Books

The finalists for the 2022 Governor General's Literary Award for drama

The $25,000 prizes recognize the best Canadian books of the year.

The $25,000 prizes recognize the best Canadian books of the year

The 2022 Governor General's Literary Awards for drama finalists. (Canada Council for the Arts/CBC)

Here are the finalists for the 2022 Governor General's Literary Award for drama.

The Governor General's Literary Awards are one of Canada's oldest and most prestigious literary prizes. 

The prizes, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, are awarded in seven English-language categories: fictionnonfictionpoetryyoung people's literature — textyoung people's literature — illustrationdrama and French-to-English translation. Seven French-language awards are also given out in the same categories.

The Canada Council for the Arts is a partner of the CBC Literary Prizes. The 2023 CBC Short Story Prize is currently open for submissions.

Each winner will receive $25,000. The winners will be announced on Nov. 16, 2022.

The drama category was assessed by Keith Barker, Marie Leofeli Romero Barlizo and Alex Poch Goldin.

You can see the finalists in all seven categories here.

Get to know the drama finalists below.

Everybody Just C@lm the F#ck Down by Robert Chafe

Everybody Just C@lm the F#ck Down is a play by Robert Chafe. (Shin Sugino, Playwrights Canada Press)

Everybody Just C@lm the F#ck Down follows Robert Chafe after an unexpected night in a Regina emergency room. While Chafe's character questions whether he's Tennessee Williams or Dorothy Zbornak, Everybody Just C@lm the F#ck Down explores the rabbit holes we fall into trying to reckon with an aging body, mortality anxiety and the uncertainty of being alive. 

Chafe is a St. John's based playwright whose work has been seen across Canada, the U.K., and Australia.

Inheritance: a pick-the-path experience by Daniel Arnold, Darrell Dennis & Medina Hahn

Inheritance: a pick-the-path experience is a play by Daniel Arnold, centre left, Darrell Dennis, middle right, and Medina Hahn, far right. (Talonbooks)

Inheritance is an interactive stage play where, through the click of a remote, the audience decides what happens next. When a couple from the city visit the woman's father at his rural estate and find an Indigenous man staying there instead, what will the audience decide should happen next? What happens when alongside the characters, the audience realizes the land rights to the estate are up for grabs? With over fifty possible variations for how the story could unfold, Inheritance places audiences in the middle of a land dispute and forces them to decide.

Daniel Arnold is an actor, writer and producer for both stage and screen who has won multiple awards, including as a protégé recipient of the The Siminovitch Prize alongside his frequent collaborator, Medina Hahn. His stage plays include Tuesdays & Sundays and Any Night. He also wrote the short film The Janitors and co-wrote the feature film Lawrence & Holloman. He lives in Vancouver.

Medina Hahn is an actor, singer, writer and producer who has won multiple awards including as a protégé recipient of the The Siminovitch Prize alongside her collaborator Daniel Arnold. His stage plays include Tuesdays & Sundays and Any Night. She lives in Vancouver.

Darrell Dennis is a First Nations playwright and television writer from the Shuswap Nation in the interior of British Columbia. His script Moccasin Flats was an official selection at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. In addition to co-writing Inheritance, he has also written the play, The Trickster of Third Avenue East, and the one-person show, Tales of an Urban Indian, for which he was nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Awards.

Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land) Antigone: 方 by Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho)

Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land) and Antigone: 方 are plays by Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho). (Dahlia Katz, Playwrights Canada Press)

Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land) & Antigone: 方 by Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho) are two Ancient Greek adaptations led by people of colour that reimagine the stories for modern times. 

Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land) highlights the repetition of hate and colonialism that occur in ancient myths through a mischievous lens. Since Iphigenia was rescued from the sacrificial altar, she has served as a high priestess to the goddess Artemis on Tauros, where she in turn is to sacrifice any foreigners who try to enter. When she discovers that an exiled prisoner is her brother, they together plot their escape, but are soon confronted by a force beyond their control.

Antigone: 方 takes place against the backdrop of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement and Tiananmen Square Massacre protests. When citizens challenge the state, the ruling family is divided on who interests to prioritize: their own or the citizens. When brothers Neikes and Teo kill each other during the protests, their sister Antigone collects Neikes's body against the wishes of her father, setting off a chain of events that forces the family to reckon with their decisions.

Ho Ka Kei / Jeff Ho is a Toronto-based theatre artist, originally from Hong Kong. His works include Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land), Antigone: 方, and trace.

Lady Sunrise by Marjorie Chan

Lady Sunrise is a play by Marjorie Chan. (Submitted by Marjorie Chan, Playwrights Canada Press)

Lady Sunrise is a play about six women who want to have it all in Vancouver's wealthy Asian Canadian community for reasons that may surprise audiences. Willing to do anything to have what it takes to keep up, their stories are a mediation on hyper-consumerist culture, power and the price of freedom.

Marjorie Chan is a playwright from Toronto and currently the artistic director for the Theatre Passe Muraille. Her other plays include The Madness of the Square, a nanking winter and Tails From the City. She also wrote the libretti for the operas Sanctuary Song, The Lesson of Da Ji, M'dea Undone and The Monkiest King.

The Piano Teacher: A Healing Key by Dorothy Dittrich

The Piano Teacher: A Healing Key is a play by Dorothy Dittrich. (Chris Allan, Talonbooks)

The Piano Teacher: A Healing Key is a play about a classic pianist named Erin who, after an unexpected and tremendous loss, struggles to make music. When she encounters a new piano teacher, she learns to reconnect with her creativity, deal with her grief and give herself compassion and love.

Dorothy Dittrich is a playwright, sound designer and composer who currently lives in Vancouver. Her other plays include The Dissociates, Lesser Demons, Two Part Invention and If the Moon Fall. She also created the musical When We Were Singing.

Corrections

  • This post has been updated to reflect that The Piano Teacher and Inheritance are published by Talonbooks.
    Oct 21, 2022 5:11 PM ET

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