CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 15. . . .December 11, 2009
Toronto, ON: Playwrights Canada Press, 2009.
44 pp., pbk., $14.95.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005-Drama.
Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.
Review by Jocelyn A. Dimm.
KEEGAN: The problem I'm facing is that some animals' hair might grow faster than others. So for my project to have scientific validity, I have to measure the hair growth in other species as well. Your golden retriever, for example, is significantly different than a guinea pig. So I would like your dog Joey to participate in the experiment.
TESSA: You want to shave my dog? Are you crazy?
KEEGAN: Only a small patch. It doesn't hurt. It would be of great benefit to science. I use a disposable razor, it's completely hygienic.
TESSA: I don't care. You're not touching my dog!
KEEGAN: Irwin didn't mind, really. Now we have matching bald spots. I can shave you too, if that would make you happier.
TESSA: Get lost, you creep.
As this one-act play begins, three pre-teens, Keegan, Tessa, and Damon, struggle to prepare a piece for the music concert at their school. These three students are not friends, but, as the play continues, shared situations and actions pull these students closer together. As Dennis Foon's play continues to unfold, the playwright presents other connections between these characters and the issues they deal with in their personal and public lives. These issues are revealed in responsibility through pet ownership, in concern for other communities through the context of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and in bullying conflicts in school and at home. Wise words for Keegan come in the guiding voice of his grandfather; hurtful comments come for Damon in the voices of his older brothers and the school bully, Rex; and teasing quips for Tessa come from a group of snobby girls at school. As each young person struggles with his/her own personal dilemmas, they are brought closer together through shared actions with each other that eventually lead them from conflict into friendship. Even though the issues are serious, Damon's quirky sense of humour lends a lightness to the play as he discovers better ways to build friendships.
The main characters here are 11-years-old, and the play deals sensitively with the issues brought forward, such as bullying, the death of a pet, stealing, lying, and peer and parent issues. The background of the Hurricane Katrina disaster sheds light on the awful reality that many pet-owners had to leave their beloved animals behind but also points out, along with the death of Tessa's dog, Joey, that, in the real world, not everything has a happy ending. This play would be best suited for elementary and middle school audiences.
Jocelyn A. Dimm is a sessional instructor and doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria where she teaches drama education and young adult literature in the Faculty of Education.
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