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Director Nini Bélanger created three works inspired by the novel House of the Sleeping Beauties by Yasunari Kawabata. In this, the first cycle of works presented by Projet MÛ, Bélanger reflects on eroticism and death by retelling the dark yet moving story of an old man who visits a brothel where the young prostitutes are fast asleep.

The Sleeping Beauties

The first phase of the sleepy cycle, a close adaptation of Kawabata’s novel, was presented as Nini Bélanger’s final project at the National Theatre School of Canada. It was performed by Robert Lalonde, Marie Michaud and Catherine-Amélie Côté.


In its second iteration, the director explored the same theme from a completely different angle, this time as a photo exhibition that served as the set for a performance featuring non-actors. This second phase of the cycle was presented in 2008 at Espace Libre as part of the OFFTA.


Pushing the idea of hyperrealism further than ever before, Bélanger opted to present the third and final phase of the cycle in an unconventional venue, i.e. a house in Montreal’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood. This iteration demanded a contemporary adaptation of the novel transposed to a North American context. The show was remounted the following year at Théâtre La Chapelle. This final version, darker and more elaborate, underscores the loneliness of the character who awaits death in the company of a young sleeping girl. The production won the Carte Premiere prize for best stage direction.

  • Adapted by

    • Pascal Brullemans, based on the novel House of the Sleeping Beauties by Y. Kawabata
  • Directed by

    • Nini Bélanger
  • Performed by

    • Caroline Bouchard
    • Catherine-Amélie Côté
    • Robert Lalonde
    • Marie Michaud
    • Michel Mongeau
    • Dominique Pétin
  • Stage manager

    • Manon Claveau
  • Set designer

    • Julie Vallée-Léger
  • Lighting designer

    • David-Alexandre Chabot
  • Sound designer

    • Alexis Rioux
  • Technical director

    • Charles Maher
Théâtre La Chapelle
length 75 min
age Adults