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Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Rod Langley
Publisher: Talonbooks (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 119
Pub. Date: 1975
ISBN-10: 0889220883
ISBN-13: 9780889220881
Cast Size: 3 female, 6 male (doubling)

About the Play:

Bethune has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Male Monologues.

Bethune is a full-length drama by Rod Langley. The play chronicles the journey of Dr. Norman Bethune, the flamboyant Canadian doctor who rebelled against the Montreal medical establishment, developed new surgical techniques, and wound up in revolutionary China elevated almost to sainthood by Mao Tse-tung. Set in landscapes which move from Detroit to China, Bethune is a study of how one man's vision may shape the world.

Bethune is an epic work based on the life, philosophy, and career of the Canadian-born doctor who made a name for himself as a medical missionary in China in the late 1930s. Beginning the practice of medicine in Detroit, Bethune later became a respected surgeon in Montreal. He left Canada for Spain in 1936 to establish a blood transfusion unit that operated in the front lines during the Spanish Civil War. After returning to Canada to raise money for his Spanish efforts, he ended a lecture tour to establish a rural medical clinic in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), where he trained rural peasants to serve as army medics and set up much-needed base hospitals that ultimately saved thousands of lives. To the grateful Chinese, Bethune is considered a national hero, almost a saint. Yet few Canadians have more than a passing acquaintance with his name and efforts. Much of the dialogue in the play is taken from authentic sources, such as Bethune's letters and speeches. Bethune is an examination of his attitudes and character, that growing social awareness which led him to dedicate his life to helping the poor in a foreign country.

Bethune premiered in 1974 at the Globe Theatre in Regina, Saskatchewan. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and has been produced in theatres across Canada.

Cast: 24 female, 13 male (alternate casting 3 female, 6 male, with doubling)

What people say:

"Demystifies the man at the same time as it recreates his boundless energy and chaotic lifestyle." — Canadian Theatre Review

"A portrait of an enormously complex man." — Vancouver Sun

"Rod Langley's Bethune is a straightforward and effective account of the astonishing career of Dr. Norman Bethune – following him from Detroit, to a tuberculosis sanitorium, to the Spanish Civil War and ending in China where he seems single-handedly to have organised the medical services for the revolutionaries during the during the war with Japan. It is a stirring tale, well told, and with a very strong central part.." — Theatre Australia

About the Playwright:

Rod Langley is a Canadian is a playwright and director. He was born in Australia, moved to Canada in his teens, and has lived in Nanaimo, BC for many years. His published work includes two plays about the Dunsmuir family coal barons and a play about Norman Bethune. He has also produced a number of documentary films on the history of Nanaimo.

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