That Summer

By David French

That Summer
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It's Memorial Day, 1990, and Margaret Ryan has returned from Vermont to the Ontario cottage country where, thirty-two years before, she had vacationed with her disintegrating family at a lakeside resort. For herself and her sister Daisy, it was a time of awakening, a time of ... Read more


Overview

It's Memorial Day, 1990, and Margaret Ryan has returned from Vermont to the Ontario cottage country where, thirty-two years before, she had vacationed with her disintegrating family at a lakeside resort. For herself and her sister Daisy, it was a time of awakening, a time of discovery.

Both of the girls fall in love with two of the local boys. Daisy, on the lookout for action, cruising the dances at the resort, can't deal with what she initiates, and falls victim to her own confusion and naiveté. Not even the neighbour, the eccentric, bourbon-drinking, cigar-smoking Mrs. Crump, who knows all the fairy-tale spells to capture the heart of a lover, can save Daisy from drowning in her own misadventure.

At the same time, Margaret, bookish and withdrawn, inhabiting a universe defined by poets and novelists, is seduced in spite of herself.

As Margaret, the narrator, watches Maggie, her younger self, relive the innocence and beauty of that summer, the play moves inexorably back to the heartbreak of a headlong surrender to experience, both won and lost in a single day.

Cinematic in its feel and pacing, recalling the 1950s genre of Dirty Dancing and My American Cousin, That Summer is a meditation on what endures of fleeting moments over time.

Cast of 5 women and 2 men.

David French

David French
Born in Coley’s Point, Newfoundland, David French was one of Canada’s best-known and most critically acclaimed playwrights. His work received many major awards, and French was one of the first inductees into the Newfoundland Arts Hall of Honour.

Among his best-loved works are the semi-autobiographical Mercer plays: Salt-Water Moon, 1949, Leaving Home, recently named one of Canada’s 100 Most Influential Books (Literary Review of Canada) and one of the 1,000 Most Essential Plays in the English Language (Oxford Dictionary of Theatre), Of the Fields, Lately and Soldier’s Heart. The Mercer plays have received hundreds of productions across North America, including a Broadway production of Of the Fields, Lately. This quintet of plays about a Newfoundland family has also touched audiences in Europe, South America and Australia. In addition, French produced skillful adaptations of Alexander Ostrovsky’s The Forest, Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull and August Strindberg’s Miss Julie.

Reviews

"That Summer is a gentle, moving, and decidedly literary eulogy for lost youth."
Quill & Quire

“The quiet sense of wonder, of bygone innocence conveyed through this lovely play is as refreshing as a summer storm after a heat wave.”
The Kitchener-Waterloo Record

"That Summer is a gentle, moving, and decidedly literary eulogy for lost youth."
Quill & Quire

“A lyrical and beautifully constructed meditation on the passage of time…David French is a playwright at the height of his powers.”
Canadian Book Review

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