Blyth Festival (a summer festival devoted to the development of new work not far from the Stratford Festival) has announced its 24th season for next summer, beginning with a newly updated version of Joanna Glass's evocative Yesteryear, about an Irish sweepstakes ticket that turns a tightly knit prairie town upside down. Glass is a sophisticated and engaging writer whose plays are well known internationally.
And Andrew Moodie, who has another new play opening later this season at Factory Theatre, is premiering Huron County Blues. Moodie's rough-edged and kinetic Moodie's Riot was a huge hit at Factory earlier and propelled him into the rarefied world of the successful playwright.
Huron County Blues is described as being about a Nigerian immigrant who seeks a safe haven for his teenage son away from the tensions of a Toronto ghetto. (I didn't think we had ghettos in Toronto -- I thought they were "ethnic communities.") It's that kind of straight-talk that has made Moodie a hit with downtown, urban, audiences -- it will be fascinating to see how the blue collar country folk around Blyth take to his point of view.
More along the lines of what one associates with Blyth is Keith Roulston's Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. The story revolves around the new mayor of fictional Winstead, who, hoisted on his own petard of election promises, leads a larger-than-life cast through a frolic of economic opportunism. Meanwhile, the young women of the town are cooking him a dish of humble pie, garnished with a dollop of love at first sight.
Call 519-523-9300 for a 1998 season brochure. The season opens on June 26. --By Mira Friedlander Canadian Correspondent