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Tuesday January 21, 2014 in Books
Eighteen-year-old Connor, an aspiring author whose fantastical stories foretell his growing struggle with depression, can’t wait to be free of his adverb-wielding, solve-it-all mother, Sharon. But six weeks after leaving for university, he drops out and returns home.
Dan Mulano is an infatuated new dad and well-meaning police officer whose selfishness is veiled by the lofty aspirations he holds for his family. His wife, Janie, a former addict and exhausted new mom, struggles to cope with the challenges of recovery in the midst of her battle with postpartum depression, which Dan dismisses as “just hormones.”
A precipitous incident brings the two families together. When Connor’s erratic behaviour at an underground train station requires police intervention, Dan responds to the call and makes the arrest, but the teen’s jaw is broken during the incident. Is it police brutality or self-harm? For Sharon, there is no question; she portrays Dan as a reckless cop in the media, while he remains silent, refusing to break protocol and
tell his story.
Inspired by an event in British Columbia that shattered the public’s confidence in the police – the 2007 Tasering death of Robert Dziekanski during his arrest at the Vancouver airport – The Valley dramatizes the volatile relationship between law enforcement and people in the grip of mental illness. In addressing this fraught relationship, award-winning playwright Joan MacLeod empathizes with both parties, each of whom is guided by good intentions but equally challenged by their own
cultural biases and flawed humanity.
ISBN 13: 9780889228467 | ISBN 10: 0889228469
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 96pp pages
$16.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000
QUOTES OF NOTE
“A wonderful piece of writing … not to be missed”
– Toronto Star
“a powerful, thoughtful and unsettling exploration of the complexities of love, the law and mental illness. … In conversations around policing and mental illness, it’s easy to elect villains but The Valley doesn’t allow any of its characters to fall into caricature.”
– Vancouver Sun
“The Valley is like a rickety sculpture. It’s lopsided. It barely holds itself up. And yet there’s a kind of beauty in it. … [it makes] emotional and poetic sense.”
– Georgia Straight
“There’s a lot of empathy in the writing and between the characters … The Valley’s structure turns out to be more inspired by aboriginal approaches to conflict than Aristotelian ones. … [the staging] underlines the question that underpins the whole play: What would you do?”
– Globe and Mail
“A gripping, emotional play that will have you shifting your allegiances from one character to another as the truth is revealed”
– Calgary Sun
“The Valley is full of universal truths and intimately unique characters. It’s also remarkably topical.”
– The Martlet
“With her new play The Valley, playwright Joan MacLeod peers behind the headlines in a subtle work that avoids all the romantic traps that typically ensnare those who write about mental illness. Focusing on two families, she takes a close, clear-eyed look at our society – one where individual rights and freedoms are constantly clashing with the desire to protect, at home and on the streets.”
– Globe and Mail
"Joan MacLeod’s script is impressive and balanced, allowing issues to be explored but not exploitative. She has explored the dark, isolating energy often associated with Vancouver (which was recently voted the world’s least livable city, once again) in this script, which visualized the brooding sense of the city through these characters."
– JJ Brewis, Lords of Dogwood
About the ContributorsJoan MacLeod
Multiple Betty Mitchell, Chalmer’s, Dora and Governor General’s Award-winning author Joan MacLeod grew up in North Vancouver.
Now an internationally celebrated star of the world of the theatre, MacLeod developed her finely honed playwriting skills during seven seasons as playwright-in-residence at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, and turned her hand to opera with her libretto for The Secret Garden, which won a Dora Award.
In 1991, her play Amigo’s Blue Guitar won the Governor General’s Drama Award.
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.