Modern Canadian Plays, Vol. 2. 4th ed.


464 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-88922-433-4
DDC C812'.5408





Edited by Jerry Wasserman
Reviewed by David E. Kemp

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


The first edition of Modern Canadian Plays, spanning the years
1967–85, established itself as the leading Canadian theatre textbook.
Such seminal texts as George Ryga’s The Ecstacy of Rita Joe, David
French’s Leaving Home, Rick Salutin’s The Farmer’s Revolt, and
David Fennario’s Balconville were contextualized with bibliographies,
critical commentaries, and reviews. Writing in Modern Drama, Brian
Parker called editor Jerry Wasserman’s introduction “the best short
outline I know of the development of Canadian theatre.”

The fourth edition of the classic text has been expanded to a
two-volume collection of 24 plays. Volume Two, which deals with the
period 1985–97, recognizes the rise of women playwrights with works by
Kelly Rebar (Bordertown Cafe), Sally Clark (Moo), Joan MacLeod
(Amigo’s Blue Guitar), Judith Thompson (Lion in the Streets), and
Djanet Sears (Harlem Duet). Quebec playwrights such as Robert LePage and
Marie Brassard (Polygraph) and Michel Marc Bouchard (The Orphan Muses)
are represented in English translations, while the emergence of a
culture of Native playwriting is acknowledged through the inclusion of
Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing by Thompson Highway. Wasserman’s
introductions provide a fascinating and revealing glimpse into
Canada’s theatrical heritage.


“Modern Canadian Plays, Vol. 2. 4th ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024,