2015 Provincial Drama Festival
The 2015 Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Festival will be held in Gander from April 5-11
August: Osage Countyby Tracy Letts
Sunday, April 5th – 8:00 PM
Avion Players, Gander
Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is a fraught, densely plotted saga of an Oklahoma clan in a state of near-apocalyptic meltdown. Fiercely funny and bitingly sad[a] turbo-charged tragicomedy…” —NY Times. “In Tracy Letts’ ferociously entertaining play, the American dysfunctional family drama comes roaring into the twenty-first century with eyes blazing, nostrils flaring and fangs bared, laced with corrosive humor so darkly delicious and ghastly that you’re squirming in your seat even as you’re doubled-over laughing.
THE STORY: A vanished father, a pill-popping mother, three sisters harboring shady little secrets. When the large Weston family unexpectedly reunites after Dad disappears, their Oklahoman family homestead explodes in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. Mix in Violet, the drugged-up, scathingly acidic matriarch, and you’ve got a major new play that unflinchingly—and uproariously—exposes the dark side of the Midwestern American family.
“Tracy Letts, in his Broadway debut, creates a hugely ambitious, highly combustible saga that will leave you reeling. AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY may make you think twice about going home for the holidays…it’s a great big exhilarating gift.” —NY Daily News.
“Packed with unforgettable characters and dozens of quotable lines, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is a tensely satisfying comedy, interspersed with remarkable evocations on the cruelties and (occasional) kindnesses of family life.” —NY Sun.
“This is a play that will leave us laughing and wondering, shuddering and smiling, long after the house lights come back on.” —NY Newsday.
“This original and corrosive black comedy deserves a seat at the dinner table with the great American family plays.” —Time Magazine.
WARNING – LANGUAGE may be offensive to some
Molly on the Shoreby Frank Holden
Monday, April 6th – 8:00 PM
School Zone Productions, St. John’s
Molly on the Shore is another award-winning script from the brilliant mind of writer/director Frank Holden (Judge Prowse Presiding) and the School Zone Production team behind Giovanni’s Women. A death in the family casts four people into a cauldron of love and anger. A floundering marriage and budding attractions force Kate and Lar, Patsy and Brendan to settle their differences one way or the other. This universal story – set in Newfoundland – is filled with rich language and daring humor as it exposes the intimate cruelties we learn in family and community, and how we both practice and deny them in daily life.
The Selkie Wifeby Kelley Jo Burke
Tuesday, April 7th – 8:00 PM
Northcliffe Drama Club, Grand Falls-Windsor
An ancient Celtic myth explodes in the centre of a modern Canadian family in this strikingly original drama by Kelley Jo Burke. When Mary gets a surprise visit from her old friend Gen, we learn that Mary has a secret that could threaten her life with husband Cal and teenage daughter Brigit. No ordinary secret, this. As it turns out, Mary is a “selkie”–a seal who sheds her skin to mate with a human male, then returns to the water with her offspring. But Mary, happy with Cal, decided to stay on land. And now, twenty years later, Gen has come to take her back into the water. Accompanying Gen is Dylan, her vital young seal lover (in human form), whose animal attraction to Brigit is immediately evident. In a very short time, the ordinary world Mary has built is turned upside-down. The situation is ripe for laughter, and there are moments of uproarious comedy throughout the play. But Burke’s themes are serious, and the questions her characters face go to very the essence of their lives; The Selkie Wife is a dramatic meditation about love and sex, about freedom and oppression, about making concessions and making choices.
Agnes of Godby John Pielmeier
Wednesday, April 8th – 8:00 PM
Mokami Players, Happy Valley-Goose Bay
Summoned to a covent, Dr. Martha Livingstone, a court-appointed psychiatrist, is charged with assessing the sanity of a novice accused of murdering her newborn. Miriam Ruth, the Mother Superior, determindly keeps young Agnes from the doctor, arousing Livingstone’s suspicions further. Who killed the infant and who fathered the tiny victim? Livingstone’s questions force all three women to re-examine the meaning of faith and the power of love leading to a dramatic, compelling climax. A hit on Broadway and later on film.
