chapter  11
19 Pages

Drama and the Literacy of Lives in Progress

ByKathleen Gallagher

In 1984 French-Canadian playwright Michel Tremblay wrote an ingenious little play called Albertine in Five Times. It is the story of one life, the life of Albertine, but told at five different times of her life, by five different Albertines: at 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70. The older Albertines know what the younger ones don’t yet know. The younger ones remind the older ones of how different they were in their younger, less cynical and more passionate days. In the play, the five Albertines speak to each other and to their long-dead sister Madeleine. Each has ‘her own story’ but, together, they make a complex single person. It is a revisiting play. And it beautifully illustrates how memory both enlightens and confuses our sense of coherence as evolving individuals.