I Am William
[Translated from Je suis William by Rébecca Déraspe. Music by Chloé Lacasse and Benoit Landry. Lyrics translated with Ariane Bisson McLernon.]
Named Best Play for Young Audiences of the 2017-18 Season by AQCT, the association of Québec theatre critics.
I Am William had its world premiere at Les Coups de coeur in Montréal (November 17, 2018)
When Margaret Shakespeare – William’s sister – writes her remarkable plays, she must do so secretly, under cover of night… because in 1577, a girl of thirteen who can read and write is in danger of being burned as a witch. And after all, as her intimidating father keeps reminding her, a woman’s place is in the home… next to a big pile of laundry. Once the sweet but decidedly average William discovers his sister’s astonishing talent, a chain of events is set in motion that will change both their lives forever. What happens to women of genius in a world that wants only to silence them? Can a sister’s determination, and a brother’s unfailing love, really conquer all? This musical tackles the big feminist questions with wit, brio, and infectious energy.
Cast size: 2F/1M
This translation was commissioned and produced by Théâtre le Clou. The director was Sylvain Scott.
The young protagonists of I Am William explicitly aspire to the total emancipation of girls and boys from our gendered expectations of them. A text as playful as it is intelligent, and as sensitive as it is politically engaged. Its sense of humour, among other things, ensures that the script never veers into the didactic, much less into moralizing. – JEU magazine
Through this story of two siblings, Déraspe sheds light on the inequalities and injustices that held women back for so long. - Le Devoir
I Am William turns this fragment of the sixteenth century into a magnifying mirror of our own era. Because, to this day, being born a boy or girl dictates at least part of the road we take. – theatre-contemporain.net
Rébecca Déraspe offers us a brilliant text, blending truth and fiction in order to speak of love and of the power of dreams. - montheatre.qc.ca
…Yes it’s a play for adolescents, but it was written for whoever is interested in the subject [of the place of women and girls in our society]… and in my humble opinion, there’s something in it for everyone – La Bible Urbaine.
An inspiring play for all ages. - Huffington Post
MARY: He's afraid you'll bring shame on our family with this questionable behaviour.
MARGARET: “Questionable behaviour”? What does that mean?! I do everything by the book. I hold my tongue; I hide my tears; and I wash his clothes. Questionable behaviour? I could write and become the greatest author of all time, and still he would hate me, for women who have the audacity to want to speak are all witches who should have their heads cut off. Questionable behaviour? When his sons get tangled up in the slender thread of life, he sustains them with all the love in his heart. But when a daughter of his says "no", she gets a faceful of his fury. And I'm the one with questionable behaviour?
MARY: Don't cry. There, there. Don't cry. I didn't understand a word you just said… but stop crying.
Je suis William [I Am William] by Rébecca Déraspe