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Sunday March 28, 2010 in Books
Fastidious and fussy shoe salesman by day, and secretive aspiring film screenwriter by night, Oswald Eichersen’s dreams of success are as grandly inflated as his self-esteem is hopelessly deficient. Just outside Eichersen’s place of work, street person Terence Lomy has sat encamped for two years—an indelible fixture on the sidewalk with a cardboard sign round his neck with the word “hungry” scribbled on it in a hapless hand. One day, on an irrational impulse, having ignored the beggar for years, Eichersen gives Lomy a hundred dollar bill, setting into motion a series of ironic and completely unanticipated events that will change both of their lives forever.
But it’s not only Eichersen and Lomy that are changed by this irrational act of generous empathy. Through a hilarious series of bizarre encounters in the porn theatre that Lomy—a beguiling trickster who dares to claim it is actually he who has something of value to offer Eichersen—has chosen for a series of “rendezvous” with his benefactor, Eichersen finds himself in an unwanted relationship with a reformed hooker, as sexless a companion as his former longtime girlfriend with an irritating fetish for small dogs. As he helplessly witnesses his entire life disintegrate, only to be co-opted and appropriated by everyone around him, Eichersen ends up abandoned and penniless, on the lam for a murder he didn’t commit, absurdly preparing a lecture on Benevolence for the sole patron of the dark and dingy theatre of his nightmares.
Full of excruciatingly comic twists and turns of both fate and manipulative, perhaps even malicious intent, this dark comedy of “trading places” resonates with a cascade of uncomfortable truths about how we see (or don’t see) the people we live with every day.
Benevolence premiered at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto on September 24, 2007.
ISBN 13: 9780889225848 | ISBN 10: 889225842
6 W x 9 H inches | 128 pages
$16.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000
QUOTES OF NOTE
“No one can make total strangers engage quite like Morris Panych can. He does so by allowing the characters to open up to their enigmatic past in clear, natural, flowing streams of consciousness. His character drawing has never been stronger, his dialogue stringing never more kooky and laconic.”
“…a leathal mixture of black humour and social observation. When it comes to sparkling, erudite, bitchy dialogue, Panych, as a playwright, has few equals.”
— Toronto Star
About the ContributorsMorris Panych
Playwright, actor and director Morris Panych has been described as “a man for all seasons in Canadian theatre.” He has appeared in over fifty theatre productions and in numerous television and film roles. He has directed over thirty theatre productions and written over a dozen plays that have been translated and produced throughout the world. He has twice won the Governor General’s Award and has won the Jessie Richardson Theatre Award fourteen times for acting and directing. He has also been nominated six times for Toronto’s Dora Mavor Moore Award and three times for the Chalmers Award. His classic 7 Stories ranks 9th among the ten best selling plays in Canada, outselling the Coles version of Romeo & Juliet.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program; and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.