During the twenty years separating Gratien Gélinas's Tit-Coq in 1948, a play considered a foundation piece of Québécois (as opposed to French-Canadian) dramaturgy, and the 1968 creation of Michel Tremblay's Les Belles-Sœurs which opens the era of ‘new’ Québécois dramaturgy, Quebec society underwent a radical change. It was no longer traditional, religious and rural, but had become fully urbanized.
A quarter of a century later, Michel Tremblay has published over twenty books—novels, plays and screenplays—composing an original body of work which reflects, sometimes almost clinically and through the use of joual (the idiomatic French spoken in the working-class district of East Montreal) the local Québécois reality. At the same time, it has a universal value: to a typically Montreal universe, Tremblay's creation integrates dramaturgical influences ranging from Greek tragedy to Tennessee Williams. The result is a unique and strong combination of a musical language, with powerful monologues and vivid dialogues, and of innovative dramatic structures reflecting (in a lucid and ironic manner) a society in quest of its identity, torn between traditional values centred on the family unit, and the liberating, dream world of the theatre.