Robert Dow, born in New Brunswick, grew up in Ontario. When he spent some time in the southern United States, Dow did not expect the impact the "Southern woman with her beguiling ways" would have, resulting in a world premiere of his new play in Toronto. Audiences were treated to this powerful new drama Back To Welcome that opened May 11 at the Canadian Stage Theatre, 26 Berkeley Street in Toronto, where it will run until May 25.
The seed began germinating, but it took 12 years to start to put the play on paper, and three years to write. This three-hander (set in Welcome, Georgia in August 1978) is based on bipolar southerners whom all have deadly secrets. Dearie Kiss (Sharman Gurr) and Ben Kiss (Peter Marshall), as brother and sister, and Catherine Mason (Susan Stanford) gather at the funeral of Dearie and Ben's mother.
In a maelstrom of bawdy humor and scathing wit, Dearie, Ben and Catherine are forced to examine their past and present lives.
Dominating Dearie, complex and volatile, charming Ben who is ever so slightly not quite right in the head, and mysterious Catherine whose compelling past brings her Back To Welcome for resolution become combatants in this drama. The highs and lows of their emotions are roughly exposed.
At the curtain call, when the three hold hands and bow to their applause, they actually smile genuinely at each other, jolting you back into reality. You were in Welcome, Georgia only in your mind. This play was the inaugural production of The Toronto Theatre Ensemble whose mandate is to "present new plays, written by Canadians, in a venue of the core of our largest city, Toronto." Lighting and Sound designed artfully by Marshall Paul, impeccable Production Stage Management by Steven Moore, and original music by Stephen Charles. Call the box office for tickets: 416 368-3100.