Playwright Jennifer Wynne Webber, director David Mann, dramaturge Sara Graefe and cast members Jessica Lowry, Tamara McCarthy and Garry Davey (clockwise from centre) discuss Webber’s new play, Wild Geese, at a workshop on June 6. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo playwright presents staged reading of newest play at Port Theatre

Jennifer Wynne Webber’s ‘Wild Geese’ is inspired by her time as her mother’s caregiver

Jennifer Wynne Webber said the eight years she spent caring for her mother was one of her most meaningful, life-changing experiences and taught her more about love than anything else.

Now the Nanaimo-based playwright is drawing from that experience in her new play, Wild Geese, of which TheatreOne is presenting a staged reading in the Port Theatre lobby on June 18.

“I wanted to look at what can happen, what are some of the challenges and what are some of the steps in the emotional journey that a caregiver goes on when they decide to try to take care of an aging parent,” Webber said. “Particularly if they have that aging parent come live with them.”

In Wild Geese, Sam, an independent-minded old farmer, moves in with his daughter Cass, a constantly busy current affairs commentator, and her wife Zoe, a calligrapher. As Sam’s health deteriorates, Cass unexpectedly finds herself in the role of caregiver.

Although the story is based on her experience with her mother, Webber said she changed a number of key details to keep some “emotional distance.”

“I didn’t want to write my mom. I wanted to try to write something a little different,” she said. “I got along famously with my mom and I thought, ‘Well, you know what I want to do is think about what if the person who came to live was more like a crusty character that might have been a little harder to live with?’”

The play features Tamara McCarthy, who appeared in Webber’s last play, With Glowing Hearts, as Cass, former TheatreOne artistic director Garry Davey as Sam and Nanaimo-raised actress Jessica Lowry as Zoe. On June 6 Webber attended the play’s first workshop along with director David Mann and dramaturge Sara Graefe, Webber’s creative writing MFA thesis supervisor at UBC. Webber said the cast connected with the material immediately.

“Hearing it read … I definitely could choke up watching it because even though it wasn’t exactly what happened with my mom, it was close enough that it brought it back,” she said.

The upcoming staged reading is the first time Webber will see how audiences respond to the play. She said having viewers present will help her gauge the rhythm and pacing of the play and inform how she further edits the script. She said the play is close to production ready and that TheatreOne hopes to eventually bring Wild Geese to the stage.

Webber said the title of the play is a reference to the family support system of geese, and how that behaviour is reflected in Cass and Sam’s relationship and Cass’s motivation to care for her father.

“Something that a lot of people may not know about geese is that if a goose is sick or injured, there’ll always be one goose that drops out of the flock to come and stay with the sick or injured goose for as long as it needs before it can continue the journey if it’s able to continue the journey.” she said. “So you’ll rarely see a goose alone.”

WHAT’S ON … Staged reading of Wild Geese takes place in the Port Theatre lobby on Tuesday, June 18 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $10.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Ferries has a mandatory mask policy on vessels and at terminals. (News Bulletin file photo)
UPDATE: No tickets for anti-maskers on B.C. Ferries

West Van Police say their intention was to ‘keep the peace’ after being called to terminal

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Greater Victoria in high-demand on website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan poses with members of the public during a ‘mainstreeting’ campaign stop Sunday, Oct. 18, at Parksville Community Park. (Peter McCully/Black Press)
‘Buy a boat,’ premier advises anti-maskers on B.C. Ferries

John Horgan talks COVID-19 misinformation, cancer centre, long-term care with News Bulletin

The French Creek Pollution Control Centre. (PQB News file photo)
RDN targets grants for major projects in Nanoose Bay, French Creek and Whiskey Creek

Official says projects have a strong chance to be approved for cash

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ Western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Candidates in the Nanaimo riding include Kathleen Jones, B.C. Liberal Party, top left; Sheila Malcolmson, NDP; Lia Versaevel, Green Party. (Photos submitted/News Bulletin photo/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding include Chris Istace, B.C. Green Party, top left; Duck Paterson, B.C. Liberals; and Doug Routley, NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo-North Cowichan candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Parksville-Qualicum riding include Rob Lyon, B.C. Green Party, top left; Don Purdey, Conservatives; John St. John, independent; Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Liberals; and Adam Walker, B.C. NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Parksville-Qualicum candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read