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Tuesday January 19, 2016 in Books
Canada’s master playwright applies his trademark black humour and incredibly crisp dialogue to the family and multiculturalism. We the Family follows the ripple effects within two culturally and racially divergent families when their children wed.
We the Family ’s list of characters reads like an ethnic joke, which, indeed, it is, at least in part: the son of the main characters, David and Lizzie Kaplan, a Jewish–Irish Catholic mixed marriage, marries the daughter of Jenny Lee, a Chinese Canadian widow. There’s also a Russian mistress, a Palestinian lover, and a glamorous, possibly fraudulent Italian psychologist, while offstage Pakistani terrorists kidnap the also-offstage honeymooning couple, then sell them to Sicilian gangsters who sell them to Russian gangsters, one of whom turns out to be the father of the Russian mistress (another family).
By the end of the play, Walker has deconstructed the dysfunctional Kaplan and Lee families and family love as well. Through the play’s pervading treachery, with family members and lovers betraying each other in horrifying ways, he satirizes the hypocrisy of expounding family values while behaving in viciously selfish and self-centred ways. These hyphenated Canadians certainly aren’t “nice,” and no amount of “sweet-and-sour matzah balls” (which the Kaplan matriarch serves at the multicultural wedding reception) can hide the nasty taste.
Read an excerpt from the opening scene on Meta-Talon.
ISBN 13: 9780889229822 | ISBN 10: 0889229821
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 128 pages
$17.95 CAN / $17.95 US
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000
QUOTES OF NOTE
“Walker’s finest work: it is both endlessly relatable and completely over-the-top; sharp yet sympathetic; dark and macabre without verging on sentimental pathos. As a family member in 2015, you must see this play.”
“If you have a taste for cynical and irreverent humour, death and depravity with a drum roll, this darkly comic culture clash will be right up your alley.”
– Mooney on Theatre
About the ContributorsGeorge F. Walker
George F. Walker has been one of Canada’s most prolific and popular playwrights since his career in theatre began in the early 1970s. His first play, The Prince of Naples, premiered in 1972 at the newly opened Factory Theatre, a company that
continues to produce his work. Since that time, he has written more than twenty plays and has created screenplays for several award-winning Canadian television series. Part Kafka, part Lewis Carroll, Walker’s distinctive, gritty, fast-paced comedies satirize the selfishness, greed, and aggression of contemporary urban culture. Among his best-known plays are Gossip (1977); Zastrozzi, the Master of Discipline (1977); Criminals in Love (1984); Better Living (1986); Nothing Sacred (1988); Love and Anger (1989); Escape from Happiness (1991); Suburban Motel (1997, a series of six plays set in the same motel room); and Heaven (2000). Since the early 1980s, he has directed most of the premieres of his own plays.
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.