CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Edited by Diane Bessai and Don Kerr.

Edmonton, NeWest Press, n.d.
(Prairie Plays #5).
259pp, paper, $18.95 (cloth), $8.95 (paper).
ISBN 0-920316-60-3 (cloth), 0-920316-58-1 (paper).

Grades 10 and up.
Reviewed by Walter Kalyn.

Volume 12 Number 1
1984 January

This collection contains three examples of a very popular form of drama in western Canadian Theatres, the docu-drama. These are essentially historical plays that deal with regional social and political issues. As such, they will be of particular interest to western Canadian readers. "West Show" is a collective creation developed by Paul Thompson. It deals with various events in Saskatchewan social history in an attempt to show some of the historical roots of the Saskatchewan social fabric. "As Far as the Eye Can See" by Rudy Wiebe deals with aspects of Alberta history. Rex DeverelPs "Medicare!" is a dramatization of events in the 1962 Saskatchewan physicians' strike in opposition to the introduction of universal medical care legislation.

Having seen "Medicare!" performed in its world premiere by Regina's Globe Theatre, I must admit that the actual performance was much more interesting than reading the script. I suspect this would also be true of the other plays, and as it probably is of all drama. The collection is interesting to read as a sampler of the kind of dramatic creation that has evolved in western Canada. The plays themselves are not good material for school productions, except perhaps where there are very experienced and talented drama groups. Schools offering drama classes might be interested in exploring one or more of these as an example of docu-drama. The themes and presentations are certainly suitable for high school students, and this book is recommended wherever there is need for material of this type.

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


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works