Four New Canadian Plays Will Emerge at Ontario's Blyth Festival in Summer 2008

News   Four New Canadian Plays Will Emerge at Ontario's Blyth Festival in Summer 2008 The Blyth Festival, the intimate summer festival devoted exclusively to works by Canadian authors — in contrast to the nearby Stratford Festival, whose mandate is Shakespeare first — will offer four world premieres in 2008.

In rural Blyth, in southwestern Ontario, surrounded by farms and not far from Lake Huron, the festival will stage the following play in rotating repertory:

  • Against the Grain by Carolyn Hay, directed by Eric Coates. June 17-Aug. 16.: "Henry Jamieson has a dream. Where some people see barren land, Henry only sees opportunity. After a lifetime of hard work, Henry Jamieson has built himself an empire of Manitoba grain. But who will take the reins of the family business if his son David doesn't wake up and seize the opportunity? Seen through the eyes of his young granddaughter, the story of Henry's life is distilled into one fateful and unforgettable moment. This sweeping family drama provides lots of laughs to balance the epic struggle between father and son. Inspired by the playwright's family history, Against the Grain follows one man's rise to power as he sacrifices everything for the sake of the almighty dollar."
  • Harvest by Ken Cameron. June 25-Aug. 16: "Allan and Charlotte have retired from farming, and even though they've sold the land and moved to a tidy little condo in town, they can't bear to part with the old farmhouse itself. So, they rent it to Ron, a nice young man who seems too good to be true. Sure enough, Ron's behavior soon starts to make them uneasy — he pays his rent in cash, he has no furniture, and his roommate is a very businesslike Rottweiler. When Ron suddenly disappears, Allan and Charlotte discover that their old house is still being used for farming, but the crop isn't exactly legal. Both hilarious and sobering, Harvest is based on the true story of a couple that nearly lost their life savings when 'a nice young man' turned their Elgin County family farm into a marijuana grow-op."
  • Courting Johanna based on an Alice Munro story, adapted for the stage by Marcia Johnson. July 23-Sept. 6: "In this story, two teenage girls play an idle game that spins out of control when boredom turns into mischief. Inspired by their game, the girls write a flurry of fraudulent love letters to Johanna, a hard working, but unwitting, housekeeper. Believing that the letters come from an honorable man, Johanna revels in the hope that she can leave her housekeeping days behind her. When she makes a daring choice, it changes the course of her life and of those around her. No other writer has ever captured the essence of life in Huron County quite the way that Alice Munro has. The Blyth Festival is honored to present this play, [adapted from the short story 'Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage' by Munro, one of] Canada's greatest short story writers."

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  • The Steven Truscott Project (working title) by Beverley Cooper, directed by Miles Potter. July 30-Sept. 6.: "In Clinton Ontario, on June 12, 1959, Steven Truscott was arrested for the murder of Lynne Harper, a 12-year-old child. After a trial that lasted only 15 days, Steven Truscott was sentenced to death. He was 14 years old. Forty-eight years later, Steven Truscott's name has been cleared, but the question remains…how could such a thing happen in Clinton, Ontario? Playwright Beverley Cooper tackles this delicate subject with great sensitivity to the past, present and future, as she explores the far-reaching effects of crime and punishment. …The Blyth Festival leaves judgment to the courts, but trains a spotlight on human nature in this compelling chapter of local history." Eric Coates is artistic director of the Blyth Festival. Performances play in the historic Blyth Memorial Community Hall. For more information visit www.blythfestival.com or call (519) 523-9300 or (877) 862-5984.

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