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Willful Acts: Five Plays

Willful Acts: Five Plays
Your Price: $19.95 CDN
Author: Margaret Hollingsworth
Publisher: Talonbooks (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 287
Pub. Date: 1998
Edition: 2nd
ISBN-10: 0889223858
ISBN-13: 9780889223851

About the Plays:

Willful Acts is an expanded and updated collection of the best known and most popular full-length and one-act plays by Margaret Hollingsworth. The collection contains two full-length plays: Ever Loving (Chalmers and Dora Mavor Moore Award winner) and War Babies (Governor General's Award finalist), and three one-act plays: The Apple in the Eye, Diving and Islands.

Ever Loving follows the lives of a trio of war brides – English, Scottish, Italian – displaced by World War II and lured to these shores from 1938 to 1970 variously by adventure, romance, ambition. Margaret Hollingsworth simultaneously presents these women in Halifax, Hamilton and a farm in Alberta. (Premiered in 1980 at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria; Cast: 3 female, 3 male)

War Babies is a play about a couple awaiting the birth of their first child that centers around a play by Esme. Pregnant at the age of 42, this inner play by Esme explores her relationship with Colin, a war correspondent for a major Canadian newspaper. Esme spins an increasingly elaborate fiction; the worst possible outcome of their relationship. (Premiered in 1984 at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria; Cast: 3 female, 4 male)

The two shortest, The Apple in the Eye (Premiered in 1994 at UBC Womens' Writers Conference; Cast: 1 female, 2 male) and Diving (Premiered in 1983 at New Play Centre in Vancouver; Cast: 1 female), again explore the realm of mental withdrawal. The heroines of both plays pull back from the unpleasantness of reality and explore the landscapes within their own minds.

Islands was among the first plays to put lesbian characters front and centre on the Canadian stage. Muriel has retreated to one of the Gulf Islands on BC's west coast to be alone, only to be visited on the farm, first by her mother Rose and then by Alli (Allicia), an ex-lover. Alli herself has retreated into the safety of insanity from which she can freely express everything without inhibition. Rose is a widow about to remarry. She still has hopes her daughter will increase her acreage by finding a man. The combination of the three is explosive. (Premiered in 1983 at Waterfront Theatre in Vancouver; Cast: 3 female)

Commonwealth Games (formerly Blowing up Toads) is about an interracial romance at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, B.C. Three people vie for control over the life of a brilliant 20-year-old girl, Hannah (aka ''Toady''), who is an academic prodigy being educated at an Ivy League college in the US. She upsets her intellectual parents when she falls in love with Denny, a black British track-and-field star staying at her family home. (Premiered in 1996 at the Martha Cohen Theatre in Calgary during Alberta Theatre Projects National playRites Festival of New Plays; Cast: 3 female, 2 male)

What people say:

"All of these plays cry out to be acted; each one provides superb roles for performers and striking challenges for directors who are not content to take the easy way out…. While written with stylishness and wit from a woman's point of view, these plays are not rigidly feminist; although rooted in place, they are not restrictively regional." — Anne Saddlemeyer, from the Introduction

"Playwright Margaret Hollingsworth pulls no punches; she writes about alienation, isolation and the immigrant status of women with passion and clarity. Hollingsworth uses theatre as it should be used, as a revolutionary force, demanding change." — Judith Russell for Whig-Standard

"In Hollingsworth's plays, internal monologues and external dialogues usually combine to produce complex characters. If they are not our immediate friends, lovers or spouses, they certainly live no further away than down the block." — Jon Kaplan for Now

About the Playwright:

Margaret Hollingsworth is a principally known as a Canadian playwright and a short story writer. She was born in Sheffield and grew up in London, England where she wrote plays and worked in theatre while still a teenager. After emigrating to Canada from England in 1968 and settling at Thunder Bay, she spent 4 years as the Chief Librarian at the city's public library. She received a B.A. from Lakehead University in 1971 and moved to Vancouver in 1972, receiving an M.F.A. from the University of British Columbia in theatre and creative writing in 1974. She also became a Canadian citizen in 1974. Since then, she has taught creative writing at the David Thompson University Centre, Concordia University, Stratford Festival Theatre, University of Western Ontario, and University of Victoria while continuing her writing career. Having also written extensively for television and screen, she has received the Chalmers Award and the Dora Mavor Moore Award for drama along with three ACTRA awards for radio plays.