Drama/ 5 characters, 3 Men, 2 Women/ Full Length, 90 mins.
Synopsis (from Fast Forward Weekly): “Delaney and his family are trapped in their suburban home in the orange-alert aftermath of some devastating attack — perhaps nuclear, perhaps germ warfare — waiting for the ‘all clear’ that will let them re-emerge. The doors and windows are sealed with plastic sheeting and duct tape, the power has been cut, they have no way of communicating with the outside world, and all they can see of it through the living-room window is a shroud of orange fog.
“While Delaney sits sullenly at a table, trying to write poetry but mainly polishing off the last of the Scotch, the other family members wander in and out of the room aimlessly, seemingly wanting to connect with one another but unable to.
“Maddie, Delaney’s bitter wife, wants a divorce. Billie, their spoiled-brat adult daughter, wants her cell phone, CNN, and her boyfriend. Bobby, their teenage son, has been damaged mentally by exposure to the fog, his brain stuck absurdly on the last things he saw while standing in a 7-Eleven ogling a copy of Maxim when the attack hit. ‘Big Gulp,’ he says, over and over. And ‘orange.’ Complicating matters . . . is the presence of German architect Braun, whose affair with Maddie many years ago drove the wedge between her and Delaney . . . .”
At its best, the play functions as a dark satire of the North American nuclear family at its lowest ebb, a sort ofEndgame in suburbia. Everyone is self-absorbed and no one knows how to reach out — in one sadly telling scene, Billie tells her father she is scared. ‘Yeah. Me too,’ says Delaney and then, instead of hugging his frightened daughter, he merely pats her shoulder and walks away. And no one has a clue how to survive in these dire conditions — the kind in which the other half of the world too often finds itself. ‘I think we were in the Age of Certainty,’ says Delaney, and the phrase, stuffed with smug Western complacency, has a terrible ring to it.”
“Offers a stark and unforgettably moving requiem for the end of the world as we know it . . . . Simply one of the most honest, courageous, tightly written, best acted, and emotionally gripping plays to have graced Alberta Theatre Projects’ playRites Festival in recent years.”
– The Calgary Herald
“Perhaps [Stickland’s] darkest play yet. . . . . On the one hand, the play continues the theme that has run through most of Stickland’s playRites plays — contemporary people (usually adult families), in a world of eroding values and traditions, trying to deal with change. On the other hand, the playwright has refused to sugar the bitterness with comedy — unless it’s the bleak kind found in the likes of Samuel Beckett.”
– Fast Forward Weekly
– Vue Weekly
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About the Playwright: Eugene Stickland began writing plays following the completion of his M.F.A. at York University in 1984. Ten years later, at Alberta Theatre Projects playRites ’94, his play Some Assembly Required received its premiere production. Since then, the play has had 15 productions around Canada and the US. It was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Drama in 1995. During his tenure as Playwright-in-Residence at ATP, Eugene went on to write Sitting on Paradise (1996), A Guide to Mourning (1998), Appetite (2000) and Midlife (2002).All Clear was first produced by Alberta Theatre Projects, Calgary, in January 2004.