BLYTH – Writers Kelly McIntosh and Gil Garratt tell a poignant story of four siblings’ decision to place their aging father in long-term care only to find it is the same home where serial killer nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer has been killing residents, in the world premiere In the Wake of Wettlaufer, running Aug. 7 to Sept. 6 at Blyth Festival.
“While this play does not depict the heinous crimes of Elizabeth’s Wettlaufer, it is meant to spark consideration about their impacts, and to provoke a community conversation on what the Honourable Eileen E. Gillese called ‘systemic vulnerabilities in the long-term care system’ when she announced the findings of the public inquiry last week,” said Garratt, who is the artistic director of the Blyth Festival and the play’s director. “It is also meant to leave us with hope: hope for healing, hope for change, hope for the families.”
Garratt and McIntosh followed the inquiry proceedings and had the privilege of sitting among the families and friends of the victims to hear the release of Gillese’s 91 recommendations.
In the play, the family grapples with all of the struggles families in this circumstance endure: unresolved rivalries, differences of opinion in the level of care, siblings spread across the country, arm wrestles over power-of-attorney, and their own conflicting memories of their lives with their father.
After the Wettlaufer case breaks, and the confession has been made public, the siblings become deeply concerned with the details of the case in the media, and ultimately attend the inquiry, taking in as many of the commission’s proceedings as they can.
Grappling with the court’s findings, but galvanized by the love of family, the siblings try to understand how all of this could happen in a country such as ours, and try to imagine a better way.
“Our mission is to tell the stories that are relevant and give voice to the lives of the people of our region and of our country. This is a story that touches every single Canadian, the impacts are still reverberating out. What could be more relevant? We need to have this conversation,” said Gil Garratt.
The play features a strong cast that combines actors familiar to Blyth with the introduction of a few new actors this season, including actors from Cakewalk: Caroline Gillis (Anne), Nathan Howe (Wing Night at the Boot, Mr. New Year’s Eve), Robert King (Innocence Lost: A Play About Steven Truscott, I’ll Be Back Before Midnight) and Rachel Jones will all return to the Blyth Festival stage for this production. They will be joined by veteran actor Jane Spidell (Test Drive, Thirteen Hands).
The creative team for In the Wake of Wettlaufer is: Rebecca Picherack, lighting designer; and Lyon Smith, sound designer. Stage management by Christine Oakey and Daniel Oulton.
Blyth Festival acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, Season Sponsor Sparlings Propane, Season Media Sponsor CTV, Season Hospitality Sponsor, Cowbell Brewing Company, and New Play Development Sponsor Bruce Power.
In the Wake of Wettlaufer is generously co-sponsored by Carlyle Peterson Lawyers LLP and The Ross Firm (Production Sponsors).
AT A GLANCE
IN THE WAKE OF WETTLAUFER | Aug. 7 to Sept. 6
Written by Kelly McIntosh and Gil Garratt
Directed by Gil Garratt
TICKETS: $43 orchestra | $39 balcony | $15 youth | (Previews: $20 adults | $15 youth)
BOX OFFICE: 519.523.9300 | Toll Free: 1.877.862.5984 | Online: www.blythfestival.com
DATES OF NOTE
Aug. 7 – Preview at 8pm
Aug. 8 – Preview at 8pm
Aug. 9 – Opening Night at 8pm
Sept. 6 – Closing performance at 8pm
Selected Fridays and Saturdays – Enjoy a home-cooked meal served at a local venue at 6:15pm
Tickets are $22 each and may be booked by calling the Blyth Festival Box Office
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: #bfWettlaufer
Blyth Festival is a professional theatre that enriches the lives of its audience by producing and developing plays that give voice to both the region and the country. The Festival produces a repertory summer season of exclusively Canadian theatre, with an emphasis on new work. The Blyth Centre for the Arts, including the Blyth Festival, was founded in 1975.