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Voices from the Landwash: 11 Newfoundland playwrights

Voices from the Landwash: 11 Newfoundland playwrights
Your Price: $29.95 CDN
Limited Quantities
Author: Denyse Lynde
Publisher: Playwrights Canada Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 417
Pub. Date: 1997
ISBN-10: 0887545270
ISBN-13: 9780887545276

About the Plays:

HARD TO FIND BOOK, only a very limited number of copies are still available.

Voices From The Landwash is a collection of 10 Newfoundland plays, many of which premiered at the historic LSPU Hall in St. John's, Newfoundland (so named as it was formerly owned by the Longshoremen's Protective Union), affectionately referred to as The Hall.

A beautifully arranged collection, Voices From the Landwash presents the work of 11 Newfoundland playwrights, including stage directions and descriptions. In her introduction, Denyse Lynde, a professor with Memorial's English department, places the scripts in the chronological and stylistic context of Newfoundland's developing dramatic discipline.

Voices From The Landwash includes:

The End of the Road by Michael Cook is a previously unpublished tragicomedy that explores the experiences of a Newfoundland couple who move to Toronto. The plight of the aged is set against the angst of youth but the exploration is handled with gentle humour and delicate sensitivity. (Cast: 2 women, 2 men, 2 non-specific)

West Moon by Al Pittman is set in Newfoundland during the time of resettlement in the mid-1960s. Many of the small coastline villages had been resettled to larger centres because of the demise of the traditional salt cod fishery. The people were moved so they would have better access to government services like health care, schools, post offices, and electricity. The characters are residents of one of those villages who are dead and buried, but are given the ability to think, feel, remember, and speak once a year on All Soul's Night. From talking to the newly dead, the older generations discover that no one else remains, as the dark stories of resettlement emerge amidst the usual gossip of small-town life. Though West Moon explores some serious social, political, moral, and theological themes, it does so with a unique blend of pathos and humour, and has attained a unique status in Newfoundland as an often-performed and much-beloved elegy for the province's past. (Premiered in 1980 at the LSPU Hall; Cast: 4 women, 6 men, 1 nonspecific)

Young Triffie's Been Made Away With (also known as Triff the Stiff) by Ray Guy is an Agatha Christie-like whodunit about the murder of a teenage girl, Triffinia. The corpse of unfortunate Young Triffie washes up on the rocky shore of Squires's Harbour, an isolated village populated by eccentrics. A Newfoundland Ranger is called in to investigate. Young Triffie's Been Made Away With mines a vein of surprisingly dark, almost gothic, satire wrapped in earthy Newfoundland humour. (Premiered in 1985 at LSPU Hall; Cast: 3 women, 5 men)

Hanlon House is a one-act black comedy by This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Codco alumni Greg Thomey with Brian Hennessey. The play is a comedic look the generational gap between a fussy father Gus and Gary his sloppy son. Gary is visiting Gus in St. John's on a trip back from his Toronto home, and his father can't stop riding him. They spend the entire play dancing around each other, avoiding conflict, trying and failing to communicate with each other. (Premiered in 1991 at LSPU Hall performed by the authors; Cast: 2 men)

Flux is a comedy with dramatic undertones by Peter Soucy. The story of a young artistic couple whose relationship is on the skids, and who they turn to for friendship. Claude, a frustrated sculptor whose girlfriend leaves him to live with another woman (who never appears onstage), and then has her male cousin Joey move into the apartment. The situation puts two different personalities at close quarters: idealistic Claude, fresh out of art college and full of innocence, and the down-to-earth Joey. (Premiered in 1990 at LSPU Hall and has been performed in several provinces and states; Cast: 1 woman, 2 men)

Catlover is a black comedy by Janis Spence. Its heroine, Hester, strives to balance work, with an aging, deluded father-in-law, a senile cat, a missing husband returning after 20 years, an over-ambitious son, and must learn how one negotiates basic commitments. (Premiered in 1990 at LSPU Hall and has been acclaimed at Maritime venues; Cast: 1 woman, 4 men, 2 nonspecific)

