestyle. During the argument, their daughter, Dominique, returns home from a night out with her boyfriend, Etienne. Her presence aggravates the feud between the parents, who blame each other for her unruly behaviour without realizing that she has problems of her own: she is pregnant and, under Etienne's insistence, has agreed to have an abortion. The quarrel ceases when, to Victor's delight and Helene's dismay, the guests from the previous soiree — Evelyn and her husband, Paul; Omer, Angeline and their son, Rodolphe; Olivier and Muriel — show up to launch another drinking spree. From the outset, it appears that some guests share Helene's resistance to the idea of another fete. But those who wish to party, mainly Paul, Angeline and Muriel, impose their will on the others. Act II, scene i: In the afternoon, a lively Victor enter-tains his petty bourgeois friends, while Helene partakes begrudgingly in the idle conversations of the group. Scene ii: By seven at night, nothing has happened except that the guests have become much drunker, and are now flirting with each other's spouses. Fed up with the boozing and philandering, Helene leaves Victor's house. But her departure is overshadowed by Angeline, Page 134 who performs a strip-tease to Victor's great pleasure. Act III: By ten o'clock, Victor's temper has changed drastically, for Helene has not reappeared and he fears that she might be with another man. In their boisterous mood, Muriel, Paul and Angeline go on a search party in the neighbourhood, with the ostensible purpose of finding Helene. Victor, upset and worried, joins them, but soon returns empty-handed. Upon Helene's belated arrival home, he brutally questions her on her whereabouts. She admits that she went to see her lover and came back only because she could not find him. Devastated by this confession, Victor promises to redeem their marriage. But Helene ignores him, and retreats to her bedroom. After having vainly sought comfort with Dominique, Victor withdraws pitifully to the basement. Preliminaries to the Analysis: From this overview of Les Beaux Dimanches. we can detect, immediately, the principal conflict of the work, namely, the opposition between the self-made man, Victor, and his weary wife, Helene, which manifests itself in the squabbles that both open and close Dube's text. But the fact that through most of the play nothing much happens, other than the flirting and drinking of Victor and his friends, might give the impression that this is a rather non-dramatic piece, deprived of sig-nificant dialectical movements, and merely drawing a static picture of a given milieu. Theatre scholar Jean Cleo Godin, for one, has argued that the loosely-knit succession of tableaux Page 135 depicting the trivial activities of these blase professionals amounts to little more than "une fresque sans grande coherence."2 However, if we pay close attention to the dramatic progression of the central male figure, even as abridged in this synopsis, we can recognize a distinct dialectical shift that traverses the apparently static construction of the work. Indeed, Victor's situation in the bipolar organization of Les Beaux Dimanches changes markedly between the two disputes that frame the drama. From the cheerful and carefree mood that he exhibits before his friends in the first two acts, Victor becomes increasingly distressed and agitated in Act Three until, in the end, he collapses before his wife, begging her to stay with him. Therefore, from a state of gratification, Victor moves gradually towards a condition of discomfiture. Meanwhile, the other characters all remain anchored in their initial position. Although Helene deserting Victor's house in Act Two is one of the rare meaningful events that occur during the party, it is of no avail for Helene herself, since, after having wandered in her aseptic neighbourhood for hours, she finally returns home in the penultimate scene to resume her quarrelsome relationship with her husband. Helene thus lingers in the same dejected unit from beginning to end. Similarly, as we shall see later, Dominique, Olivier, Evelyn and Omer, whose dissatisfaction with their existences parallels Helene's, also enter the stage in Act One in the same state of malaise as they leave it in Act Three. On the other hand, the rowdy Paul, Muriel and Angeline, whose mirth persists in spite of Victor's fading Page 136 spirits, stay in their frolicsome camp throughout the play. Only Victor passes from one condition to the other. Thus, Les Beaux Dimanches comprises a single movement from the dominant to the recessive side, hence adopting the apostatic-negative configuration.3 To elucidate this structure, we shall approach the dialectic of action by comparing the two conjugal wrangles that delimit Victor's transformation in the drama, for it is between these two extremes that the dynamic of the text is articulated.4 Dialectic of Action: The introductory dispute between Helene and Victor begins as the former summons the latter to help her tidy up the mess from the previous party. But Victor, busy attempting to cure his hangover with a beer, responds to her request in a typically chauvinistic manner: "c'est pas du travail d'homme" (Dube 23). The ensuing polemic sets forth the two primary poles of the dialectic, to wit, Helene's desire to escape the hollow environ-ment in which she feels trapped, and Victor's wish to savour sensual gratification in the sheltered universe that he has created for himself. At the outset