The play focuses on "the Macready brothers, Stephen (Richard McMillan) and Seamus (John Dolan), straight off the famine ships and set loose in a strange new world," according to production notes. "The trouble all begins one evening when Seamus, full of drink, accidentally kills Stephen's son with an axe. Both brothers agree: this demands restitution. Seamus, a civilized man, insists on the right to choose his own punishment, but all goes awry when Stephen begins to crave more justice. Fed up with the bloody family feud, Seamus' daughter Bridget (Lisa Norton) decides it's time to take matters into her own hands. She is determined to make the impossible happen — a Christmas reconciliation."
The play, from the author of Mad Boy Chronicle, is billed as "a joyous, rollicking comedy about faith, family, murder, suicide, manslaughter, bare-knuckle boxing, the Irish Famine, man-eating sharks, dog-fights, crucifixion, vivisection, alcoholism to be sure — but at last, a tale of two brothers."
Audiences are warned of "extreme violence, much blasphemy and tons of profanity!"
Michael O'Brien's recent works include Mad Boy Chronicle (Governor-General's Award nominee), Shores of Wonder (CBC Radio) and The Last Temptation of Christopher Robin. His adaptations of classics include A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist (LKTYP) and Hard Times (National Arts Centre).
He has also dramatized two novels by Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale and The Blind Assassin, and The African Safari Papers by Robert Sedlack (CBC Radio). As a lyricist he collaborated with the likes of Allen Cole, John Roby and David James Young. Sarah Stanley directs Restitution. The cast includes John Dolan, Kelli Fox, Jefferson Mappin, Richard McMillan, Alon Nashman and Lisa Norton.
The design team includes Carolyn Smith (set and costume design), Dean Cowieson (lighting), Cathy Nosaty (original music and sound).
Opening at the Factory Theatre Mainspace is Jan. 8, 2004, following previews.
Factory Theatre is at 125 Bathurst Street (corner of Adelaide Street). For more information, call (416) 504-9971 or visit www.factorytheatre.ca.