Bookville 2023 – Drama & Plays

For those with a flair for the dramatic, browse these handpicked Canadian plays! Read a play before you see it, or revisit a favourite.

All Books in this Collection

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  • among men

    among men


    1959, Ameliasburgh, Prince Edward County, Canada. On the edge of spring, two men are finishing an A-frame cabin on Roblin Lake. In the coming decade all three of them—Al, Milt, and the A-frame—will become famous and change the face of Canadian poetry. But for now all they have is the stench of sweat, whiskey, and words. From Governor General’s Literary Award–winner David Yee, among men is a poetic and charged portrait of male friendship in uncertain times, and a story of how Canadian literature was changed forever.

  • Blow Wind

    Blow Wind


    After years of running from her dysfunctional past, Sarah returns home to the family farm in Saskatchewan to find her mom Kathleen yelling into the wind, setting off a turbulent new chapter in her life. Instead of finding comfort in “home,” Sarah learns nothing is how she remembers it, and with Kathleen’s growing dementia, nothing will ever be the same again.

    Two of Sarah’s older siblings, Jolene and Steven, are more focused on the future ownership of the farm and are planning a supper that could help influence that decision. But Sarah turns her attention to Kathleen, who keeps chasing things that aren’t there: a fox, a hill, the answers to questions only Sarah’s adopted brother Tom holds the key to. When an unexpected outcome shocks the family at the supper, much more than the farm is at stake. 

    Blow Wind is a beautiful portrait—with musical accompaniment—of a family that together must build new paths forward while learning how to love, let go, and forgive.

  • Bluebirds



    Étaples, France, 1918. Nurses Christy, Maggie, and Bab have crossed oceans to care for wounded Canadian soldiers in the Great War. Despite the terrible injuries they must deal with, they manage to stay hopeful as the dangers of the front draw closer to their hospital.

    As each woman becomes accustomed to her duties and patients, they reveal more personal details to one another and through letters to loved ones. Maggie misses her close friend she lived with back home and worries for their future together. Christy writes to her soldier husband, but she knows there’s a difference between the life she should lead with him and the one she wants. Bab longs for what she can’t have: her beloved grandpa, a married soldier, a child. Through it all, the three women find friendship, independence, power, and influence in a place where men, once again, are trying to destroy the world.

  • Forgiveness



    Mitsue Sakamoto and Ralph MacLean both suffered tremendous loss during WWII: Mitsue as a survivor of a Japanese Canadian internment camp, and Ralph as a prisoner in a Japanese POW camp. In order to rebuild their lives and their families after the war, Ralph and Mitsue must find the grace and generosity necessary to forgive those who have wronged them. Their paths eventually cross in 1968 when Mitsue’s son and Ralph’s daughter begin dating, and Ralph is invited to Mitsue’s home for dinner.

    This soaring adaptation of Mark Sakamoto’s award-winning memoir affirms the power of forgiveness and shows us that in our challenging times characterized by political divisiveness, xenophobia, and race hatred, the story of Mitsue and Ralph’s personal triumphs over hatred, injustice, violence, and bigotry remains vitally relevant and urgently necessary.

  • Half-Cracked



    Sisters Sissy and Yewina have been on their own for who knows how long exactly. It’s just them (and their hens) in a weathered farmhouse miles from town. Their rural, woodsy East Coast community has been losing residents for years, but the almost-forgotten stories have lived on for the sisters in different ways. While Yewina is more guarded and level-headed, dreamer Sissy has a flair for twisting fact with fantasy. When Scott, a folklorist from Scottsdale, Arizona, shows up at their door in hopes of chronicling whispers, he’s in for much more of a story than he expected. This unique and quirky ode to folklore storytelling and to small lives lived large illuminates how living our own truths can make us legends.

  • Queen Goneril

    Queen Goneril


    Set seven years before King Lear, Queen Goneril centres the struggles of Lear’s daughters as they negotiate patriarchal systems built to keep them relegated to the sidelines. In Goneril, we find a natural-born leader. In Regan, a boundary pusher. And in Cordelia, a reluctant peacekeeper. As the three work to dismantle their individual constraints, a storm of inner reckoning begins to brew that reflects their deepest yearnings and mirrors our contemporary world.

