Unity (1918)Front Cover

ISBN: 9780889224612 | paperback / softback

$17.95 | 128 pages | Pub. Date: 2002
6.00 W × 9.00 H × 0.35 D inches
Drama | Backlist | Bisac: DRA013000
ISBN 13: 9780889224612 | Rights: WORLD

In the fall of 1918, a world ravaged by four years of war was suddenly hit by a mysterious and deadly plague—the “spanish Flu.” The illness struck not only the young and the elderly, but also people in the prime of their lives, advancing rapidly toward mortality in its victims. This phenomenon in effect brought the terror, the panic, the horror and the sense of helplessness of the Great War home with the returning soldiers—more people died of this epidemic than had been killed in battle throughout the armed conflict.

As fear of the dreaded flu begins to fill the town of Unity with paranoia, drastic measures are taken. The town is quarantined in an attempt to keep the illness out. Trains are forbidden to stop, no one can enter, and the borders are sealed. Mail from overseas, feared to be carrying the deadly virus, is gathered and then burned. But when the disease descends upon the town despite their precautions, the citizens begin to turn on each other as they attempt to find a scapegoat for the crisis.

Very little has been written about this worldwide calamity which, more than the war itself, destroyed forever the genteel and naive presumptions of European colonial society at the beginning of the twentieth century. Kevin Kerr offers audiences not only an epic chronicle of this forgotten chapter of Canadian history, but a chilling preview of the beginnings of our own new century.

The play is a gothic romance, filled with dark comedy and the desperate embrace of life at the edge of death.

Winner 2002 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama

Winner 2001 Jessie Richardson Award for Large Theatre: Significant Artistic Achievement Nomin

Winner 2001 Jessie Richardson Award for Sydney Risk Award (Arts Club Theatre)

By Kevin Kerr

Kevin Kerr is playwright and founding member of Vancouver’s Electric Company Theatre. In 2002 he received the Governor General’s Literary Award for his play Unity (1918), which has been produced across Canada as well as in the United States and Australia. Other works include Studies in Motion (Electric Company Theatre) and Skydive (Realwheels). Kevin was Lee Playwright in Residence at the University of Alberta in Edmonton from 2007 to 2010. He returned to Electric Company Theatre in 2011 as Artistic Director.

Read more about Kevin Kerr


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