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

Missing man thought to be in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP ask for public’s help in locating Kevin Golze, 45

School district reveals restart plans for Nanaimo-Ladysmith

K-5 students will see two days of instruction a week, 6-12 students once a week

Nanaimo painter inspired by medieval animal illustrations in new exhibition

Yvonne Vander Kooi to unveil ‘Bestiary’ via Gallery Merrick live-stream

Walk for Alzheimer’s will physically distance online this year

Nanaimo invited to take part in fundraiser for Alzheimer Society of B.C.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Community policing office’s closure will impact safety in the area

Strong police and bylaw presence needed in neighbourhood, say letter writers

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Beefs & Bouquets, May 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Police watchdog recommends charges against five Mounties in Prince George man’s death

Police used pepper spray on the man, who then had trouble breathing before dying at the scene

B.C. tourism seeks relief as businesses wait for COVID-19 restrictions to ease

Mid-June earliest for more in-province travel to be authorized

Most Read