Quebec Studies

Waiting for Prince Charming: Revisions and Deformations of the Cinderella Motif in Contemporary Québec Theater

Quebec Studies (1988), 6, (1), 104–111.


Québec Studies, No. 6,1988 WAITING FOR PRINCE CHARMING: REVISIONS AND DEFORMATIONS OF THE CINDERELLA MOTIF IN CONTEMPORARY QUÉBEC THEATER by Ruth B. Antosh In a study entitled, "Once Upon a Time in Germany: the Brothers Grimm and Beyond," the prominent Germanist Jack Zipes describes the current fascination in West Germany with reworking and revising traditional fairy tales. Zipes hypothesizes that this wave of literary experimentation with new versions of fairy tales is "closely tied to questions of German identity and nationalism." Since traditional fairy tales are themselves concerned with the search for self-realization, Zipes' theory seems plausible. He further suggests that another impetus behind the German interest in rewriting fairy tales is the "desire to expose social contradictions and to provoke the readers, the small heroes, to transform society." Although Zipes' theories on fairy tales are strictly limited to German literature, they seem applicable to other literatures in which a fascination with fairy tales and a concern for cultural identity are apparent. Recently, such a phenomenon has manifested itself in Quebec. Such works as Marie-Claire Blais's La Belle Bête (a reworking of Beauty and the Beast), Denise Boucher's Les Fées ont Soif (a debunking of traditional feminist myths), Michel Tremblay's Les Héros de mon Enfance (a parody of Perrault's tales) and Le Grand Cirque Ordinaire's Un Prince mon four Viendra^ (a feminist spoof on the sexism inherent in many fairy tales) are but a few of the numerous literary works based on fairy tales that have appeared over the past two decades in Québec.2 These new versions of old fairy tales upset the expectations of the reader or audience, frequently have a strong political message, and often constitute an attack on the myths or stereotypes presented by traditional fairy tales. One intriguing facet of this interest in rewriting fairy tales is the popularity of the Cinderella story among Québécois playwrights of the 1970s; at least three theatrical works based on this tale were written between 1973 and 1975: Michel Tremblay's Hosanna (1973), Jean Barbeau's Citrouille (1974), and le Show des Femmes de Thetford Mines's collective feminist production Si Cendrillon pou-

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Author details

Antosh, Ruth