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That Elusive Spark

That Elusive Spark
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Janet Munsil
Publisher: Playwrights Canada Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 96
Pub. Date: 2014
ISBN-10: 1770912045
ISBN-13: 9781770912045

About the Play:

That Elusive Spark was a Finalist for the 2014 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama (Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize)

That Elusive Spark is a full-length comedy by Janet Munsil. A dual narrative romantic comedy that follows the exploits of Phineas Gage, a construction worker in 1848 who is forever changed after an explosion forces an iron rod through his brain, and Helen Harlow, a young neuroscientist in modern times struggling with her own anxieties as she settles into a new teaching job. As time shifts back-and-forth, a strange love story unfolds that shows the unexpected connections we all share.

That Elusive Spark is about change and new beginnings, and how they interrelate or not. Neuropsychologist Helen Harlow is an expert at understanding the human brain, and yet her own remains a mystery. Turning her back on a once-brilliant future filled with scientific promise, Helen attempts to escape the mess of her life by diving headfirst into a new one: living in a frat-house basement, teaching Psych 101 to clueless freshmen, and confronting both her depression and the puzzling attentions of her slacker housemate Finlay. Pushed to the brink and increasingly desperate for some semblance of normality, Helen finds herself in a doctor’s office looking for a change. But not everyone chooses to change. Certainly not Phineas Gage, a construction foreman in 1848 who miraculously survives an explosion that shoots an iron rod though his head. While Phineas makes an extraordinary physical recovery, he has a dramatic change in personality. Attended to and observed by the young doctor John Harlow, Helen’s ancestor, the legacy of Phineas’s dramatic story shows how far we have come scientifically, and yet how little we can comprehend of the mystery of our own hearts and minds.

That Elusive Spark was commissioned and first produced in 2006 by University of Victoria's Theatre Department in the Phoenix Theatre with a student cast. The professional premier was in 2008 during the Alberta Theatre Projects playRites Festival at the Martha Cohen Theatre in Calgary, Alberta.

Cast: 3 women, 5 men

What people say:

"…a colourfully instructive and insightful romantic comedy about change and new beginnings." — Calgary Herald

"…a wild theatrical romp." — JAM!

"Anyone interested in seeing one of the finest plays of the year — not to mention the latest and possibly greatest work (to date) from one of our best local playwrights—should rush to catch That Elusive Spark. I’ve already booked my tickets to see it again." — Monday Magazine

"That Elusive Spark flashes with admirable vivacity and originality. It’s an inventively told yarn that pinwheels like a firework, and for Munsil, appears to be something of a breakthrough." — Victoria Times Colonist

About the Playwright:

Janet Munsil is a Victoria-based Canadian playwright and the Artistic Director of Intrepid Theatre, producers of the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival, Uno Fest, and an international contemporary theatre presenting series. Her plays have toured internationally and have been produced across Canada and the UK, including Touchstone, Tarragon, ATP, Univeristy of Victoria Phoenix Theatres, The West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, The Citz (Glasgow), the Belltable Arts Centre (Limerick), the Prague Fringe, and the Soho Theatre + Writer’s Centre, London. Her play That Elusive Spark was a finalist for the 2014 Governor General's Literary Awards.