Since moving to Montreal from Ontario in 1981, Marianne Ackerman has played an active role on the city’s cultural scene.
As co-founder of THEATRE 1774 and artistic director, she wrote and directed plays about Montreal’s founding myths, the dynamic tangle of linguistic and social threads that give this place its fusion flavour of tension and joy.
Inspired by historical incidents, L’Affaire Tartuffe (1993) and Venus of Dublin (Centaur Theatre, 2000) tackled the struggles of a frontier society to break free from colonial domination.
Her new plays, Triplex Nervosa Trilogy, are multi-generational comedies about life, love and making music in Mile End, the creative heart of contemporary Montreal.
THREE NEW PLAYS
Triplex Nervosa was born of a frenzied mood, near the end of a two-month long Christmas holiday. The precarious state of world affairs collided with my personal creative woes. While I typed, people around me made toast, drank tea, moaned about the weather.
Night. A woman and a man, young, stand outside a three- storey apartment building on Jeanne Mance Street, Montreal. He speaks first, in a thick East European accent. The tone is conspiratorial.
So you want me to kill him. — No. — Hurt him. — Well. — Pain. — Inconvenience. — Damage. — Whatever it takes to get him out. — Damage he can feel and see. — No! — Invisible? — Yes. — Invisible damage is expensive. Tass Nazor has abandoned a promising career as a cellist to buy a triplex.
She’s in over her head, swamped by renovations, squeezed by tenants who won’t pay market rents: a womanizing Frenchman on the second floor, a morose producer grieving the death of his son on the third. The seller, Rebb Klein, Hassidic father of many daughters, won’t finish the repairs he agreed to make as part of the sale. Handyman Rakie means well, but he’s falling in love with Tass, which makes him an unreliable accomplice. Meanwhile, in the real world, the mortgage and stock market crisis of 2008 is whipping international capitalism into a tailspin. People like Tass could be wiped out in a flash.
Excerpted from Where Do Plays Come From? Where Do They Go? Introduction to Triplex Nervosa Trilogy, Guernica Editions, spring 2020.
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