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Sqrieux-de-Dieu, a stage play

SYNOPSIS ... PRODUCTIONS ... REVIEWS ... ABOUT THE PLAY ... BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Synopsis

Sqrieux-de-Dieu, bearing a nonsensical title that's a heck of a lot of fun to pronounce (skroo-de-doo), is a comedy about love, sex and relationships. Taking place in the 1970s, and satirizing the middle-class suburbia of Vancouver's west end, Sqrieux is filled with Betty's lyrical wit. Brenda and George are in a marriage that appears to be stagnating, despite Brenda's best attempts to add some spice. George is having an affair with Gracie, who by the end of the play makes a surprising deal with Brenda: they switch places. A virginal hippie, an infatuated student and Brenda's mother round out the cast.

Sqrieux-de-Dieu was the hit of the 1976 Quebec Festival Lennoxville. The last word of the title was changed in Lennoxville to read Sqrieux-de-Deux, "because somebody might have taken offence to a word meaning God being part of a nonsense title," Betty explained.

Robert Haley & Lally Cadeau

Theatrical Productions

1. The New Play Centre, Vancouver East Cultural Centre, August 20, 1975.

Directed by Richard Ouzounian
Designed by David Fischer
Costumes by Ann Halle
Gracie
Susan Wright
George
Michael Ball
Gramma
Maggie Askey
Ms. Bunny Flyntton
Daphne Goldrick
Francis
David Glyn-Jones
Nelson
Mario Crudo
Susan
Sharon Kirk
Brenda
Lally Cadeau

cast

 

2. Festival Lennoxville, Quebec, July 9, 1976.

Directed by Richard Ouzounian

Designed by Michael Eagan
Lighting Design by Douglas Buchanan
Costumes by Susan Hall
Gracie
Anne Anglin
George
Robert Haley
Gramma
Maggie Askey
Ms. Bunny Flyntton
Heather Tod
Francis
William Dunlop
Nelson
Robert Owen
Susan
Laurie Waller
Brenda
Lally Cadeau

 

3. Many subsequent productions, including off-Broadway in New York.

Reviews

"A nasty play about nice people...Quite a funny comedy."
     -Bob Allen, The Vancouver Province

"A triumph of heterosexual smut...A dirty play that also happens to be good clean fun."
     -Jamie Portman, The Calgary Herald

"Lambert has written not only a play that is literate and incisive, but also one that is screamingly funny...flawless direction, perfect casting, and the best collective comedy performances seen in years. "
     -Tom Scurfield, The Montreal Gazette

"Lambert's hilarious, tongue-in-cheek romp is a send-up of the popular craze for such kinky sex stimulants as whips, chains, leather, trapezes, vibrators, unguents and the like; of encounter groups; and of keeping the magic alive in a marriage suffering from late 30's-early 40's slump."
     -Myron Galloway, The Montreal Star

"The roots of Lambert's work lay in the black comedy traditions of Edward Albee. Lambert, however, changed the motif to outrageous, hard-hitting, straight hilarity. Rather than a bad imitation of the absurd, Lambert has scored brilliantly by trusting to a comic style linked to her own instincts."
     -Liane Heller, Kitchener-Waterloo Record

"An absolutely hilarious experience...one of the brightest and best-produced comedies to come this way in many a long year...it takes a Betty Lambert to put [this] all together in such a way that they quite literally shock you into explosive laughter."
     -Helen K. Legge, Pointe Claire News & Chronicle

"Cliché Play Warm, Real" (click to read)
     -Kerry Moore

Sqrieux-de-Dieu flyer

About the Play

At the end of an all-night party, Socrates said the springs of tragedy and the springs of comedy are probably the same. Unfortunately, he was too drunk to continue and we are left with that intriguing one-liner. This play does come out of a serious place I was trying to write a couple of years ago. I was writing about a wife who suddenly discovers that her husband has been having an affair for years. But I became bogged down. The wife seemed so earnest to me, so depressingly righteous, that I couldn't help laughing at her pretensions, and for relief, I decided to try to make a comedy out of the same stuff.

If I make fun of particular female failings in this play, it is because I know them well, from personal experience. I too have made earnest attempts at self-improvement, have gone in for "honesty" and "gentleman's agreements"; I too have made a man the centre of my universe, while at the same time trying to be liberated, independent, a New Woman. I too have been afraid of age and wrinkles and death. And I too have decided to go on living in spite of logic. Sqrieux-de-Dieu is a new sort of play for me. I hope it will make people laugh.

-Betty Lambert

Sqrieux-de-Dieu flyer
Ruth Nicol & Terence Kelly

Bibiliography

Lambert, Betty. (1976). Sqrieux-de-Dieu. Vancouver: Talonbooks.

Talonbooks website

Sqrieux-de-Dieu

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