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Messenger
By (author): Wendy Lill
9781772011524 Paperback, Trade English General Trade DRAMA / Canadian Apr 03, 2017
$18.95 CAD
Active 5.5 x 8.5 x 1 in 128 pages Talonbooks
As in Ibsen’s Enemy of the People, two brothers struggle for power and ideals each believes are right. Set in the late nineteenth century in a coastal town in Norway, Enemy charts the journey of an idealistic and naive doctor who believes people will behave responsibly if given the facts, shown leadership, and pointed in the right direction. Instead, he discovers that, as individuals, we come with our own baggage, secrets, and self-interest that often defy and divert lofty goals. Ibsen explores the whole messy idea of democracy and how things change. Or don’t.

Messenger takes place in another country, Canada, and in another century but tackles similar themes. It is a memory play, set both in the present day and in 1990, when the Progressive Conservative government of the day, contrary to the public record, in fact set lofty goals of joining –
if not leading – the world in tackling climate change. The mechanism by which that goal was lost is played out primarily between two brothers. One brother, Peter, is the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, who wants to maintain political control and has many players and interests to juggle to keep his Prime Minister in office. The other brother, Thomas, is an idealist, a newly minted Cabinet minister who tries to show leadership and tell the truth about impending environmental crises and get the whole country on board with the rightness of his vision. The stakes are raised when strong family loyalties are tested by the crisis that ensues when Thomas refuses to back down from what he knows is right. A timely play in terms of environmental issues, full of lots of great political dirty tricks.

Cast of 3 men and 1 woman.

Playwright and politician Wendy Lill has written extensively for radio, magazines, film, and television. Her work has resulted in two ACTRA awards, a Golden Sheaf award (for her film Ikwo), a Chalmers award, a Gemini award, a New York Festivals Radio Program and Promotion Award, and four nominations for the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Drama (The Occupation of Heather Rose, All Fall Down, The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum, and Corker.) Chimera, her first play since leaving politics, premiered at the Tarragon Theatre. She created and was head writer for the award-winning CBC Radio series Backbencher.

Lill was born in Vancouver in 1950. She grew up in London, Ontario then completed a B.A. in political science at Toronto’s York University in 1970. She worked for nearly a decade in Toronto while pursuing her passion for writing part-time, before accepting full-time work in Winnipeg as a writer for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio in 1979. Lill remained in Winnipeg for nearly ten years, and during this time she began writing plays and developed a productive association with Prairie Theatre Exchange and its artistic director, Kim McCaw. In 1988, Lill moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to continue to write for the theater, as well as pursue her political ambitions. She is a co-founder of the Eastern Front Theatre Company in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (1993). Lill was elected as a Member of Parliament (NDP) for Dartmouth in 1997 and was re-elected in 2000 for a second term.

Messenger begins in the present day but flashes back to happenings in 1990 when the world was first awakening to the reality of climate change. The story is told through the eyes of Katharine Stockman (Burgandy Code), the wife of an impassioned, newly minted minister of environment named Thomas Stockman (Hugh Thompson). With the prime minister's blessing, Thomas is poised to reveal Canada's bold plan to lead the war on climate change. Unfortunately, when the political realities of alienating Big Oil are examined in the cold light of day, Thomas is left as a lone voice in the wilderness." —Kate Watson, The Coast

Messenger is more heart than history or politics. Lill keeps her audience on edge with her insights into the complexity of human dynamics." —Elissa Barnard, Halifax Chronicle Herald

"Go see Wendy Lill’s well-written, well-acted drama." —Kate Watson, The Coast

Messenger is more heart than history or politics. Lill keeps her audience on edge with her insights into the complexity of human dynamics." —Elissa Barnard, Halifax Chronicle Herald

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