More Plays by Carol Shields
These currently unpublished plays
range from three plays, Women Waiting, The
View and Air Talk that were originally
Radio Dramas broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Company,
to Unless, Carol's Shields' own adaptation,
with her daughter Sara Cassidy, of her last novel. The stage
play was produced in Toronto, Vancouver and Scarborough,
England in 2005 and in Victoria in 2006.
For those who may be interested
in producing one of Carol Shields' plays at your theatre
or school, please contact Great North Artists Management,
Inc. regarding rights and reading scripts.
Great North Artists Management, Inc.
350 Dupont Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Contact: Rena Zimmerman
Unless: the Play
Reta Winters has many reasons to be happy:
Her three almost grown daughters. Her twenty-six-year
relationship with their father. Her work translating the
larger-than-life French intellectual and feminist Danielle
Westerman. Her modest success with a novel of her own,
and the clamour of her American publisher for a sequel.
Then in the spring of her forty-fourth year, all the quiet
satisfactions of her well-lived life disappear in a moment:
her eldest daughter Norah suddenly runs from the family
and ends up mute and begging on a Toronto street corner.
Around Norah's neck; a hand-lettered sign reading GOODNESS.
Goodness. With the inconceivable loss
of her daughter like a lump in her throat, Reta tackles
the mystery of this message. What in the world has broken
Norah, and what could bring her back to the provisional
safety of home? Reta's wit is the weapon she most often
brandishes as she kicks against the pricks that have brought
her daughter down. Carol Shields brings us Reta's voice
in all its poignancy, outrage and droll humour. -
inside dust jacket flap of the first hardcover edition
Carol Shields adapted her novel Unless
for a stage play with her youngest daughter Sara Cassidy.
Carol died before the play hit the stage but was able
to participate in early readings of the play. Sara continued
to work to bring Carol's play to life after her mother's
Unless was produced by the Canadian
Stage Company, Toronto in association with the Arts Club
Theatre, Vancouver and the Belfry Theatre, Victoria. It
was also produced by the Stephen Joseph Theatre Company
in Scarborough, England. Unless has a cast of 7
actors, four women and three men, some playing multiple
Unless your heart is made of stone,
you'll love the conjunction of words and imagery that
makes Unless a must-see."
- Vancouver Sun
A beautiful, heart-wrenching tale
of pain, enlightenment and reconnection by one of Canada's
- Belfry Theatre
By Carol Shields and Sara Cassidy
Reviewer Jane Penistan
A parent's worst nightmare is to lose
a child. Unless, by Carol Shields, examines all
the aspects of a grown child abandoning her family and
friends and going to live on a bleak and sinister street
corner in friendless Toronto. The domino effect this has
on all the members of the family is that this child is
effectually lost to all of them.
…a unique and stimulating evening
- Colin Thomas,
A couple goes to view a nearly completed
apartment to rent. When the manager and his secretary
return to the office downstairs, Patty and Richard find
themselves locked out on a balcony on the 11th floor of
a vacant apartment building in the middle of winter.
This play was originally written as a
Radio Drama for the CBC Manitoba Anthology Series.
Lottie anxiously waits at home for word
from the doctor as her husband John undergoes heart surgery.
Her friend Myra drops by to keep her company. Myra is
concerned because her husband Ferd is away on business
and travelling by plane. The women begin to imagine how
their lives would change if something was to happen to
their husbands and soon their dreams are voiced.
Winner: First prize for Radio Drama,
CBC Literary Awards 1983
Two men sit side-by-side in a small aircraft.
During the flight, the two strangers find themselves inventing
mutual friends and situations and talking about the mysterious
Air-Talk can be found in Instant
Applause: 26 Very Short Complete Plays, published
by Blizzard Publishing, Winnipeg, 1994. It is a collection
of twenty-nine complete plays lasting no longer than ten
to fifteen minutes each.
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