    Whip smart and wide awake, Queen Goneril is another deliciously disruptive adaptation from Erin Shields. In her signature revisionist style, Shields investigates some of our most urgent feminist issues by reimagining the roles of women in classic texts—shifting them from subjects, objects, or witnesses to central figures of both their own lives and the story’s narrative. Queen Goneril lays bare the challenges of maintaining authenticity while achieving authority—how we retain a strong sense of self while twisting around systems meant to make us play small. A compelling story about complicated characters struggling—the way we all struggle—to find their place in this world.

  • Reasonable Doubt

    Reasonable Doubt


    A significant moment in Canadian history is portrayed in this documentary musical about race relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Weaving hundreds of real interviews conducted with Saskatchewan residents and the court transcripts surrounding the killing of Colten Boushie and trial of Gerald Stanley, a kaleidoscopic picture is formed of the views of the incident, the province, and relationships between all people in Canada.

    A verbatim play with music created by Joel Bernbaum, Lancelot Knight, and Yvette Nolan, Reasonable Doubt provides a space to honestly talk to each other about what has happened on this land and how we can live together. 

  • Stages



    Stages is packed with drama exercises and ideas that work, tested on the harshest of criticsÑhigh school students. Laid out in a clear, concise manner, they are categorized according to their purpose.

  • Text and Context

    Text and Context


    A handbook for script work and directing in the theatre, Text and Context: The Operative Word is essential reading for post-secondary students and young directors in the theatre, as well as an effective resource for other disciplines, including actors, designers, and production personnel. Part 1: Text describes the method of text investigation that Greenblatt has developed and employed over his four-and-a- half decade career, including a variety of exercises. It is a highly pragmatic and non-academic approach to discovering the essence of a script in order to reveal its potential for interesting and unique interpretations. Part 2: Context explores the various ideas, philosophies and precepts Greenblatt uses when directing for the stage, following the order and rhythm of most rehearsal processes. It challenges misconceptions about the position of the director, and debunks traditional assumptions that are harmful to a truly creative and inclusive process. Part 3: New Text examines three genres of theatrical works: Theatre for Young Audiences, New Play Development, and Devised Work, which utilize the principles of text analysis and directing found in the first two parts.

    Sprinkled with personal anecdotes, Text and Context: The Operative Word offers theatre practitioners techniques for communication and artistic collaboration, reimagines traditional hierarchical structures, and provides tools to create healthy, truly creative, highly productive, and more equitable processes of theatrical practice.

  • Two Ways About It

    Two Ways About It


    Like most Canadian playwrights of his generation, John Lazarus figured out the craft on his own. In doing that, he discovered a technique involving a dual approach: constructing plot on the one hand and improvising dialogue on the other. He’s been using that technique since 1977 and teaching it to others since 1990, and it works–for himself and for generations of Canada’s most successful theatre creators. In this book, John explains each of these “Two Ways” in detail, explaining why your characters won’t invent your story for you, how to construct a plot using cause-and-effect, and how to refine your dialogue for the actors by chewing on it yourself first. He also guides the reader through other aspects of the profession–from current issues around creativity, originality and cultural appropriation, to nuts-and-bolts concerns like script submissions, workshops, readings, rehearsals and opening nights. Informed by over 50 years of professional experience as an award-winning Canadian playwright, teacher and critic, and delivered with John’s breezy, informal style and sense of humour, Two Ways About It will give the beginner a dependable way into the profession and offer the more experienced playwright new and refreshing approaches to the art form.

  • William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, A Radical Retelling

    William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, A Radical Retelling


    The title of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It holds a double meaning that teasingly suggests the play can please all tastes. But is that possible? With his subversive updating of the Bard’s classic, Indigenous creator and cultural provocateur Cliff Cardinal seeks to find out. The show exults in bawdy humour, difficult subject matter, and raw emotion; Cardinal is not one to hold back when it comes to challenging delicate sensibilities.

  • Yaga



    She’s more than just a wicked old witch. Baba Yaga is a legend, usually known as that elderly woman who lives alone in the woods and grinds the bones of the wicked. But what if she was actually a sexy, smart, modern woman operating off of morally ambiguous motives? 

    A detective finds himself in a small, isolated town asking, what does the disappearance of the young heir to a yogurt empire have to do with some random lore about an old witch? Matched by an apprehensive local sheriff, a university professor with a taste for younger men, and a whole cast of curious characters, the Slavic myth of Baba Yaga twists into a new labyrinth of secret lives, ancient magic, and multiple suspects. 

    This genre-bending comedic fairy tale meets thrilling whodunit gives voice to an antihero of epic proportions while interrogating how her story has historically been told by men. From now on, you’ll remember the name Baba Yaga for the right reasons.