Leave of Absence Front Cover

Paperback / softback
ISBN: 9780889227538
Pages: 128
Pub. Date: April 15 2012
Dimensions: 8.5" x 5.5" x 0.5"
Rights: Available: WORLD
Drama / DRA017000


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Leave of Absence

By Lucia Frangione

The booming bedroom community outside a large Canadian city is blown apart when fifteen-year-old Blake challenges long-held views of spirituality and sexuality. A student at the local Catholic high school, Blake confides in her best friend, Tracy, that she feels sexually attracted to her. At first encouraged and then rebuffed, Blake is eventually betrayed. Then, increasingly at risk among her peers, Blake finds the watchful and strict eyes of her Catholic school are no protection.

Vulnerable to collectivized hatred, she remains unprotected by the adults who guard her freedom – her mother, the school principal, the local priest – all respond in different ways, some liberally supporting her emerging sexuality; others quite conservatively vilifying her as a deviant, outside the church and outside the community. Ultimately, they do not act to protect her, and in their inaction, they are absent, truly unable to help. The audience is left with the question: Like these characters, what have we left undone? What ethics surround the absence of acting in response to another’s need?

At the centre of this searing drama of bigotry and transcendence is the brutal dehumanization of the other – of both the bully and the victim. The outcome challenges the Roman Catholic church’s response to the same-sex marriage rulings in Canada. Leave of Absence won the ACTivist theatre Amnesty International Playwright contest in 2011.

Cast of 3 women and 2 men.

“When the issue of hostility towards gays around the world is viewed along- side the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality … which state that being gay is an anomaly and intrinsically disordered, the problem is quite large … Socially aware and engaged theatre that strives to make a difference … can create a dialogue for change.”
– Mark Robins, GayVancouver.net

“The connection between sexuality and spirituality is … at the heart of Lucia Frangione’s Leave of Absence, and it is manifested especially in the lesbian awakening of the fifteen-year-old central character, Blake. Sister Margaret teaches her students about the female Christian mystics and recites their ‘lusty’ poems about longing for union with their saviour. Margaret’s appreciation for the feminine divine intermingles with Blake’s desire for her best friend. The result is tragic … as Blake is bullied, assaulted … Leave of Absence ends with a magical effect, as the air fills with singing that the playwright describes as ‘mystical’ and ‘miraculous.’ … [the key, for the audience, seems to be] to find the connection between the physical and the metaphysical, to embody a spiritual experience.”
Canadian Literature

“One of our most consistently interesting playwrights: intellectually and theologically sophisticated with a strong dose of eroticism and a nice sense of humour.”
– Jerry Wasserman, Vancouverplays.com