Twenty-Fifth Street Theatre.
Volume 10 Number 4.
Reminiscent of small town amateur hours, this episodic drama through mime, music, and dialogue tells the story of the founding of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. The overriding theme is that men and women can alter the world. From research obtained through interviews with pioneers, the Twenty-Fifth Street Theatre Company collectively created the play, which in 1977 premiered in Sintaluta, Saskatchewan and in 1978 and 1979 during two national tours played to packed houses.
Divided into two acts, the first consists of a series of short parables featuring fictional characters. Each character represents a "type" from the Canadian prairie. The second act presents historical figures such as Ed Partridge and relates the rise of the Grain Growers and the Wheat Pool. The production appears to be simple, the way a high school play might be, with one skit after another each requiring few props. However, the essential charm rests with the actors, who must be skilled in the art of mime, music, and monologue, and who must add depth to a shallow and obvious script.
Having seen the successful theatrical production, a reading of the dramatic text proved to be disappointing. The chapters preceding the text that outlined the co-operative movement and discussed the genesis and production of the play were interesting. They could be used as background information with high school students in drama or social studies classes who had first viewed the National Film Board film of the play's second tour. As Canadian dramatic literature, however, this work is of marginal value.
Jo-Anne Naslund, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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