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Mitchell, Ken
Edmonton, NeWest Press, 1991. 281pp, paper, $12.95
ISBN 0-920897-05-3. CIP

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Raymond Stoyko

Volume 20 Number 3
1992 May

This text showcases three Mitchell plays: Davin: The Politician, Gone the Burning Sun and The Great Cultural Revolution. The heroes of the three plays (rebels in their time) are Nicholas Davin, Norman Bethune and Wu Han. The three plays have all been previously published, but there have been some alterations to the scripts (discussed in the editor's introduction). Each selection has a playwright's introduction in which Mitchell discusses his heroes and provides production information.

Davin: The Politician is a three-act play for eight actors set in Regina/Ottawa/Winnipeg from 1883 to 1901. The introduction states that Davin "was the original MP from Regina...." The play is an attempt to dramatise this career and the life of a man who died in political disgrace.

Gone the Burning Sun deals with the Bethune experience in China. It is a fourteen-scene, forty-page, one-ad play written for one character, Norman Bethune. The play encapsulates Bethune's time in China and ends with his death.

The Great Cultural Revolution is a three-act play for twelve actors. It is set in Beijing, China, in 1966. The introduction provides a useful historical context for the play. Wu Han, the hero, was a university professor who wrote a play that led to an assault on him. Mitchell states that this was the spark that ignited the Cultural Revolution. The play is a vehicle for political thought and commentary.

In all three plays, Mitchell reinforces his idea of rebels in time, men who stood outside the mainstream. Mitchell believes that we need these models in a contemporary world "where there are no heroes." Of interest to drama or English students/teachers.

Raymond Stoyko, Winnipeg, Man.
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