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The Cure for Death by Lightning

The Cure for Death by Lightning
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
Author: Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Adapted by: Daryl Cloran
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 144
Pub. Date: 2018
ISBN-10: 177201205X
ISBN-13: 9781772012057
Cast Size: 3 women, 4 men

About the Play:

The Cure for Death by Lightning is a full-length drama adapted for the stage by Daryl Cloran from the award-winning novel by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. The haunting coming-of-age story of 15-year-old Beth Weeks, who is growing up on a farm in B.C. during the Second World War. It's the summer of all things strange: she's pursued by a predator, children go missing on the nearby reserve, her father is going mad and her mother talks to the dead. Beth must handle all of this while grappling with turning 16 and being on the verge of adulthood.

The Cure for Death by Lightning tells a dark, challenging story that includes sexual abuse, grief, and the day-to-day struggle for survival. Set in Turtle Valley (near Chase, British Columbia) in the shadow of the Second World War, it examines the relationship between reluctant neighbours: an Indigenous community and a settler community. Beth Weeks' fifteenth summer is full of strange happenings: a classmate is mauled to death; children go missing on the nearby reserve; and an unseen predator pursues Beth. It's also a summer of magic and mystery. Through it, she must face the darkness within her own family and the dangers of the bush: her mother's relationship with her father is not all it seems, and her own relationship with her father – who hasn't been the same ever since the recent animal attack – is becoming dangerous. Beth must face the darkness within her own family as well as the dangers of the bush. While Beth's mother retreats into her memories and her father becomes unhinged, Beth discovers unlikely allies from outside her once-insular circle – that is, from the reserve: a first friend, Nora, who shares Beth's connection with the land; and farmhands Dennis and Filthy Billy (who struggles with Tourette syndrome).

The ordinary is depicted in painstaking detail – but something otherworldly is always lurking. Stunning moments of magic realism illuminate the shadows of stark farm life: a swarm of turtles that form a "moving, living blanket" as they cross Blood Road; a gale that whips the purple flowers from the flax field and rains them down in a blanket of blue – beautiful, but heart-breaking for the family, which had depended on the now-ruined crop. The numerous animals in the play are represented by puppets inspired by Aboriginal iconography, and Coyote (Sk'elep), the trickster figure of the Secwepemc peoples, looms large over the story. The land itself is a character; trees, the farm, and seasons play an enormous role in Beth's social and sexual awakening and in the maturation of community relationships.

The Cure for Death by Lightning premiered in 2017 at the Western Canadian Theatre in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Cast: 3 women, 4 men

About the Playwright:

Daryl Cloran is an award-winning Canadian theatre director and is currently the artistic director of the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta. Originally from Ontario, he served as Artistic Director of Western Canada Theatre (WCT) for six years and, in addition, is a nationally recognized director of productions across Canada, including at the Arts Club, Theatre Calgary, National Arts Centre, Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage and Neptune Theatre.