The Fighting Days is set in Winnipeg during 1910-1917. The play focuses on the life and work of Francis Marion Beynon, a Manitoba journalist and political activist. When the play opens, Francis is on her way to Winnipeg, leaving behind a sheltered and religious rural childhood. Soon after she arrives she meets Nellie McClung and becomes involved in the Votes-for-Women movement. She also begins work as the women’s page editor for The Rural Review, airing her controversial political views on the editorial page. Suddenly, Canada is involved in World War I, and the conscription crisis divides the suffragists: should all women have the vote or just Dominion-born women who are sending their husbands and sons off to battle? Should women use their votes to push for conscription or to lobby for a swift end to the war?
A play about the polarities of public and private lives, and about issues of racism and pacifism within the women’s movement, The Fighting Days deals with timeless moral concerns. Francis Beynon, says the playwright, ?gave up everything for her beliefs and one can only hope the world’s a better place for it.
Playwright and politician Wendy Lill has written extensively for radio, magazines, film, and television. Her work has resulted in two ACTRA awards, a Golden Sheaf award (for her film Ikwo), a Chalmers award, a Gemini award, a New York Festivals Radio Program and Promotion Award, and four nominations for the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Drama (The Occupation of Heather Rose, All Fall Down, The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum, and Corker.) Chimera, her first play since leaving politics, premiered at the Tarragon Theatre. She created and was head writer for the award-winning CBC Radio series Backbencher.
Lill was born in Vancouver in 1950. She grew up in London, Ontario then completed a B.A. in political science at Toronto’s York University in 1970. She worked for nearly a decade in Toronto while pursuing her passion for writing part-time, before accepting full-time work in Winnipeg as a writer for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio in 1979. Lill remained in Winnipeg for nearly ten years, and during this time she began writing plays and developed a productive association with Prairie Theatre Exchange and its artistic director, Kim McCaw. In 1988, Lill moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to continue to write for the theater, as well as pursue her political ambitions. She is a co-founder of the Eastern Front Theatre Company in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (1993). Lill was elected as a Member of Parliament (NDP) for Dartmouth in 1997 and was re-elected in 2000 for a second term.
“An unusually insightful investigation of social conscience. ”
— Arts Manitoba
?An unusually insightful investigation of social conscience. ?
? Arts Manitoba