The translation residency at La maison de la littérature lives inside me like a delicious dream…

In this dream, I shared an apartment with François Archambault. The apartment had a special white door. When we opened the white door and walked through it, we entered a beautiful, light-filled library. Inside the library, we climbed a wooden spiral staircase. There were large glass-walled offices at the top of the stairs. We could see snow falling all around us and the wind howled across the rooftops as we worked together on the translation of François’s play, Pétrole. The play was going to premiere at Théâtre Jean Duceppe in the fall. We were excited about the future. We ate delicious food in wonderful restaurants. We played hockey with strangers. We went to the theatre and smiled at the people sitting next to us. We went to a hockey game, sat close to the ice, and cheered for both teams. We walked back and forth between the apartment and the library, wearing matching grey slippers. We were happy. 

One night, while a blizzard blanketed everything outside, we went down the spiral staircase. At the bottom of the stairs was a small stage. They gave us each a dressing room. How glamourous! In the dressing room was a mirror. I saw my face – I was beaming. Pétrole had become Paradise in Flames. 

The stages are now all sleeping. Theatre is in an empty library. We are all waiting for the door to open again.

Pétrole is slated to premiere in 2021 at Théâtre Jean Duceppe, if possible.

There will be a staged reading of Paradise in Flames when we’re able to gather again. 

Au sortir de cette résidence, Bobby et François ont levé le voile sur leur collaboration de longue date et ont échangé sur les divers défis posés par la traduction d’une œuvre pour la scène, dont celui, dans le cas de Pétrole, d’imaginer en anglais des voix de personnages américains qui ont d’abord été couchés sur papier en français. La conversation a été animée par Sonya Malaborza, représentante de l’ATTLC pour les provinces de l’Atlantique, et est disponible dans son intégralité en français ci-dessous :