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The December Man

The December Man
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Colleen Murphy
Publisher: Playwrights Canada Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 96
Pub. Date: 2007
ISBN-10: 0887545955
ISBN-13: 9780887545955
Cast Size: 1 woman, 2 men

About the Play:

Winner of the 2007 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama (Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer prize)

The December Man (L'homme de décembre) is a full-length drama by Colleen Murphy. A timely, unsettling play about a family dealing with the aftermath of a public massacre. Jean, the only ray of hope in this working-class family, has survived the shooting but is overwhelmed by his guilt. His elderly and often cantankerous Québécois parents are doing their best to help him. The December Man is an intimately human story about family, courage, survival, the depths of love and the scar tissue marks of hate.

The December Man explores issues of violence, grief, and guilt in the wake of the Montréal Massacre: the mass shooting of fourteen women at Montréal's École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989. Incidents like this create immediate victims, but what of those who live on with the guilt, rage and frustration of such a random and senseless tragedy? Jean, a promising young engineering student, survives the attack, but is crippled by guilt. Struggling to survive the aftermath, Benoît and Kathleen do everything they can to help their beloved son cope with guilt and rage... but Jean's young life becomes unglued. Using humour and the humdrum of everyday life, the play intuitively moves backwards in time to the fateful day when Jean, the only ray of hope in this working class family, escaped the massacre... or thought he did. This searing drama on courage, heroism and despair expertly analyzes the long private shadow that public violence casts over some of the most unsuspecting victims. Through humour and the humdrum of everyday life, Colleen Murphy explores what it means to be human and the pressures we feel to be so much more, to be a hero.

The December Man premiered in 2007 at Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary as part of its National playRites Festival of New Plays. It has also been seen at The Citadel, Edmonton, and at The Canadian Stage Company, Toronto, and translated into French and German. It won the 2007 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama, the prestigious Carol Bolt Award, and the ATP's Playwrights Award. The European premiere was in 2012 at Finborough Theatre in the West Brompton area of London.

Cast: 1 woman, 2 men

What people say:

"…a stroke of genius on Murphy's part to tell the story backwards, a device Harold Pinter used for similar compelling effect in his 1978 drama Betrayal. Not only is the drama in The December Man heightened because of this theatrical device, but the comic moments have a bitter sting to them." — Calgary Sun

"…a chilling must-see. It isn't too often that the gurgling sound of a coffee maker percolating brings tears." — Fast Forward, Calgary

"The December Man is a time out from a pop cultural world so drenched in violence that it's almost become commonplace to pour a drink, flip on the news and watch bedlam unfold in various time zones around the world, all woven into a nice, tidy narrative by an attractive, trustworthy correspondent. Murphy is the correspondent for the fallen." — Calgary Herald

About the Playwright:

Colleen Murphy is a Canadian playwright, screenwriter, and filmmaker. She is best known for her plays The December Man (L'homme de décembre), which won the 2007 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama, and Pig Girl, which won the same award in 2016, and the film Termini Station, for which she garnered a Genie Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the 11th Genie Awards. She has twice won awards in the CBC Literary Competition. Her distinct, award-winning films have played in festivals around the world.

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