NEW CANADIAN DRAMA 2
Edited by Patrick B. O'Neill.
Volume 11 Number 6.
In New Canadian Drama 2, editor Patrick B. O'Neill presents three fine regional plays that have been recently written and produced in Canada along with an excellent introduction.
The first, "Mirage," by Gwen Pharis Ringwood is a rather complicated play dealing with three generations of a Saskatchewan family torn by the demands of the land and the times. Many, perhaps too many, aspects of Saskatchewan life are included: the drought, the CCF, war and its consequent tragedy, women's lib, the Indians, above all, the deep abiding love of the settlers for their land. This play would be very good for study on a CanLit course as it presents such an accurate and entertaining view of life on the Prairies. At it involves rapid changes and elaborate effects, it might be difficult to present on the stage without a very skilled director and production crew.
Pogie, by Chris Heide and Al Mac-donald, an amusing satire on the Unemployment Insurance system, was produced as a successful cabaret show. It depicts the devastating effects of chronic unemployment on one family in Cape Breton. Although much of the material is intended to be sung, no music is provided. Some of the passages in Pogie would cause raised eyebrows in some communities. But the satire is witty and precise, and the characters have a delightful freshness and integrity. A director of Pogie would have to have access to musical talent both in the actors and in the production crew. Yet the play could be a delight to all of us who have struggled with the officiousness of bureaucracy. The Dollar Woman by Alden Nowlan and Walter Learning is a well-written historical play with clearly delineated characters and an integrated focus. As social criticism, it depicts the evils of the system of social assistance in the nineteenth century in Sussex, New Brunswick. There paupers were auctioned off, and members of the town community bid for the money to care for the indigent in the coming year. With a skilful blend of suspense, humour, and tragedy, the play comes to a satisfactory conclusion. Characterization and dialogue are both excellent, and the play would be a very satisfactory one to study or produce.
The collection would be suitable for study in CanLit courses from grades 11 to post-secondary levels. Directors seeking material to present would find this regional Canadian material a wise choice for many Canadian audiences.
Louise Griffith, Agincourt, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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