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Jacob's Wake

Jacob's Wake
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Michael Cook
Publisher: Talonbooks (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 143
Pub. Date: 1975
ISBN-10: 0889220972
ISBN-13: 9780889220973
Cast Size: 2 female, 5 male

About the Play:

Jacob's Wake is a full-length drama by Michael Cook. Painful memories are unleashed at a family gathering in a desolate Newfoundland coastal community. The Skipper, a former schooner captain is now bed-ridden and guilty. His greed led to the death of his crew along with his favourite son Jacob, during a seal hunt one winter day more than 30 years ago. Fading in and out of memory and reality, he hears his remaining children and grandchildren battle for a shred of dignity in a world that has taught them only bitter lessons of survival.

Jacob's Wake explores the lives of three generations of Newfoundlanders living in a tiny outport, who are caught between the old ways of the sealers and the fishermen and the new realities of unemployment, poverty, and hopelessness. The storm brewing outside mirrors the stormy relationships inside the Blackburn home. The aged patriarch, called only The Skipper, lies dying in an upstairs bedroom. Along with him is dying the great seafaring tradition of his people. His already aging son, Winston Blackburn, is a sharp-tongued welfare case who drowns his sorrows in beer and heaps psychological abuse on his wife and sister. He knows that he is nothing and nowhere, the lost generation. And Winston's three sons are the new world to come: Wayne, a corrupt politician, Alonzo, a cynical business man, and Brad, a failed priest. It quickly moves from an apparently realistic family drama as the storm begins to dominate the stage. The whole play, not merely the last few moments, is a wake, specifically for Jacob, the lost son of the title, but more generally for Newfoundland.

Jacob's Wake premiered in 1974 at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland. This Canadian classic has been produced across Canada, at the Swedish National Theatre in Stockholm, and has been performed in college theatre productions as a showcase of student talent.

Cast: 2 female, 5 male

What people say:

"A powerful play, deeply rooted in its regional context, but universal enough to appeal to an audience anywhere." — Canadian Literature

About the Playwright:

Michael Cook (1933-1994) was a Canadian dramatist, director, critic, actor, and professor of English at Memorial University. Born to an Anglo-Irish family in London, England, he emigrated to Canada in 1966 and rapidly built a reputation in the 1970s as a playwright of Newfoundland life, history and culture – the most notable of which are Jacob's Wake and the one-act dramas collected in Tiln & Other Plays. He was the outstanding Canadian radio dramatist of his generation writing over fifty plays for CBC Radio and Television, and a theatre reviewer writing columns for the St. John's Evening Telegram.

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