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Joe Beef

Joe Beef
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Joe Beef
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 103
Pub. Date: 1991
ISBN-10: 0889222916
ISBN-13: 9780889222915
Cast Size: 5 women, 5 men (flexible casting: a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 21)

About the Play:

Joe Beef is a full-length drama by David Fennario. Desperately poor immigrants find refuge with Montreal's legendary barkeep, Joe Beef. From the renowned playwright of Canadian classic Balconville, this satirical cabaret history of Montréal is increasingly regarded as his greatest dramatic achievement. Because the play was written for performance in clubs, schools, small halls, as well as theatres, the set requirements are simple and portable.

Joe Beef (a.k.a Charles McKiernan) was a real person, whose nickname, and that of his tavern became synonymous with working-class Montreal. Born in Ireland in 1835, he made his way to what is now Old Montreal, where he opened a dockside bar known as "Joe Beef's Tavern". From this barroom, he became, the working class hero of Montreal's Point St. Charles neighborhood at the turn of the century. The the legendary barkeep fed the poor, the working-class, women, orphans, everyone; never refusing anyone who came to his door. In the play he has come back from the grave and narrates the working-class history of Montréal. Names of wealthy prominent 19th century Montréalers such as Redpath, McDonald, Smith, McGill and Molson are taken in vain. The good guys are the hard-working habitants, starving Irish, and exploited workers then and now. Joe Beef is a historical barroom satire throws a mean left uppercut at the privileged classes.

Joe Beef premiered in 1985 at St. Columba House by Black Rock Theatre, a community theatre group that David Fennario organized in Verdun, Quebec, and transferred to an extended run at McGill University's Players Theatre, winning the Prix Pauline-Julien.

Cast: 5 women, 5 men (flexible casting: has been done with a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 21)

What people say:

"An evening of political theatre with both guts and skill is a rare commodity these days. Joe Beef has become a political satire that throws a mean left uppercut at the privileged classes. Which is not to say that it isn't still a lot of fun." — Montréal Gazette

"Joe Beef ... is a play rooted in a particular place and community, but resonates beyond these bounds." — Canadian Book Review

About the Playwright:

David Fennario is an anglophone playwright and a novelist born David Wiper in Montréal. He grew up and still lives in the working class district of Verdun-Pointe St. Charles, and zoomed from obscurity to national fame in 1979 with his play Balconville. His pen name, given to him by a girlfriend, was part of a Bob Dylan song, Pretty Peggy-O. He worked in a number of small jobs before he enrolled in Dawson College. With his teachers encouragement, he developed and fine tuned his creative writing skills. He was the first writer-in-residence at Montréal's Centaur Theatre, has won the Chalmers award twice, and received the Prix Pauline Julien from the United Steelworkers' Union.

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