Strange Land is set in Montreal’s Jewish neighbourhood on the Main (Saint Lawrence Blvd.) in 1942, during the Conscription crisis. The play is about how the three women of a struggling Jewish immigrant family attempt to forge a place in the New World after the death of the pater familias, each in her own way, only to be thwarted by conflicting aims and the narratives of identity imported from the Old World.
At a time of war, rampant paranoia and virulent prejudice, Dinah risks everything to pull out hatred by its roots and rewrite the story of the New World.
Strange Land Development History
The play was started during the final year of my Bachelor’s degree in Concordia University’s creative writing program, in a course with Kit Brennan. Over the years, I have laid it aside to work on other projects, develop my craft in other ways. But it kept calling me back.
Subsequently, and for the past decade, I have been working on the play with dramaturg Emma Tibaldo, currently artistic director of Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal (PWM).
Strange Land won the 2008 Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition, sponsored by the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (JCC) in Toronto. In October 2009, the first act received a public reading at the JCC, directed by Dave Carley.
Emma Tibaldo conducted table reads, with a small company of actors, and dramaturgical consultations of the revised draft at PWM in June 2010, December 2011, and again in June 2014.
Since the last table read in 2014, the text has been finalized. The latest draft of Strange Land received a public reading at the PMW Studio in December 2015.