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The play was first performed at the Centaur Theatre in 1979 under the direction of Guy Sprung. It opened to highly favourable reviews and subsequently toured the country and made its way to Europe, where the reviews were not nearly as enthusiastic. The play has been a "work in progress" and was greeted with high praise during a 1992 production at the Centaur. It won the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award in 1980.
The story takes place in Pointe-Saint-Charles, a neighbourhood of Montreal that was one of Canada's first industrial slums. It unfolds during a hot summer in which Montreal's major league baseball team, the Montreal Expos, were playing well. The play explores the socio-economic rumblings of this ethnic melting pot, including the ongoing French/English question as it was perceived at that time.
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In popular culture
The play's name has percolated into Montreal popular culture. There is a gastro pub on Montreal Island with that name, and a legal entity involved with Montreal Island Landlord-Tenant relations.
Due to upmarket speculation in the overall housing market on Montreal Island, the name Condoville has evolved out of the play's name to apply to the possibly excessive number of condos in the housing market.
Though it is not related to Balconville, BBC2's Liver Birds (1969 - 1978) series has some dramatic and cultural elements in common with the play. Most notably, Liverpool is near the Welsh border and is a working class industrial town with some similarities to Montreal. The Liver Birds was never transmitted in Canada, so the play and series have no cross cultural influences or linkages.
Recent or upcoming performances