Heaven is George F. Walker’s ?millennium play.’ Well, sort of, if we can free ourselves from the expectation of the usual science-fiction-based projection and imposition of our current personal, cultural and spiritual values on the future of the coming millennium, considered almost mandatory for authors working in this particular genre. As usual, Walker sees things a bit differently: he intimates the future by having a very hard look at some unanswered questions from the Judeo-Christian-Muslim past which has pretty much determined the evolution of western, especially white, male-dominated civilization, for the last two thousand years.
Five instantly recognizable multi-cultural characters play out their coincidental relationships in a very contemporary paradise-a park on the outskirts of a city. All of them are, in one form or another, engaged in the ?fundamental right’ of the pursuit of their own happiness, whether that means acquiring life skills, improving their career prospects, working on their family relationships, increasing social justice in the world, balancing the concerns of crime and punishment or integrating more closely with what they identify as their own communities. Of course, the pursuit of these personal goals, usually considered as good and worthwhile in our society, pits each of these characters irrevocably against each other.
In this comedy of how individual good intentions carried to their absurd extremes inevitably frustrate the goals of others, Walker leaves us with two unanswered questions: ?What is so ?good’ about our good intentions?” and, ?What do we imagine our reward for them (Heaven) to be?” Wasn’t it some other place, the road to which was paved with?
George F. Walker
George F. Walker is one of Canada’s most prolific and widely produced playwrights. His work has been honoured with eight Chalmers Awards and five Dora Awards. His plays Criminals in Love and Nothing Sacred each won Governor General’s Awards for Drama. In 1999 Talonbooks released The East End Plays: Part One (which includes Criminals in Love, the Chalmer’s Award-winning Better Living, and Escape from Happiness) and The Power Plays (a collection containing Gossip, Filthy Rich, and The Art of War).
“gritty and intense … Heaven is a very angry production. It’s a show filled with conflict, where the players seem to be battling one another from the moment the lights go up. The language is blunt and the constant barrage of racial slurs shocking and unapologetic. Many of the strongest characters are irredeemable and unlikable, resulting in an angst-filled production gripped by a constant sense of anxiety.”
– Kawartha Now