Ostensibly about CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and the virus that may or may not cause it, Chronic puts one woman’s dis-ease under the theatrical microscope along with various other pathologies of modern life. At first Petra seems familiarly neurotic, a Woody Allen character refracted through George F. Walker. But as Griffiths examines the psychological, social, and sexual dimensions of Petra’s experience in her desperate pursuit of a cure, as well as her medical treatments, her strange dreams, and the peculiarities of her post-industrial workplace, the stage becomes an environmental petrie dish, a fascinating experiment in the ecology of illness.
Playwright/actor Linda Griffiths is the winner of five Dora Mavor Moore Awards, a Gemini award, two Chalmers awards, the Quizanne International Festival Award and Los Angeles's A.G.A. Award for her title performance in the John Sayles film Lianna . She's been nominated twice for the Governor General's Award. Her twelve plays include Chronic, Alien Creature, The Duchess: a.k.a Wallis Simpson and Maggie & Pierre . She is the co-author (with Maria Campbell) of The Book of Jessica .
Professor of English and theatre at the University of British Columbia, Jerry Wasserman has written and lectured widely on Canadian drama. His books include Spectacle of Empire: Marc Lescarbot’s Theatre of Neptune in New France, Theatre and AutoBiography (with Sherrill Grace), and Twenty Years at Play, all published by Talonbooks. He has more than two hundred professional acting credits on stage and screen, and has reviewed more than fifteen hundred plays for CBC Radio, the Province newspaper, and his website, Vancouverplays.com. Wasserman has received the Killam Teaching Prize (1998), the Dorothy Somerset Award (2005), and the Sam Payne Award (2012), honouring a lifetime of achievement in the performing arts.
Introduction / preface
In Chronic Linda Griffiths has written what she calls an "ecodrama," tracing the multitudinous connections and delicate balances linking the seen and unseen, the present and past, the psychological, physiological, technological and just plain illogical. Chronic doesn't show us a wasteland ravaged by fatal plagues and self-inflicted poisons. Not yet. Just a girl who can't get better and a wisecracking virus and a "coupla martoonies" after work. —from the introduction by Jerry Wasserman
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