by Paula Citron.
The December Man
The Canadian Stage Company
Written by Colleen Murphy
Directed by Micheline Chevrier
Starring Brian Dooley, Nicola Lipman and Jeff Irving
At the Bluma Appel Theatre until May 17
Colleen Murphy won the Governor General’s Award for Drama in 2007 for The December Man. It is a harrowing experience.
Murphy’s flashpoint is the mass murder of Montreal’s women engineering students. Her protagonists, a Montreal family, are collateral damage. The son Jean (Jeff Irving) was in the classroom where the murderer divided the men from the women, allowing the men to go free.
The play runs backwards in time, and it is not giving anything away to say that the opening is the suicide of the parents (Brian Dooley and Nicola Lipman). Each successive vignette reveals what led them to this horrific act of self-destruction. Several scenes down the line we meet son Jean.
Murphy has written an astonishing work that ties all the threads together. As the final scene plays out – the day of the massacre itself – we have come to know well this family and their tormented relationships.
The December Man continues at the Bluma Appel Theatre until May 17.