My TWP Plays presents five important plays written by Jack Winter while he was resident playwright at Toronto Workshop Productions, one of the first great troupes of the experimental and alternative theatre movement. The carnivalesque style of the selected works in this anthology reflects the turbulence, contradictions, and subversion of the social revolution during which they were written and first produced, as well as the cultural politics at a time when Canadian artists were investigating new, non-colonial, and distinctly Canadian forms of expression that would define the nation and challenge received artistic styles and practices. Extensive notes by the playwright and a foreword by the director and dramaturge Bruce Barton (University of Toronto) illuminate an important two-decade period in the evolution of contemporary Canadian theatre, while providing glimpses of the artistic conditions, the cultural environment, and the personal circumstances within which the works were created.
Before Compiègne (1963) wildly imagines Joan of Arc’s final days.
The Mechanic (1964) and its experiments in form and staging offer a contemporary take on Molière and the commedia dell’arte.
The Death of Woyzeck (1965) dismantles, reconstructs, and rewrites Georg Büchner’s famous fragmentary original of 1837.
Ten Lost Years (1974) presents a highly theatricalized full-length dramatization of Barry Broadfoot’s collected interviews with Canadian survivors of the Great Depression.
You Can’t Get Here from There (1975) examines Canada’s involvement in the 1973 death of ousted Chilean president Salvador Allende.
Jack Winter has taught literature, modern theatre, and creative writing at several Canadian and British universities, including York University and Bristol University.
From 1961 to 1967, he was resident playwright at George Luscombe’s Toronto Workshop Productions, where he wrote seven stage plays. In a second tenure with TWP, he wrote five more.
Winter has published five books of poetry as well as a literary memoir, The Tallis Bag (Oberon Press, 2012), and a second anthology of plays, Party Day and Other Plays (Starburst, forthcoming 2014).
His poems, plays, fiction, and feature articles have been published internationally in magazines and newspapers, including Performing Arts in Canada, Theatre Research in Canada, The Guardian, Canadian Theatre Review, and Canadian Literature.
His many literary awards include the Toronto Telegram Theatre Award for Best New Canadian Play, the Canadian Film Award for Best Documentary Film, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Subject.
“A really excellent addition to our understanding of the birth of our modern Canadian theatre.”
– Peter McKinnon
Professor of Theatre, York University
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