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Saturday March 27, 2010 in Books
What makes Chimera so compelling is that Wendy Lill has lived almost all the roles the play dramatizes: NDP critic for both culture and persons with disabilities, she came to politics after a career in community health care and as a reporter for the CBC.
This play arose from her experience as one of the parliamentarians who passed a Canadian law in 2004 concerning human reproductive technologies. She recalls being at a conference where a spokesman for a pharmaceutical company boasted about the array of new pre-diagnostic tests being developed to detect anomalies in fetuses. “I was sitting in this room with many people with disabilities and I realized that what he was saying is that quite possibly a lot of these people would not be around today. They wouldn?t have been born.”
The ethics of stem-cell research—in particular the creation of crossspecies “chimeras,” the mixing of genetic material from humans and animals, is a hotly debated topic with political, scientific, moral and spiritual dimensions. While such experiments could hold the key to curing many diseases, to their detractors they conjure up everything from visions of divine retribution to sci-fi nightmares from B-grade horror films. To explore this controversy, Lill created a chimera of her own: a hybrid play that’s part Parliament Hill exposé, part examination of the efforts to regulate genetic engineering.
ISBN 13: 9780889225695 | ISBN 10: 889225699
6 W x 9 H inches | 96 pages
$15.95 CAN / $15.95 US
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000
QUOTES OF NOTE
The play comes at a propitious time.
— The Scientist
About the ContributorsWendy Lill
Wendy Lill has not only written extensively for radio, magazines, film, television and the stage, but has also been active in national politics. In 1979, while with CBC Radio in Winnipeg, Lill wrote her first play, On the Line, to dramatize the plight of striking Winnipeg garment industry workers. Since then, her plays have gone on to examine the Canadian women’s suffrage movement (The Fighting Days); aboriginal-white relations (The Occupation of Heather Rose, Sisters); pedophilia and mass hysteria (All Fall Down); the slashing of social programs (Corker); and the dangerous lives of coal miners in her adopted province of Nova Scotia (The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum).
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.