Canada’s top playwright sears the page with three new darkly comic plays that denounce political culture, individualism, and the accompanying moral depravity. The title play, Dead Metaphor, examines the collision of a politician’s personal and professional lives, complicated by a son’s return from Afghanistan. In The Ravine, a mayoral candidate learns that his ex-wife is living in a gully nearby and wants to put a hit on him. The Burden of Self-Awareness has money at the centre of a dramatic conflict of values. Each of the three plays is populated by characters trying to navigate the increasingly blurred lines of what’s right and wrong – trying to always stay informed, alert, and ready to act for the common good. Or just to get even.
George F. Walker has been one of Canada’s most prolific and popular playwrights since his career in theater began in the early 1970s. His first play, The Prince of Naples, premiered in 1972 at the newly opened Factory Theatre, a company that continues to produce his work. Since that time, he has written more than twenty plays and has created screenplays for several award-winning Canadian television series.
Part Kafka, part Lewis Carroll, Walker’s distinctive, gritty, fast-paced comedies satirize the selfishness, greed, and aggression of contemporary urban culture. Among his best-known plays are Gossip (1977); Zastrozzi, the Master of Discipline (1977); Criminals in Love (1984); Better Living (1986); Nothing Sacred (1988); Love and Anger (1989); Escape from Happiness (1991); Suburban Motel (1997, a series of six plays set in the same motel room); and Heaven (2000). Since the early 1980s, he has directed most of the premieres of his own plays.
Many of Walker’s plays have been presented across Canada and in more than five hundred productions internationally; they have been translated into French, German, Hebrew, Turkish, Polish, and Czechoslovakian.
During a ten-year absence, he mainly wrote for television, including the television series Due South , The Newsroom , This Is Wonderland , and The Line , as well as for the film Niagara Motel (based on three plays from his Suburban Motel series). Walker returned to the theatre with And So It Goes (2010).
Awards and honours include Member of the Order of Canada (2005); National Theatre School Gascon-Thomas Award (2002); two Governor General’s Literary Awards for Drama (for Criminals in Love and Nothing Sacred); five Dora Mavor Moore Awards; and eight Chalmers Canadian Play Awards.
PRAISE FOR DEAD METAPHOR
“an important play … there is plenty of raunchy humor (with the emphasis on raunchy, so be prepared), and even a kernel or two of truth, which are more than enough to make your experience worthwhile … while you’ll laugh all night, you might also squirm a little from time to time. I highly recommend the experience.”
– Finger Lakes Times
"It takes a unique laugh out loud funny narrative to assess the increasingly blurred lines of what’s right and wrong. Dead Metaphor ’s tenacious sociopolitical context does more than target the mad, mad world we read about in the daily newspapers, it offers a brilliant satirical refuge in which to take cover.”
“Don’t be surprised that the name of George F. Walker is credited as author and director ... Dead Metaphor is as heedlessly tasteless and free-swinging an entertainment as you’d expect from the man who juggles the double crown of Canada’s angriest and funniest playwright, but it also has a profound moral centre that will leave you thinking long after you leave the theatre.”
– Toronto Star
“Walker is talking about how power corrupts, what people will do to get it and how only the pure of heart and offbeat of mind can ever set things right. It’s vintage Walker: funny, violent, compassionate and thought-provoking.”
– Toronto Star