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Unity (1918)

Unity (1918)
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Kevin Kerr
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 128
Pub. Date: 2002
ISBN-10: 0889224617
ISBN-13: 9780889224612

About the Play:

Winner of the 2002 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama (Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize)

Unity (1918) is a full-length drama by Kevin Kerr. A darkly humorous play about a small Saskatchewan town fighting the 1918 influenza epidemic against the backdrop of another Great War being fought at the same time. Part Gothic romance, part pandemic horror story, Unity (1918) is an epic chronicle of this remarkable chapter of human history.

Unity (1918) is about the worst biological disaster in human history. During the final few weeks of World War I, the global Spanish Flu pandemic is spreading across the country and has the entire town of Unity, Saskatchewan, under siege from an invisible enemy, more horrifying and deadly than the war. Seen through the lives of the charming, eccentric townsfolk, including Beatrice Wilde and her two sisters, Mary and Sissy, as they come of age in such a complicated and perilous time. While they mourn the absence and loss of their young men – and love interests – to a violent war overseas, their lives are irrevocably interrupted by the contagious and lethal Spanish flu. One by one they receive notice of men being killed in Europe; one by one the people of their town fall in an equally devastating slaughter. Unity (1918) is a touching, intensely human and darkly comic portrayal of a forgotten chapter in Canadian history.

Unity (1918) was first produced in 2001 at Vancouver East Cultural Centre (affectionately known as "The Cultch"). Featuring a large cast filled with great roles for women and men, the play has become a popular choice for school and community theatre productions.

Cast: 6 women, 3 men

What people say:

"Kerr's splendid new creation [Unity (1918)] is a work of powerful and moving familiarity, a kind of secular liturgy that celebrates love, sex, death and the sorrowful mysteries of war and plague. It's also painfully funny." — Globe & Mail

"Unity (1918) is written with an assuredness that easily mixes profundity with hearty laughs … Kerr shows a gift for creating genuinely ordinary people who can expand on great thoughts even as they trip over their own flaws." — Vancouver Sun

"The script finds considerable humor in these dark days." — New York Times

"In Kerr's beautifully written and often very funny play … the story is told of ordinary people united and transformed in facing the fear of the unknown." — Calgary Herald

"The play is a hard go, but worth it for the stellar writing and mesmerizing horror of being exposed to this under-told chapter in our history." — Saskatoon Star Phoenix

About the Playwright:

Kevin Kerr is an award-winning playwright, director, actor, and founding member of Vancouver's Electric Company Theatre. While he was Writer in Residence at Touchstone Theatre, he developed Unity (1918), which earned him the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama. He is the recipient of three Jessie Richardson Awards for Outstanding Original Play, and his work has been produced across Canada, in the U.S., France, Australia, and the U.K.

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