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The Watershed
Print Edition
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$18.95 CDN

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$18.95 US

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Tuesday January 19, 2016 in Books

The Watershed

By Annabel Soutar

How much do we value clean water? Enough to stop our industrialized way of life from degrading it? The documentary play The Watershed follows an artist and her family in the struggle to chart a sustainable course between economic prosperity and environmental stewardship.

Largely constructed from original interviews conducted by the playwright, The Watershed brings to the stage a multiplicity of ideological perspectives and conflicting visions for Canada’s natural resources, and its characters speak the words of real Canadians from all across the political spectrum.

As the play reaches its boiling point, one thing becomes abundantly clear: a contemporary play about water in Canada must also be about oil. And so the playwright and family travel to Alberta’s tar sands, encountering along the way some of the world’s great freshwater scientists, some of Canada’s fiercest environmental activists, and impassioned individuals at work in the country’s burgeoning oil sector.

Policy is anything but dry in The Watershed; in fact, it holds startling implications for our national identity and future.

Cast of eight women and men.

ISBN 13: 9780889229884 | ISBN 10: 0889229880
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 144 pages
$18.95 CAN / $18.95 US
Rights: World
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000
Paperback Edition


“Everything about The Watershed is huge: its physical scale, its thematic ambition, and the stakes attached to the issues it explores.”
Georgia Straight

“Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon Family Vacation pales beside the road trip Annabel Soutar took her family on in 2014.”
Calgary Herald

“Humour … plays a crucial role in diluting the potentially hard-to-swallow muesli of facts and figures. … an enjoyable, often thoughtfully stimulating trip.”
Montreal Gazette

“A deluge of … information [about political minutiae and environmental matters regarding the Experimental Lakes Area], lucidly decoded, with a droll drama about a squabbling family taking a road trip across Canada. … So absorbed was I in reading the published text of The Watershed, I inadvertently left a tap running after making myself a coffee.”
Montreal Gazette

“It’s a sprawling affair. … The pursuit of … intriguing, disturbing and complex questions gives the play’s first act considerable dramatic propulsion. At the same time Soutar weaves in personal concerns…”
Toronto Star

“Soutar grafts the intimacy of naturalism onto epic theatre’s more alienating theatrical tricks. With the help of a crackerjack team of artists, Soutar succeeds in marrying these two disparate styles … The division of parts is gender blind and colourblind, and new roles are often adopted in full view of the audience. The puppeteers aren’t just showing their strings; they’re shining a spotlight on them, making it impossible to forget they are always simulating real events. … The Watershed is a globally networked world; everyone is one lighting cue away from everyone else. … Harper’s government must rely on Soutar to speak for them because it stubbornly refuses to speak for itself – but not every playwright would strive to be so fair. … a piece of theatre that advocates not just for the Canadian environment but also for generations who will fight to protect it in the years to come.”
Canadian Theatre Review

The Watershed asks us to resist our ideological impulses, start listening to one another, and have some long, hard conversations about what kind of country we want our kids to inherit.”
Globe and Mail

“Documentary theatre at a very high level … We need more political drama like this. We need more politics like this.”
National Post

“Exhaustively researched and performed with verbatim dialogue that’s been edited from dozens of hours of interviews … The Watershed is must-see theatre.”
NOW Toronto

About the Contributors

Annabel Soutar

Annabel Soutar is a Montreal-based playwright and theatre producer. In 2000 she co-founded the theatre company Porte Parole Productions with actor Alex Ivanovici, and she has acted as artistic director of the company since its inception. Annabel takes a documentary approach to theatre and since 1998 has applied it to her original plays, Novembre, 2000 Questions, Santé!, Seeds, Import/Export, and Sexy béton.

[The Watershed cover]
The Watershed

Annabel Soutar

Seeds cover

Annabel Soutar

Copyright Talonbooks 1963-2018



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.

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