Centre Stage: A Look at The December Man (L'homme de décembre)

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Hello everyone! Welcome back!

So much is happening at KWLT. We had auditions for the next show of the season, East of Berlin (cast to be announced soon). Our first workshop, Intimacy for Stage and Screen, is coming to Gaukel on December 14th (there are still a few spots left: https://buff.ly/2NZLGXv). Our Special General Meeting is happening at the KPL library main branch on November 24th at 3pm (https://mailchi.mp/d843fcc230f0/invitation-to-kwlt-special-general-meeting?e=3a22004b6d). Our holiday party is happening December 15th at the theatre (time TBD). And of course The December Man (L'homme de décembre) opens next week! Let’s look into that a little shall we!

What’s Up Next?

The Montreal Massacre occurred December 6th 1989 and took over the headlines for days but then it burned out just as quickly as it erupted. The December Man, written by Canadian playwright Colleen Murphy, is a fictional adaptation of a family who was struck by the massacre. Murphy takes us on a journey that shows us the aftermath of such a horrific tragedy. This One-Act, 90 minute, 3-hander play takes a look at what won't fade as quickly. 

 

A Little Bit About the Play:

The story follows the Fournier family: Benoit, Kate and Jean. Jean witnessed the event and suffers from survivor's guilt and PTSD. He is tormented by the ghosts of the women who died that day at École Polytechnique of the University of Montreal. He is haunted by his helplessness, so he turns to constructing models of buildings impervious to stress. He obsesses with learning karate so he will never again be a victim. Even more regret comes from knowing he was spared because of his sex. In nightmares he saves lives by growing arms and scooping up the endangered coeds, but each morning he wakes up a self-condemned failure.

Jean’s mother Kate and father Benoit try their hardest to help Jean in his time of need. The play starts off a few years after the massacre with Kate and Benoit getting ready to end their lives. From there the play moves back in time showing significant moments in their struggles until the fateful day it all began. 

Murphy exposes the human condition following  the disaster and touches on multiple themes and issues including survivor guilt, suicide, a seemingly permanent sense of threat and vulnerability, symptoms of PTSD, and the inability to explain the pain to anyone who wasn’t there.

 

Fun Fact!

The play premiered at Alberta Theatre Projects at the Enbridge playwrights Festival of New Canadian Plays in 2007, directed of Bob White. It won the 2006 Enbridge playRites Award, the 2007 Governor General's Literary Award for English Language Drama and was nominated for a Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play. It also won the Canadian Author's Association/Carol Bolt Award for Drama in 2008.

 

About the Playwright:

 (Playwright Collen Murphy)

Colleen Murphy is a Canadian playwright, screenwriter, and film director. She was born in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, in 1954 and was raised in Northern Ontario. She started out writing radio dramas, and her show Fire Engine Red won third prize in the CBC Literary Competition in 1985, which was also the year she was invited to join the Playwrights Unit at Tarragon Theatre and in 1987 Tarragon produced her first play All Other Destinations Are Cancelled.

She won her second CBC Literary Competition award in 1990 for her radio drama Pumpkin Eaters. She wrote and directed many shorts including Termini Station (just wrote), Putty Worm, The Feeler  and War Holes. She directed her first feature, Shoemaker in 1995 for The Feature Film Project at the Canadian Film Centre. It premiered at the 1996 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and played in film festivals around the world. It won the Audience Prize and shared the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the 1997 Internationales Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg, and was nominated for three Genie Awards.

She shot her second film Desire in 1999 and a compromised version of it premiered at TIFF in 2000 and then opened the 2000 Internationales Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg. The film was nominated for two Genies - Best Leading Actress and Best Leading Actor. 

She has served as playwright in residence at a variety of institutions, including the Factory Theatre in Toronto, Ontario; the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta; the Finborough Theatre in London, England and the University of Guelph. She was named playwright in residence at the University of Alberta's theatre department in June 2014. In 2017, she was awarded a New Chapter Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts for a large play entitled The Geography of Fire / La géographie et sa furie.

 

Fun Fact!

Murphy she is a two time Governor General Literary Award Winner for Drama - in 2016 for Pig Girl, and in 2007 for The December Man (L’homme de décembre). Twice she has won the Carol Bolt Award for Best Play as well. In 2017, Colleen had four world premieres in Canada including The Breathing Hole at the Stratford Festival, Oksana G. at Tapestry Opera in Toronto and The Society For The Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius at Rumble Theatre in Vancouver. 

 

 (Outside the École Polytechnique of the University of Montreal

 

Coming Soon!

Director Diana Lobb talks about the show, what to expect and the strong connection she has to it.

 

Want more? Let me know what you want to know about! Email me at , or DM me on facebook (@LegitElizabethMunz) or Twitter (@theatrenerd_e) and follow me!