Canadian Mosaic: 6 Plays


256 pages
ISBN 0-88924-264-X
DDC C812'.5408





Edited by Aviva Ravel
Reviewed by Ian C. Nelson

Ian C. Nelson is assistant director of libraries at the University of
Saskatchewan and président, La Troupe du Jour, Regina Summer Stage.


This anthology of plays aimed at students is meticulously edited and for
each play includes a biographical sketch of the author, original
production information, a cast list, snippets from reviews, brief notes
from the playwright, information on where to obtain performance rights,
and, where applicable, a glossary of “foreign” words. Given the
intended audience, it is unfortunate that the typesetting for these
helpful sections is undistinguished and totally unimaginative.

The perspectives featured are broad and varied: the survival experience
of First Nations peoples, the cultural shock and exploitation of new
immigrants, and the tension between respect of cultural heritage and the
rush to assimilation all find voice in these plays. It is not surprising
to find recurring themes of ethnic blindness (an investigator cannot
distinguish between Chinese and Japanese households), of differing
family values, of oppression of one’s own values, or of differing
regard for women. Each play has moments where its words stun like a
splash of ice-cold water: “Twenty years in this country and it feels
like I just landed.” Warning bells for youthful Canada are also
sounded on occasion; the Quebec referendum is likened to the partition
of India, for instance.

The styles of the anthologized pieces are as varied as the human comedy
they cover, frequently with a resonance of despairing struggle behind
even the most comic moments. All have been successfully produced.


“Canadian Mosaic: 6 Plays,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,