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Edited by Nancy Bell with Diane Bessai. Edmonton, NeWest Press, C1986. 159pp, paper, $6.00, ISBN 0-920897-22-3.C1P

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Louise Griffith

Volume 15 Number 1
1987 January

Five From the Fringe is a collection of one-act plays for small casts. Its overall theme would seem to be the innate merit or goodness of those who are, in the worldly sense, losers or non-heroes. "Life After Hockey," by Kenneth Brown, is a monologue with a variety of episodes from the life of a man who cannot give up his passion for hockey as he reaches middle age. At first we scorn his foolishness, but we come to respect his integrity and commitment. Like "The Land Called Morning," also about young people, the play makes frequent use of four letter words, considered by some to be shockingly vulgar. What would be admired as realism in some communites would create controversy in other areas if the play were performed or studied as a school text. This is unfortunate, as many non-literary hockey lovers would enjoy studying the play and the issues it raises.

In "The Betrayal" (of the Metis by Roman Catholic priests), Laurier Gareau presents a discussion between an old Metis buffalo hunter and a priest who recall the moral issues of the Riel rebellion. A class reading of the play would be useful to students of Canadian history and would serve to review or introduce the period. Characterization of the two old men is excellent, but the Riel issues may be of greater interest to those in western Canada.

"One Beautiful Evening" tells of two older people who go to a Bingo game and come home happy. It is a vivid, shrewd, yet kindly study of seniors and their strengths and weaknesses. "The Land Called Morning" relates the story of four young Cree, their love of their land, their search for beauty and fame, and the results of their quests. These four plays would appeal especially to western audiences and those interested in Canadian history and social development.

"Cuts." by Lyle Victor Albert, is an ingenious tale of actors who have been cut from the script of "Hamlet," "Oedipus Rex," and other significant classical plays. This witty farce will appeal to those who are familiar enough with these plays to recognize the classical echoes.

Public, school, and college librarians will want to purchase this for their Canadian literature sections. Teachers of grade 9 and up, who are familiar with local standards, may wish to use one or more of the plays for classroom study.

Louise Griffith, Agincourt, Ont.
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