In the fall of 1918, as soldiers return to Canada from distant battlefields, a world devastated by four years of war is suddenly hit by a mysterious and deadly plague – the “Spanish flu”. The illness strikes anybody, even people in the prime of life. The rapid progression toward mortality brings home the terror, the panic, and the sense of helplessness of World War I; more people die of this epidemic than are killed in battle throughout the war.
UNITY (1918) offers a moving and revealing examination of what happens when a deadly virus arrives in a town in the middle of Saskatchewan that was thought to be safe – too distant, too remote – from an epidemic devastating populations elsewhere. Canadians tend to assume such tragedies happen elsewhere, to other people. With UNITY (1918) playwright Kevin Kerr takes us back to this moment in Canadian history, and poetically places the unthinkable threat of a deadly virus in our midst. In a town where everyday, familiar things become deadly, Kerr turns his focus on those with the most to lose, the youth, and how they find the strength to face illness, isolation, and death.
Here is theatre for young people that are trying to overcome the 'me, myself and I' culture that comes with social media and smartphones. When the stakes are high, and a performance may offer a sense that we are ultimately ‘all in this together’, theatre isn't a communication device, it's a site of communion. Please join us as we turn the Theatre of the Arts into a shared destination, and that place is Unity.
Directed by Dr. Andy Houston
Production and text dramaturgy by the Students of UWaterloo's Drama 306/406:
Supervised by Dr. Toby Malone
November 17-21 - University of Waterloo Theatre of the Arts
Book Tickets: Phone (519) 888-4908
University of Waterloo Department of Drama and Speech Communication Fall Season
- Contagion, Pandemics, and Humanity
- Image Gallery
- The End of Days
- The Prairies
- Timeline Relating Play Events to Actual History
- World War I
- The War Effort at Home
- Bibliography and Production Dramaturgy Library
- Ankoku Butoh Article (pdf)
- Viewpoints-Tina Landau (pdf)
- Exploration through Imagery with Anne Bogart (pdf)