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Your Price: $19.95 CDN
Author: David French
Publisher: Talonbooks (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 175
Pub. Date: 1986
ISBN-10: 0889222428
ISBN-13: 9780889222427
Cast Size: 3 female, 6 male

About the Play:

Jitters is a full-length comedy by David French. Four actors, a director, a playwright, and one grand dream of Broadway-bound success. Anything from a forgotten line to a faulty wig may just make or break their new Canadian play. Can this motley crew set aside their egos and anxieties in order to make it to the big time? Find out in this raucous comedy that celebrates the ups and downs of life in the theatre.

Jitters begins on the set of "The Care and Treatment of Roses," an ambitious work by a budding young local writer, which is now in final rehearsal by a provincial Canadian theatre company. Animosity has already developed between the featured actress, a fading beauty who has worked extensively in the U.S. and hopes to make a comeback, and her leading man, a local celebrity who has been fearful of venturing afield and who resents his co-star's haughty airs. Among the others present are a veteran character actor who cannot retain his lines; the male juvenile, who attends a wedding before opening night and turns up soused; a tyrannical stage manager; an eager, if overly diplomatic young director; and the novice playwright, who radiates quiet desperation. Whatever can go wrong does so but the show, despite all, goes on, even though the New York producer who has promised to attend never arrives, and the surprisingly good (if somewhat sententious) opening night notices set the cast members at each other's throats — all lending special credence to a remark by one of the actors who, when the rattled director implores his cast to behave like adults, replies: "We're not adults, we're actors."

Jitters premiered in 1979 at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and was an instant critical and commercial success. In just a few years, this smash-hit backstage comedy was produced in nearly every regional theatre in Canada and enjoyed several American performances, a six-month run at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.

Cast: 3 female, 6 male

What people say:

"Jitters is the happiest case of stage fright I have ever encountered. For anyone who has any knowledge of the life of the theatre, French has caught its moods, anxieties and foibles to a lunatic nicety." — The New York Post

"…a sparkling Canadian comedy to rank up there with the best of them…. Jitters is witty, affectionate, bitchy; bitterly touching. French handles a complicated idea with great sophistication." — The Toronto Star

"a sparkling gem of a comedy… what Jitters offers is such delight we'd like it to go on much longer. Hilarity is in short supply these days." — Drama-Logue

"…an insider's affectionate tribute to the theatre as a flawed way of life… Jitters is an almost perfect comedy of its kind." — The New York Times

About the Author:

David French (1939-2010) was one of Canada's most popular and critically-acclaimed playwrights. He is best remembered for the Mercer family plays, such as Leaving Home, which chronicle the lives of a Newfoundland family with humour and pathos. The Mercer plays have received hundreds of productions across North America, including a Broadway production of Of the Fields, Lately. This quintet of plays has also touched audiences in Europe, South America and Australia. His backstage comedy Jitters has been performed all over the continent, and most of his plays have had successful international runs, including two Broadway productions. In 1989, David French was inducted into the Newfoundland Arts Hall of Honour, and in 2001 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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