UWinnipeg Theatre presents Our Country’s Good

WINNIPEG— The University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film closes its 2011/2012 theatre seasonMarch 27-31 with Our Country’s Good. This award-winning play will be directed by Theatre Projects Manitoba Artistic Director Ardith Boxall.

Our Country’s Good is based on the novel The Playmaker by Thomas Keneally (author of Schindler’s List). In 1787, eleven ships sailed from Britain to Botany Bay in the newly “discovered” territory of Australia. The First Fleet carried a cargo of convicts and Royal Navy Officers on course to establish a penal colony in New South Wales. In 1789, the convicts were allowed to put on a play, The Recruiting Officer by George Farquhar.

Our Country’s Good tells the story of this production from initial idea to opening night. The convict show faces obstacles at every level but the journey on which it takes the brutalized prisoners – and its eventual triumph – is a powerful affirmation of the redemptive qualities of culture and education. Director Ardith Boxall says “This award-winning play is much more than a period drama.  It emphasizes the theatre’s potential to change lives, the human ability to transcend circumstances, and the power of language.  It is a perfect play in which senior theatre students can celebrate their chosen field of study.”

“It is a modern play,” notes Timberlake Wertenbaker. “I’m trying to write about how people are treated, what it means to be brutalized, what it means to live without hope, and how theatre can be a humanizing force.” (New York Times Sept 1990)

Thirteen actors play 22 characters, most taking on contrasting roles of both officer and convict. The dramatic structure of Our Country’s Good makes particular demands on all actors and technicians and provides exciting challenges for every area of study within the department. The 22 scenes demand quick shifts in time, tone, and mood, and serve to create a stage reality that is overtly theatrical, one which uses light, sound, and scenery to support a presentational style that is neither a “slice of life” nor a naturalistic portrait of 18th-century Australia. Wertenbaker layers style and theatricality with her incredible use of language to create the world and inhabitants of New South Wales, using theatre to find hope in a hopeless situation.

The set is designed by department alumni Sean E. McMullen.  Costumes are designed by Kelsey Noren and lighting is by Katherine Johnston and Airyn Lancaster.

Performances are Tuesday, March 27 through Friday, November 30 at 8:00 pm and Saturday, March 31 at 7:00 pm at the Gas Station Arts Centre, 445 River Avenue. Admission is free but reservations are recommended.

Please call our 24-hour Reservation and Information Line at 204.786.9152 or visit The University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film

For more information, please contact:
Patty Hawkins
Department of Theatre and Film
The University of Winnipeg
T: 204.786.9955

Comments are closed.