An award-winning playwright, Aviva Ravel has written several plays which have been performed on television and stages across Canada. She also teaches drama at McGill University.
The plays in this anthology have been selected to reflect the wide spectrum of ethnic communities in this country, and to illuminate the often painful world their members inhabit as outsiders to mainstream Canadian life. The plays explore cultural values, dual loyalties, and problems of adjustment.
Path with No Moccasins, by Shirley Cheechoo: A young Cree girl endures life at a residential school, and later heals herself. The play raises issues of identity, discrimination, and self-destruction, but ends positively. (1 character; four scenes)
The Tale of a Mask, by Terry Watada: Immigration to Toronto leaves a Japanese wife cut off from society, while her husband works at a low-paying job, and her son defies authority at home and at school. (5 characters; twenty-one scenes)
Dance Like a Butterfly, by Aviva Ravel: Tillie, a Jewish octogenarian, reveals vivid memories of her past, and looks forward to the fulfilling days ahead, in a journey that leads us to re-examine our conceptions of old age. (6 characters; thirteen scenes)
No Man’s Land, by Rahul Varma: They left East India for a better life for their daughter, but Qaiser and Jeena are cheated and exploited by employers and landlords; they sacrifice everything, including Jeena’s health. (8 characters; twenty-two scenes)
Going Down the River, by Kevin Longfield: Racial tension underlies the discussions of a black principal, a young white teacher, and the black mother of a problem son. The principal’s father acts as her conscience. (4 characters; one act)
Supplementary information for each play includes a glossary, biography of the playwright, and details of the first production. In addition, the playwright and editor provide some brief questions for each play, which can be used in class or discussion groups to stimulate debate and deeper understanding of the themes.
"This collection as a whole might well appeal to a cross-section of readers, both embracing differences and at times alienating."