“Riveting, powerful, electrifying drama…the dialogue crackles.” —New York Daily News.
“Outstanding play [that]…deals intelligently with questions of religion and psychology.” —The New York Times.
“Unquestionably blindingly theatrical…cleverly executed blood and guts evening in the theatre.” —New York Post.
Vimyby Vern Thiessen
Thursday, April 9th – 8:00 PM
St. John’s Players, St. John’s
From April 9 to April 12, 1917, about 24,000 Canadian troops fought successfully to gain control of the strategic escarpment known as Vimy Ridge in northern France from the Germans. The Canadian Corps suffered 10,602 casualties: 3,598 killed and 7,004 wounded. Thiessen’s play focusses on a four wounded soldiers recovering in a field hospital in Boulogne-sur-Mer, tended by the nurse Clare, from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. Her story is based on The War Diary of Clare Gass, edited by Susan Mann. In her care is Sid, a Winnipeg labourer, now blinded; Jean-Paul, a Québécois butcher, with shell shock; Mike, a Blood Indian scout from Alberta, suffering from poison gas inhalation; and Will, a canoe-maker from Ontario, whose left arm and should are severely damaged. Thiessen’s four patients thus present a cross-section of Canada, just as the real Canadian Corps was said to be.
Initially none of the four claim to remember what happened to them, but as the play progresses, seemingly insignificant words or objects will trigger memories that actors then re-enact. The play thus becomes a communal memory play for the four patients and Nurse Clare, who also lost someone important in the battle, namely Laurie, a Nova Scotia Highlander, who hoped to marry her once the war was over.
Thiessen very skillfully intertwines these five stories playing certain themes against each other. Jean-Paul enlists hoping to have a better life on his return than being a butcher. This mundane motivation contrasts with Mike, who has a vision on a mountaintop that he interprets as a command to go to war. Sid and Will joined for the sake of adventure, but there is a strange tension between the two in hospital that is only gradually revealed. In contrast, Clare and her beau Laurie, who becomes a Nova Scotia Highlander, join as patriotic duty. Though the escalating squabbles between Jean-Paul and Mike, Thiessen shows that communal combat has not cured the participants of prejudice.
Fat Pigby Neil LaBute
Friday, April 10th – 8:00 PM
Northern Lights Theatre Company, Labrador West
Neil LaBute titled the play Fat Pig (which first premiered off-Broadway in 2004) to get our attention. However, if he wanted to be blunt, he could have named the play Cowardice, because that is what this comedy-tinged drama is really about. Tom is a young urban professional who has a bad track record of quickly losing interest in the attractive women he dates. Although in comparison to his crude friend Carter, Tom seems more sensitive than your typical cad. In fact, in the first scene of the play, Tom encounters a smart, flirtatious woman who is described as very plus-sized. When the two connect and she gives him her phone number, Tom is genuinely interested, and the two start dating. However, deep down Tom is shallow. He is too self-conscious about what his so-called “work friends” think about his relationship with Helen. It doesn’t help that he dumped a vindictive co-worker named Jeannie who interprets his overweight girlfriend as a personal attack. It also doesn’t help when his sleazy friend Carter steals a photo of Helen and emails a copy to everyone at the office. But ultimately, this is a play about a young man who comes to terms with who he is.
WARNING – LANGUAGE may be offensive to some
The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?by Edward Albee
Saturday, April 11th – 7:00 PM
Off-Broadway Players, Corner Brook
Winner of the 2002 Tony Award for Best Play.
“THE GOAT is about a profoundly unsettling subject, which for the record is not bestiality but the irrational, confounding, and convention-thwarting nature of love. Powerful [and] extraordinary…Mr. Albee still asks questions that no other major American dramatist dares to ask.” —NY Times.
“…as challenging—and…as outrageously funny—as theater gets.” —NY Post.
“…as fine a piece of theatrical art as any Edward Albee has created—and perhaps boldest of them all.” —Houston Chronicle.
“The edgiest, most fervently debated Broadway play of 2002…” —Seattle Times.
WARNING – LANGUAGE and SUBJECT MATTER may be offensive to some