Legault, Anne

Anne Legault, actress, playwright, novelist, short-story writer, teacher (b at Lachine, Qué 7 July 1958). Anne Legault began her career acting in children's theatre and television after completing her studies at the Conservatoire d'art dramatique in Montréal in 1981. She turned her attention to writing in 1984.

While her plays sometimes deal with key events in recent Québec history, their universal themes transcend local culture; several of her plays have been translated into English and performed in New York. Her innovative use of anti-realistic and postmodern stage techniques, her emotionally charged use of language, and her creation of interesting women protagonists make her an important figure in late 20th-century Québec theatre.

Six Legault plays were produced in Montréal theatres between 1984 and 1994. Les ailes ou La maison cassée (1985) presents three sisters returning to their childhood home, now empty but for their emotional memories of their mother. La visite des sauvages (1986, trans Jill MacDougall), for which Anne Legault was awarded the Governor General's Literary Award for French-language drama, imagines a dying Viviane's return in time (guided by an angel) to the place where she was conceived so that she can observe the complicated circumstances surrounding her birth.

Beginning in 1990, Anne Legault wrote a series of plays that represented real people on the stage. First it was the signatories of the revolutionary manifesto Refus Global in a play entitled Signer (1988). Then it was O'Neill (1990), in which we see the Irish-American playwright Eugene O'Neill struggling with the text and protagonists of his autobiographical play, Long Day's Journey into Night.

Conte d'hiver '70 (1992) presents the lives of ordinary Québecers who are suddenly caught up in the drama of the 1970 October Crisis. La balance (1996), based on Shakespeare's Henry V, was Legault's contribution to the collective project organized by Yvan Bienvenue for writing short dramatic monologues inspired by Shakespeare's plays. La mémoire de Rhéa, staged by the Théâtre du Trident in 1994, explored Legault's familiar themes of family, memory, and death.

Working with translator Daniel Libman, Legault had O'Neill and a play about author Virginia Woolf and accused murderer Alma Rattenbury, entitled Alma and Mrs Woolf : An Imaginary Encounter, produced in New York in 2000 and 2003 respectively. Through her various performing and literary activities, Legault has become a familiar figure on the Montréal cultural scene.