The Stillborn Lover

by Timothy Findley

Performed March 2002
(March 27-30, April 2-6)
at the Ron Maslin Playhouse
(9 performances: part of the regular season)

Directed by Gwen Knight & Peter Jefferson


CAST

HARRY RAYMOND Brooke Keneford
MARIAN RAYMOND Dorothy Beak
DIANA MARSDEN Bev Brooks
MICHAEL RIORDAN Ben Tolley
JULIET RIORDAN Gwendy Tolley
JACKMAN Martin Weeden
MAHOVELITCH Paul Welch

PRODUCTION STAFF


Assistant to the Director Sheryne Lalonde
Production Manager Anne Marie(Davies) Smith
Stage Manager Wendy Wagner
Assistant Stage Manager Laura Bowman
Cameron Lugg
Stage Crew Rohan Brooks
Bob Carey
Julie Clayton
Vera Grbic
Megan Prevost
Set Design Adell Hay
Set Construction Bill Williams
Construction Assistant Tony Francis
Ron Hay
Earl McLaughlin
Set Painter Amy Adams
Adell Hay
Lighting Design Karl Wagner
Lighting Operator Nancy (Warner) Cormier
Lighting Assistant Guy Buller
Paul Gardner
Cameron Lugg
Bill Williams
Greg Winklemaier
Sound Design Rob Mitchell
Sound Effects Robert Fairbairn
Sound Assistant Betty Francis
Composer Rob Mitchell
Continuity Katie Betts
Jenefer Haynes
Jen Hethrington
Rosemary Keneford
Sheryne Lalonde
Properties Sheryl Bell
Properties Assistant Alicia Dean
Helen Weeden
Furnishings Brenda Scherloski
Sandy Wynne
Costumes Cheryl (Knight) Mitchell
Costumes Assistant Shann McGrail
Erin Ryan
Christine Walton
Helen Weeden
Dresser Jen Hethrington
Sheryne Lalonde
Yvonne Leduc
Carrie Owen
Karinn Smith (Tasia)
Make-up Jen Hethrington
Make-Up Assistant Michèle Baddoo
Laurie Cardinal
Kelly Fuoco
Hair Styling Carol Walkey
 

 

 

 

Director's Notes
Gwen Knight

“The Stillborn Lover” by Canadian playwright Timothy Findlay is a combination mystery, drama and love story. It is a fictional presentation of an amalgam of several true events. Findley has said that I is loosely based on the Watkins affair (John Watkins was the Canadian ambassador to Moscow accused of homosexuality in 1955), the Herbert Norman persecution and the McCarthy trials of the 1950’s. (As a matter of interest, Lester “Mike” Pearson was the Minister of External Affairs at the time these events occurred. He later became Prime Minister).

  The play premiered in London, Ontario in March 1993, then moved to the NAC in April of the same year. It was presented at Stratford in 1995, and has had numerous productions both in Canada and the US. There are three main themes to the play:

A young man has been found murdered in a Moscow hotel room and the Canadian ambassador, Harry Raymond, has been recalled to Ottawa by his close friend, Michael Riordan, the Minister of External Affairs. The play is set in 1972 (with flashbacks to the 1940’s and 50’s) and the action takes place in and around a safe house in Rockcliffe.

Harry is a respected diplomat nearing the end of his career. If he gets another posting, it will probably be his last. Did he commit the murder? Was he being blackmailed? Is he a Communist? Is he a homosexual? Is he the victim of a KGB or CIA plot?

Two RCMP officers, Superintendent Jackman and Corporal Mahavolitch are investigating the case and reporting to Michael. Jackman is the senior of the two: experienced, astute, and somewhat skeptical of the paranoia about Communists and gays in External Affairs (remember this is in 1972). Mahavolitch is younger, athletic, very gung-ho, and goes by the book. He does not mind posing as a gay prostitute to entrap Harry.

 The second theme is the relationship between Harry and Michael. Michael is poised to become the next Prime Minister but the potential scandal surrounding Harry may spoil his chances. He must choose between his loyalty to his friend and political ambitions.

Juliet, Michael’s wife is an even closer friend of Harry’s family and is torn between her loyalty and friendship to them, her loyalty to her husband and her own social ambitions. She has been the quintessential diplomatic corps spouse but now is not sure the political rewards outweigh abandoning her friends.

The third theme is the relationship between Harry, his wife Miriam, and their daughter Diana. Until recently they seemed to be a normal, happy family, except that Miriam has started showing signs of Alzheimer’s. However it turns out that Harry has been a closet homosexual, but his sexual needs in no way diminish his love for his wife.

Diana Marsden, their daughter, is a successful lawyer, married and divorced at least twice, suggesting that she must be, at least, in her mid thirties. (Chronological references in the play place her in her mid twenties, but we have chosen to ignore this anachronism and add a decade). She has been unaware of her father’s sexual deviance and now questions her own parentage. She finds it very difficult to come to terms with the situations especially in light of their mother’s acceptance.

Miriam discovered his secret long a go and, unknown to him, in what may have been an act of pure, unselfish love, has procured gay prostitutes for him over the years. She is still fiercely protective of Harry even now, as she slips in and out of the effects of Alzheimer’s. The unusual, but tender love story between Harry and Miriam is perhaps the main theme of the play.