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Sunday March 28, 2010 in Books
As Morris Panych’s latest comedy opens, we hear Iris, a precocious girl of ten, proclaim, “These are the last few days of my childhood.” The death of her goldfish, Amal, she is sure, has been announced by the air-raid sirens during the day’s school drill. For Iris, there remain a few more days of life in a universe that is inherently ordered, where the spirit of her departed and ritually interred goldfish can, of course, be reincarnated in a lost and amnesiac drifter given to rhetorical questions of seemingly deep philosophical import.
Iris’s terminally depressed parents, trapped within the nostalgic desires of their own lost youth, are oblivious to how the their daughter’s child’s-eye-view works and what it sees. They remember too well their own loss of innocence as they abandoned themselves to the existential chaos of adulthood. The middle-aged family boarder has spent years in a frustrated search for any kind of gratification, immediate or otherwise, at the Legion after a full day’s work in the fish cannery.
It is into the goldfish bowl of this dysfunctional family of lethargic piranhas, existential bottom-feeders, and aggressive guppies that the audience peers with incredulity, acute recognition, hysterical laughter, and an overwhelming sense of the creative healing power of the imagination.
Cast of 3 women and 2 men. Winner of the 2004 Governor General’s Award for Drama.
ISBN 13: 9780889224810 | ISBN 10: 889224811
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 128 pages
$17.95 CAN / $17.95 US
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000
QUOTES OF NOTE
“Panych’s script is exceedingly funny, but also challenging. Its dialogue is dense, particularly for its loquacious main character, and demands that its cast master comic timing in order for the jokes to land. … Panych’s script strikes a great balance between Iris’s optimism and the darkness her parents seem overcome by. As such, some of the comedy is deliciously grim, while other jokes are heartbreakingly innocent. The play lets its audience draw its own conclusions and leaves a little mystery in the end. It’s a satisfying choice that gives the whimsical piece a crucial touch of reality.”
“Arguably Morris Panych’s best play to date.”
“An uncommon, quirky blend of humour and compassion.”
“A quirky cocktail consisting of equal parts Pinter, Orton, and Disney, shaken by author-director Morris Panych in his own distinctive style.”
—Richard Ouzounian, Variety
Winner of the 2002 Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Original Play or Musical: Large Theatre (Gateway Theatre)
Winner of the 2003 Dora Mavor Moore Award General Theatre: Outstanding New Play (Tarragon Theatre)
Winner of the 2004 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama
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 more than ninety 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 Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.