Playwright, actor, and director Wajdi Mouawad was born in Lebanon on October 16, 1968. In 1977, his family moved to France in order to escape civil war, and eventually immigrated to Canada in 1983. In 1991, Wajdi obtained his diploma from the National Theatre School of Canada, and went on, along with Isabelle Leblanc, to found the Theater Ô Parleur which was inaugurated with a "walking" production of Macbeth. During this period, he wrote numerous adaptations for the stage (such as Don Quixote), as well as original plays such as Alphonse, which tells the story of a young boy who vanishes in the country and imagines wild adventures for himself while his family searches desperately for him. According to the author himself, Mouawad wanted to be an actor but became an author; would have liked to remain an author but was forced to become a director in order to bring his scripts to life. In 1998, his creation Willy Protagoras Locked in the Toilet was voted best Montreal-based production by the Quebec Association of Theatre Critics. In 2000, he won the Governor General's Award for Tideline, the first play in an intended tetralogy which he has continued with Scorched and Forests. Both Scorched and Tideline have been adapted into feature films.
From 2000 to 2004, Mouawad served as artistic director for the Théâtre de Quat' Sous of Montreal, an important alternative theatre that formerly served as a synagogue. In 2002 he was appointed Chevalier de l'Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres in France, and in 2004 he was awarded the Prix de la Francophonie. In 2005, he declined France's prestigious Molière Award in protest of what he perceived as the indifference of French theatre directors to contemporary playwrights. That same year, he founded two new theatre companies devoted to new plays: the Abé carré cé carré in Montréal and the Au Carré de l'hypoténuse in Paris. In 2007, he became artistic director of the French Theater of the National Arts Center in Ottawa.
Wajdi Mouawad's plays often contain absurd elements reminiscent of British playwright Harold Pinter, such as Wedding Day at the Cro-Magnons, one of Mouawad's most critically acclaimed plays, in which a young woman--in the midst of civil war--is set to marry a man who may or may not be a figment of her imagination.
Back to 21st Century Theatre