Birthright by Constance Lindsay Skinner,
Adapted and directed by Joan Bryans
Original music by Mark Germani,
Set Designer:John Taylor
Lighting Designer: Darren W. Hales
Sound designer: Glenn Jamison
Costume designer: Tanya Seltenrich
Fight Director: Sebastien de Castell
Stage Manager: Claudine Parker
Cast: Odessa Shuquaya, Jason Krowe, Adam Lolacher, Annie Smith, Bob Rathie, Duane Howard, Terrence Loychuk , Fran Burnside, Katie Murphy, Beverley MachelleBirthright ran from May 2-18, 2003,
at the Jericho Arts Centre, 1675 Discovery
B.C.’s own love story! The freedom to love, to love openly and without shame, how one wants, who one wants. This eternal yearning as old as man - and woman - is central to this seminal play, written in 1905 by B.C.’s founding playwright, Constance Lindsay Skinner. It has never before been staged in Canada (despite successful mountings in major US cities, and Skinner’s enormous fame there). Deemed too daring for New York, it opened in Chicago in 1912.
Set in North Western B.C. frontier in 1905, white missionary Robert Maclean has an ever-increasing foothold of power and influence. Into the swirling melee of shifting power steps Precious, Maclean's adopted daughter. Determined to walk her own revolutionary path for freedom, her actions trigger in others all the prejudices and hypocrisies of the day. Skinner pulls no punches, and her indictment of these prejudices, both native and white, religious and secular, while often couched in humour, touches as many raw nerves as ever.
Praise for Vital Spark’s first production: Birthright
“What a fantastic find. Watching Birthright is like reading your great-grandmother's private diaries. And like most intimate family records, the script presents a puzzle of conflicted sensibilities, all of which inform our own identity... At its best, Birthrightapproaches the work of Henrik Ibsen, the father of naturalism ...this work is part of our political and cultural birthright… “
Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight
“This is a powerful piece of theatre admirably presented by Joan Bryans and her cast and crew.
Jane Pinestan, Review Vancouver.
“The topicality is amazing, from attitudes to environment to Christianity vs traditional beliefs…Birthright matters as a piece written about here a century ago; the all-too-short history of west coast playwriting must now include Skinner.”
Malcolm Page, Plays International
Courageously mounted… An important production, the theatre company have certainly met their mandate and come out of the gate running with this play.
Michelle La Flamme, for Redwire Magazine