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Rex Deverell.

Moose Jaw, Coteau Books, c1982.
75pp, paper, $5.00.
ISBN 0-919926-13-4.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Walter Kalyn.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

The third in a series of plays about Saskatchewan history, Black Powder deals with the controversial 1931 Estevan coal miners' strike and the ensuing clash with the police. In addition to the play itself, this publication includes a brief history of the strike and commentaries by authors Deverell and Ursell regarding the writing of the text and music. The text is illustrated with historical photographs of the event as well as those of scenes from the 1981 Globe Theatre production of the play. In writing the play, Deverell claims to have used the technique of relying on documentary material not merely as a source but as actual spoken text. In doing so he has succeeded both in preserving the historical accuracy of the event and in portraying the drama and emotion involved. The conflict involved in the strike was very controversial, and Deverell has succeeded in presenting a balanced picture of what happened while at the same time making it a good piece of drama.

Black Powder has a place in school library collections where there is a need for labour conflict or Saskatchewan historical material. It could also be used as classroom material in situations dealing with themes of Saskatchewan history, labour-management struggles, or human values versus the oppression of economics and technology.

Walter Kalyn, Thorn C. I., Regina, SK.
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