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

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Mayor and council aren’t necessary

Instead of candidates, put municipal priorities on the ballot, says letter writer

RDN budget talks to include public consultation results

Director not impress with level of engagement

Pro wrestler Raven to re-live ECW, WCW, WWE days

Pro wrestler host a talk Jan. 31 at the Queen’s in Nanaimo

VIU volleyball wins all its matches

Mariners sweep past College of the Rockies Avalanche on lengthy road trip

Decor details: Professional rental and design businesses deliver it all

Stop by the Comox Community Centre today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.!

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Kobe Bryant killed in California helicopter crash: reports

NBA star was reportedly in his private helicopter at the time of the crash

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Most Read