The Fight­ing Days fea­tures en­gag­ing, en­ter­tain­ing per­for­mances

Rave re­views for Per­form­ers’ Theatre Com­pany’s pro­duc­tion

Sackville Tribune - - TANTRAMAR/OBITUARIES - BY MEG ED­WARDS SPE­CIAL TO THE TRI­BUNE- POST Meg Ed­wards is the com­mu­ni­ca­tions co­or­di­na­tor for the Play­wrights At­lantic Re­source Cen­tre.

The Per­form­ers’ Theatre Com­pany has had an­other hit with their re­cent pro­duc­tion of The Fight­ing Days, writ­ten by Nova Sco­tian play­wright and Play­wrights At­lantic Re­source Cen­tre Life­time mem­ber, Wendy Lill.

Lill is well known for her so­cial con­science and served as an NDP Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment from 1997 to 2004. The pro­duc­tion was en­gag­ing and en­ter­tain­ing with strong per­for­mances from the en­tire cast.

The Fight­ing Days was con­fi­dently di­rected by an emerg­ing lo­cal play­wright, Sue Rose, who re­cently won a Script Hap­pens dra­maturgy work­shop in Saint John for her new play, Zeus in a Zoot Suit. Rose’s first play, Safe Har­bour, was pro­duced by The Per­form­ers’ Theatre Com­pany last year. She is also known as a graphic artist and her skills were vis­i­ble in the beau­ti­ful set.

The Fight­ing Days takes place in the 1900s in Win­nipeg and fol­lows the life of a young news­pa­per writer, Fran­cis Mar­ion Beynon. Fran­cis ar­gues pas­sion­ately for the vote for im­mi­grant women, even when it pits her against her men­tor, the ac­tivist Nel­lie Mcclung, who be­lieved that only Em­pire women should have the vote while the men were in­volved in the war.

There are heated ex­changes be­tween the young anti- war ide­al­ist Fran­cis (played by Ma­halia Thomp­son-onichino) and Nel­lie Mcclung (played by Val­lie Stearns-an­der­son). And al­though it is a play of ideas and de­bate, it is not with­out emo­tion.

Fran­cis and her sis­ter Lily (played by Fiona Brett) sup­port each other through dif­fi­cult times and the hard-talk­ing ed­i­tor Ge­orge Mc­nair (played by Mike Gal­lant) tries to per­suade Fran­cis of the joys of do­mes­tic life, to no avail. Sue Rose has a small but de­light­ful role read­ing the let­ters that are sent by Fran­cis’s read­ers. The hu­mor­ous let­ters are a win­dow into the homes of women de­bat­ing the is­sues, but whose most press­ing need is for re­pro­duc­tive con­trol.

The po­lit­i­cal tur­moil of The Fight­ing Days seemed to play into the hands of the au­di­ence. It was es­pe­cially poignant when a char­ac­ter, who had lost his job due to be­ing out­spo­ken, is said to be mov­ing to the United States where it is still a “true democ­racy.” This brought a col­lec­tive, cyn­i­cal chuckle from the crowd.

It is ex­cit­ing to think that The Per­form­ers’ Theatre Com­pany has just be­gun to tap into the many scripts writ­ten by our very own At­lantic play­wrights. Stephen Pud­dle, artis­tic di­rec­tor of the com­pany, is a fre­quent and wel­come vis­i­tor to the Play­wrights At­lantic Re­source Cen­tre Script Li­brary, which is in the base­ment of the Crab­tree Build­ing on the Mount Al­li­son Univer­sity cam­pus.

The PARC Script Li­brary holds more than 800 At­lantic scripts and the non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion runs a two-week writ­ing re­treat for play­wrights ev­ery spring as well as cabarets, read­ings and work­shops to foster play­wrights and help them de­velop and pro­duce their work.

and ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion are avail­able on­line. Only on­line ap­pli­ca­tions will be ac­cepted. The ap­pli­ca­tion dead­line is Nov. 30.

PHOTO SUB­MIT­TED

Fran­cis Beynon, played by Ma­halia Thomp­son-onichino, and Ge­orge Mc­nair, played by Mike Gal­lant, per­form in a scene from The Per­form­ers’ Theatre Com­pany’s pro­duc­tion of The Fight­ing Days.

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