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Foon, Dennis.

Toronto. Playwrights Union of Canada. 1988. 112pp. paper, $11.95. ISBN 0-88754-468-1. CIP

Grades 7 and up/Ages 12 and up
Reviewed by Pat Bolger

Volume 17 Number 3
1989 May

A writer and director of theatre for young people. Foon says that his fictional characters' "experiences are not invented. Their stories were told to (him) again and again by youth living in Vancouver and Toronto." Skin focuses on racial prejudice experienced by young immigrants to Canada, an Indian, a Jamaican, and a Vietnamese. With about a dozen speaking roles, the play uses realistic dialogue and simple masks to show the prevalence of racism in work and social situations, and—shamefully—even in our education system. Liars shows the effects of parental alcoholism on two teenagers: Lenny struggles to maintain a perfect exterior while coping with her mother's binges and her father's denial of the problem; Jace finds delinquency his only escape from his father's drunken violence.

The young characters and their problems are thoroughly convincing, and most of the adults have some sympathetic qualities to balance their negative impact. Both plays would be useful in theatre arts courses and could also be given simple classroom readings in connection with units on racism and addiction in sociology classes. A production of Liars could be a healing experience for groups working with the children of alcoholics.

Recommended for high schools and young adult collections in public libraries.

Pat Bolger, Renfrew, Ont.
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