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THEATRE IN FRENCH CANADA: LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS, 1606-1867.

Doucette, Leonard E.

Toronto, University of Toronto Press, c1984.290pp, cloth, $30.00, ISBN 0-8020-5579-6. (University of Toronto Romance Series #57) IS$1NP0082-5336. CIP

Post-Secondary
Reviewed by Philip K. Harber

Volume 13 Number 4
1985 July


Professor Doucette is a researcher in the field of the history of French-Canadian theatre, and this handsome volume is as detailed an historical study of early written threatre and "paratheatre" as is possible, considering the rarity of the historical sources available. By "paratheatre," he means the dramatic activity in dialogue form, usually a vehicle for political satire, in pamphlets and newspaper, such as the Status Quo comedies published in Le Canadien in 1834. The book traces a native theatrical tradition for the secular pageants and religious "actions" of the early colony to the first edition of a play in Canada in 1776, date of Colas et Colinette by Quesnel, and then deals in turn with such dramatic landmarks as Valentine, Griphon, Le jeune Latour, Les anciens Canadiens, La Conversion dun pecheur, Une partie de campagne, and Felix Poutre, all works of some repute in their time, and important to the development of the theatre. The influence of the Church on the theatre throughout this period is shown to be powerful, but not all negative, since its disapproval of professional troupes from France may well have helped the native amateur tradition to mature.


Philip K. Harber, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
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