The Only Living Father is a one man tour de force by Tom Cahill. The life and times Joseph R. Smallwood, the first Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and the man who successfully fought to make independent Newfoundland Canada's 10th province in 1949. Often called the last living father of Confederation, "Joey" Smallwood was considered a hero by some. To others, he was a villain who sold the soul of the granite island to Canada, used poor judgment in grand business schemes that went sour and created social havoc by resettling outport families. This play is ultimately a balanced, affectionate look at a complex man, capturing his dramatic rise from a street urchin to a fiery politician who rubbed shoulders with Winston Churchill and the Rothschilds. But it doesn't shy away from exploring the qualities that ensured Smallwood's political stranglehold as premier for nearly 23 years or the skirmishes surrounding his controversial success at pushing Newfoundland into Confederation. (Premiered in 1992 at Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador and its success led to a national tour of Canada; Cast: 1 man)

Tomorrow Will Be Sunday is adapted by Des Walsh from Harold Horwood's novel of the same name. The play deals with abuse perpetrated by a member of the clergy, depicting a remote community festering in hypocrisy and deception. Tomorrow Will Be Sunday is set in outport Newfoundland in the 1940s, and follows Eli Pallisher, the bookish son of a fisherman as he struggles with questions about his faith and his burgeoning sexuality. (Premiered in 1992 at St. John's Arts and Culture Centre; Cast: 2 women, 8 men)

Woman in a Monkey Cage is an iconic one-woman play by Berni Stapleton. The last woman alive tells her strange story of alien abduction and survival in an intergalactic zoo, with only an elephant for company. The subtext is that of one woman's survival of displacement from her culture, and from her very self due to a deeply wounding trauma. Woman in a Monkey Cage has been performed across Canada, and is a favourite for women who are seeking interesting audition pieces. (Cast: 1 woman)

The ALIENation of Lizzie Dyke is a one-woman satirical fantasy by Liz Pickard about love and betrayal. Lizzie Dyke squarely challenges society's vision of lesbianism and places political motherhood at centre stage. Lizzie is devoted to her children and never falters in her attempt to be her own person in a world intolerant of difference. (Cast: 1 woman)

About the Playwright:

Michael Cook (1933-1994) was an award-winning playwright and critic best known for his plays set in Newfoundland. He was born in London, England and emigrated to Canada in 1966. He became a drama specialist at Memorial University in St. John's, remaining at the school until 1980.

Al Pittman (1940-2001) was a writer who came as close as anyone to distilling the soul of Newfoundland on paper. He published six collections of verse, and also wrote two plays, works for children and songs. He is perhaps best known for his play West Moon.

Ray Guy (1939-2013) was a writer and journalist who skewered politicians in Newfoundland and Labrador in a wide-ranging career that lasted almost five decades. He wrote for newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the stage, and even a movie script.

Greg Thomey is Canadian comedian, actor and playwright and a founding member of the long-running television program This Hour Has 22 Minutes. He has been part of the comedy scene in St. John's for many years beginning as a writer and performer with the comedy troupe CODCO and as an actor and playwright.

Peter Soucy has been writing, acting, designing, and directing for stage, radio, and television since 1986. He is a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and taught secondary school Visual Arts for several years.

Janis Spence (1947-2008) was an actor, playwright and director who part of the amazing collective scene that helped spark an artistic renaissance in St. John's during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Tom Cahill (1928-2006) was a writer and broadcaster whose passionate interest in Newfoundland history inspired some of his plays and songs

Des Walsh is a veritable cultural icon in Newfoundland with six books of poetry published. He is also a noted screenwriter, playwright and musician.

Bernardine (Berni) Stapleton is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most distinguished – and busiest – playwrights and performers.

Liz Pickard is known as a singer, an actor, and a writer. But maybe the best way to describe her is as a performer – whether she's acting or singing she can fill the stage and hold the audience.

Denyse Lynde is a Professor in the English Department at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador where she is the Coordinator for the Program in Performance and Communications Media. She teaches practical theatre and television courses and her research has been predominately in Newfoundland drama. Her work has been published in Canadian Theatre Review, and in numerous other academic journals and newspapers.