The time: 1938. The place: S.S. #1 Jericho School, a one-room schoolhouse in a farming area just outside the fictional village of Baker’s Creek. There, a delightful but unmanageable group of children finally meets its match—Melita Linton, an 18-year-old teacher fresh out of Normal School. But Miss Linton soon faces her own challenge, in the form of Ewart, a menacing and mysterious juvenile delinquent sent to “straighten out” on a farm after doing time in Battenville Training School. The play chronicles Miss Linton’s struggle to connect with a boy who has cut himself off from everyone, including himself—and to persuade the cautious and close-knit community to open its arms to this stranger in their midst.
Full of warmth and poignant humour, Schoolhouse evokes a way of life shared by generations of rural North Americans, exploring timeless themes of rejection, of compassion, of damage, of hope. It is a story about insiders and outsiders, and the fact that every time you draw a circle, some things are inside the circle and some things are not. In the end, the play is about those on the outside—about people who often “don’t have the words” to express themselves or the training to cope with their lives but who have to get through anyway—those we leave behind to their own devices, who set themselves free.
Cast of 5 women and 7 men.
“A thoughtful … well crafted … beautifully inspired piece. Like Blyth Festival, Schoolhouse is a Canadian story. It is an excellent choice to mark the theatre’s 100th milestone, compelling and richly rural.”
“Under the (quite-skilled) storytelling, the play is an exuberantly theatrical and moving tribute to the schoolhouse itself, filled with memories and local details distilled from Brodie’s extensive interviews with former teachers and students who shared the experience of the one-room school.”