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Monday March 29, 2010 in Books


By Josh MacDonald

According to Newfoundland’s first premier, Joey Smallwood, the province was dragged “kicking and screaming into the twentieth century” by ambitious government ­resettlement plans to depopulate small fishing outports. Through a kind of carrot-and-stick approach, communities were ­encouraged to abandon themselves in ­exchange for financial aid and the promise of ­better services in centralized “growth towns.” More than thirty thousand Newfoundlanders relocated under this plan ­between 1954 and 1975.

Set in a one-room schoolhouse during the ­decisive evening of a ­community’s vote on whether to stay or leave, Whereverville is an intriguing reversal of and ­homage to Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk ­Circle. Whereas in Brecht’s play the conclusion of the conflict over a community is that “those best able to take care of the land should possess it,” in ­MacDonald’s play, it is that “those no longer able to take care of the land should leave it.”

In both plays, it is the heart and mind of a young woman bereft of her future on which the action turns. It is Loam Bay’s schoolteacher, Abby Shea, herself “from away,” who holds the deciding vote as she struggles with her own phantom attachment to the community, its citizens and its ghosts of times past, and it is she who must learn that sometimes, in order to keep what we hold most dear, we must give it away—that “nothing lasts.”

Cast of 1 woman and 4 men.

ISBN 13: 9780889225060 | ISBN 10: 889225060
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 96 pages
$15.95 CAN / $15.95 US
Rights: World
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000
Paperback Edition


“Whereverville is highly engaging.”
—Royal National Theatre, Great Britain

“[Whereverville is] emotional, poetic, humourous and character-rich.”
—Mail Star, Halifax

“An intelligent playwright with a love of humanity, MacDonald has a gift …”
—Chronicle Herald, Halifax

“Appearances are deceptive [in Whereverville], no less in the play’s form than in its plotting. A well-crafted and multilayered script.”
—University of Toronto Quarterly

“Josh MacDonald is one of Nova Scotia’s theatrical young Turks … crafting highly compelling theatre that cuts close to the bone.”
—Globe and Mail

About the Contributors

Josh MacDonald

Josh MacDonald is a writer and actor living in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. His first play, Halo, has toured throughout Canada and is Two Planks’ largest box-office success to date. MacDonald’s latest play, Whereverville, also produced by Two Planks, went on a national tour in the 2004-2005 season. His comedy-drama feature film Faith, Fraud & Minimum Wage will be released in theatres by Seville Pictures/Entertainment One in October 2010.


Josh MacDonald

Halo cover

Josh MacDonald

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