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The Colony of Unrequited Dreams

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Robert Chafe
Publisher: Playwrights Canada Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 192
Pub. Date: 2017
ISBN-10: 1770915761
ISBN-13: 9781770915763
Cast Size: 3 women, 8 men

About the Play:

Finalist for 2017 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama (Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize)

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams is a full-length drama adapted for the stage by Robert Chafe, based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Wayne Johnson. A sweeping drama of personal and political ambition follows soon-to-be Premier Joey Smallwood as he propels the Dominion of Newfoundland into union with Canada in 1949. Both saint and sinner, the charismatic, controversial Smallwood is hounded every step of the way by witty, booze-soaked reporter Sheilagh Fielding – his intellectual equal and lifelong nemesis.

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams is a fictionalized retelling of the story of Joseph R. Smallwood – the self-described "Last Father of Confederation" – the controversial political figure who ambitiously led Newfoundland into Confederation with Canada, and who served at its first premier for 23 years. Spanning two decades, the action moves swiftly from year to year and place to place, following Smallwood and a slew of characters, both fictional and historical, as they navigate the terrain of Newfoundland politics. The story is anchored and propelled by one of Wayne Johnson's most memorable creations: the fictitious Sheilagh Fielding, a caustic newspaper columnist whose own battles with the past and alcohol addiction find full vent and expression in her tireless dogging of Smallwood's climb to power. At its heart, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams is the story of a man whose career is buoyed and sometimes sunk by his unresolved feelings for a woman he never allowed himself to love. It is also the story of Newfoundland's final years as a country, the end of one cultural and political trajectory, and the beginning of another.

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams premiered in 2015 at the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland. The show was remounted in 2017 and toured to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, to Halifax's Neptune Theatre, and to the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario.

Cast: 3 women, 8 men

What people say:

"From its opening scene of a familiar seaside winterscape, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams is a distinctly and proudly Atlantic Canadian play. Adapted by Robert Chafe from the beloved novel by Wayne Johnston, the production maintains the sweeping saga of the source text, following the mostly true story of Joseph Smallwood, the unassuming politician who saw Newfoundland into Confederation." — The Coast

"Robert Chafe's writing is clean, spare, poetic and vivid in describing the story of this most unlikely of leaders. Chafe captures the smarmy condescension of all the people who came from away to govern the island and put down Smallwood but the writing also shows the spunk and tenacity of Smallwood. Chafe's writing is so good one naturally wants to read the source material written by Wayne Johnston." — The Slotkin Letter

About the Playwright:

Robert Chafe is a Canadian playwright and actor who has worked in theatre, dance, opera, radio, fiction and film. His stage plays have been seen in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and in the United States. He has been shortlisted twice for the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama and he won the award for Afterimage in 2010. He has been guest instructor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, and The National Theatre School of Canada. In 2018 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is currently Playwright in Residence and director of Artistic Fraud Theater in St. John's Newfoundland.

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