Beverley Cooper has written an excellent play about Alice Munro, even though the play calls her Peg Dunlop and changes the name of the town from Clinton to something else unmemorable. But there was a particular thrill to see this play just down the road from Clinton where the real Alice lived and wrote.
The play is centred around the potential censorship of Peg’s book, along with The Diviners, Catcher in the Rye and Of Mice and Men. Parents get upset, take sides, have meetings, just as it actually happened in 1977.
Catherine Fitch was excellent as Peg Dunlap, the writer who has returned to her home town to look after her dying mother. Rebecca Auerbach as Maisie Piggott is torn between her disapproval of the book, her liking for the author and her need for the money she gets working for Peg. Her daughter Jennifer played by new talent Megan Chalmers is embarrassed by her mother’s protest and by the fact that she has not yet read the book in question. Anita La Selva was the teacher who selected and loved the book. J. D. Nicholson was the school trustee and church elder who led the protest against. It was interesting in this time of Trump and the US right wing activities to hear that the group who objected had help and support from a US right wing religious group.
The play is more than just a discussion of censorship. It carefully brings out the human issues about coming home and meeting friends from your past. You have changed and so have they, but ultimately they are still your friends. Maybe not your best friends, but still your friends. Miles Potter again showed his skill as director.