By the time he was writing Gossip in 1977, George Walker had already begun to shift his settings from, on the one hand, North America’s colonial roots in Europe, and on the other, its fascination with other, exotically foreign locales. Yet, even in The Power Plays, Walker is still exploring the ironic and dramatic possibilities of the stereotypes (albeit, by this time, home-grown ones) that continue to provide the fertile ground of contemporary North American sensibilities.
With his creation of the Governor General’s Award winning Criminals in Love (1984); the Chalmers Award winning Better Living (1986); and Escape from Happiness (1991), Walker embarked on a whole new direction in his evolution as a playwright. Much less of his comic irony now relied on the recognition of character, much more now relied on the creation of character. In a very real way, George Walker had freed himself to come home.” Set in what is transparently a single neighbourhood, the East End of Toronto, these three interrelated plays were quickly collected in a volume called, naturally, The East End Plays, in 1988. From here, George Walker moved in two related directions: to a further exploration of the margins of contemporary urban life in the global village with the three plays now collected in The East End Plays Part 2 (1999); and to the continued exploration of linking plays around a single location with the wildly successful six-part Suburban Motel (1998). The original three East End Plays are here published in a completely new and revised Talonbooks edition now called The East End Plays Part 1.