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Billy Bishop Goes To War (revised edition)

Billy Bishop Goes To War (revised edition)
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: John Gray with Eric Peterson
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 128
Pub. Date: 2012
ISBN-10: 88922689X
ISBN-13: 9780889226890
Cast Size: 2 men

About the Play:

NOTE: this is the revised edition of the 1982 Governor General's Award-winner for Drama (Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize)

Billy Bishop Goes to War is a full-length drama written by John Gray in collaboration with Corner Gas star Eric Peterson. A hapless military school student becomes a hero of World War I in this two-man play with music. This Canadian classic was inspired by the life of Canada's World War One flying ace Billy Bishop – credited with seventy-two victories and billed as the top pilot in the British Empire. In this revised second edition war is still a terrible thing, but some men say it was the greatest time of their lives. The play format is deceptively simple with a solo narrator who assumes multiple roles while his piano-playing sidekick offers sardonic musical comments.

Billy Bishop Goes to War is the same play it always was – the difference is in the telling. Billy Bishop now appears in his later years, reflecting on his wartime exploits, and on the business of war and hero making. By his own admission, William Avery Bishop was the Royal Military College's "worst student ever." But before he can be expelled, he enlists for service in the First World War. Before his wartime days are over, this colourful young scrapper from Owen Sound, Ontario, will become a hero and a lightning rod of new confidence for a young Canada. Bishop's reminiscence is not so much about the horror and death of war as it is about being young and intensely alive. It's about the ironies and the price of survival.

Billy Bishop Goes to War premiered in 1978 at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre (affectionately called "The Cultch") and has become one of the most popular and widely-produced plays in Canadian theatre. The recipient of many honours including a Governor General's Award, Chalmers Award and Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, it has been staged on and off Broadway, in addition to runs at the Edinburgh Festival and in London's West End, among other locations.

Cast: 2 men

What people say:

"Thirty years on, Billy Bishop still soars." — Globe and Mail

"[The play has] reasserted its right to be called one of the great works in the Canadian theatre canon." — Toronto Star

"It's very interesting, it's less about war and more about life now." — The Tyee

About the Playwright:

John Gray is a Canadian writer-composer-performer for the stage, film, television, radio, and print. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Los Angeles Critics Circle Award for playwriting, a Silver Hugo, and a gold at the New York Film and Television Festival. His musical play Billy Bishop Goes to War appeared on Broadway and subsequently became one of the most produced shows in North America.

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