Taking Liberties and Into


95 pages
ISBN 0-88754-512-2
DDC C812'.54





Reviewed by Laila Abdalla

Laila Abdalla is an associate professor of English at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, and former professor at McGill University.


Taking Liberties, a play about the changing face of prejudice, presents
a series of monologues about the victims and effects of bigotry. It thus
lays before us a checklist of Western culture’s acts of misconduct,
ranging from the persecution of homosexuals, through the conservative
control over what is considered appropriate school reading, to the
implicit contradictions in freedom of speech. But good intentions do not
always make for good reading or viewing, and unfortunately, in this
play, there is a touch of overeager earnestness that leads to

While the play is not unengaging, it is unsubtle and pedantic (with its
sledgehammering political stances and clichés), and lacks essential
dramatic techniques that move or challenge an audience (without
attention to the development of characters and the details and nuances
of relationships, what is intended as tragedy often lapses into

Into is a far wittier and more original piece of work. Although the
play’s finale manipulates trite conclusions about the isolation and
alienation of modern life, the body of the drama remains humorous and
absorbing. Four representatives of society, each from a different walk
of life, are thrown together in a traffic jam that lasts for a couple of
seasons. Forced to communicate, they form a community to negotiate
treaties with others on the highway (such as the “Anne Murrayites”)
and find ways to regulate behavior for the greater good while catering
to the individual need. The play is an allegory on contemporary urban
life and the aridity of the human soul. Carley here exhibits the art of
writing conversation, as well as the talent of depicting the unusual
within the common person.



Carley, Dave., “Taking Liberties and Into,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/6518.