80 pages
ISBN 0-88922-365-3
DDC C812'.54





Reviewed by David E. Kemp

David E. Kemp is a drama professor at Queen’s University and the
author of The Pleasures and Treasures of the United Kingdom.


Morris Panych is a writer, director, and actor who received the Governor
General’s Literary Award for his play The Ends of the Earth in 1994.
For Vigil, a two-character black comedy in which a man returns to
“oversee” the slow death of a female relative, he received a Jessie
Award for Outstanding Original Play in 1996.

The protagonist of this brilliantly theatrical play is a shallow
narcissist who uses acid wit and a seemingly callous indifference to
cover the extreme discomfort he experiences upon finding himself part of
a death watch. Deliciously absurd and poignant, Vigil is a play of
twisted circumstances, mistaken identity, and surprising turns. The man
is a superbly written and multifaceted character, while the woman’s
determination not “to go gentle into that dark night” is as
memorable as anything the contemporary theatre has to offer.


Panych, Morris., “Vigil,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,