Canadian Plays Recommended by Playwright - Beverley Cooper

About the playwright:

Beverley Cooper is a writer, actor and teacher. She has written for TV, film and extensively for CBC radio drama, twice being nominated for Writers’ Guild of Canada Awards. Her plays have been produced across Canada, including; Clue in the Fast Lane (co-written with Ann-Marie MacDonald); Thin Ice (co-written with Banuta Rubess, Chalmers/Dora Award); The Eyes of Heaven; The Woman in White (adapted from the novel by Wilkie Collins); The Lonely Diner: Al Capone in Euphemia Township; Janet Wilson Meets the Queen (nominated for Prix Rideau Award) and, most recently,  If Truth Be Told which was produced by The Blyth Festival in 2016. Innocence Lost: A Play about Steven Truscott was a finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award and was on the Globe and Mail Bestsellers List, a first for a Canadian playwright. She has presented her work at WPI conferences in India, Stockholm and Cape Town. Her plays are published by Scirocco Drama. Beverley trained as an actor and has performed in TV, film and in theatres across Canada. Beverley holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. She recently was the recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship to look at ways to renew the art of radio drama. She is currently writing a play for 4th Line Theatre. Learn more about her work here.

"It’s so hard to narrow this list down when there are such terrific plays to choose from! I had to stop myself from extending the list with favourite plays by Judith Thompson, Robert Chafe, Brad Fraser, Morris Panych..."

1. Hosanna by Michel Tremblay

I was in high-school when the original Tarragon production came to the Cultch in Vancouver. Richard Monette played the heartbroken drag queen Hosanna. Our drama teacher told us to go see it. I sat in the front row with my friend Mary and had my socks knocked off. My head blown open. All those kind of metaphors are applicable. This play made me want to pursue a life in the theatre. It’s beautiful, truthful, touching and funny.

To apply for performance rights and other inquiries, please contact Goodwin Agency (artistes@agencegoodwin.com)

2. The Farm Show by Paul Thompson and Ted Johns

I have a soft spot for this beautiful play about farm life in Southern Ontario. I’ve seen it performed several times and also acted in a production of it. It’s the first collective I was aware of – a precursor to devised theatre. We folks living and creating in cities sometime poo-poo work being done in rural communities but we shouldn’t. The work coming out of places like The Blyth Festival, 4th Line or Caravan is stellar. This play has so much heart and humour.

To apply for performance rights and other inquiries, please contact Playwrights Guild of Canada (marketing@playwrightsguild.ca)

3. Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann-Marie MacDonald

I had the great joy of playing Juliet in the premiere production of this super-smart play. It’s not an easy play to perform (speaking verse, learning dances and fights, lots of quick changes) but sooo much fun to do. Ann-Marie knows how to both challenge and delight her audiences.

To apply for performance rights and other inquiries, please contact Lorraine Wells & Co. (contact@lorrainewellstalent.com)

4. Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing by Tomson Highway

Another gob-smackingly terrific play. I saw it several times but my favourite was seeing it at the Royal Alex and watching the blue-rinse set practically levitate out of their seats. It is irreverent, hilarious and devastating. A sprawling, beast of a play with lots of male parts. For the female flip side The Rez Sisters is a theatrical treat as well.

To apply for performance rights and other inquiries, please contact Suzanne DePoe (suzanne@ctiam.ca)

5. The December Man (L’homme de d cembre) by Colleen Murphy

This quietly devastating take on the Montreal Massacre breaks my heart. Colleen changes how we perceive the story by turning the structure up-side down. It’s brilliant.

To apply for performance rights and othe inquiries, please contact Kensington Literary Representation (kensingtonlit@rogers.com)

6. Pyaasa by Anusree Roy

I always love Anusree’s work, both as an actor and a writer. This one-person play is beautifully structured. The play is set in Calcutta, and follows the story of a young girl born to the untouchable caste in India. It’s full of heart, light and incomparable insight.

To apply for performance rights and othe inquiries, please contact PGC Publications (info@playwrightsguild.ca)

Would you like to see recommendations by your favourite playwright next month? Click here to nominate your playwright.