In 1876, Jack the Ripper, otherwise known as Canadian Doctor Thomas Neill Cream, graduated with merit from McGill’s faculty of medicine. Cream was a backstreet abortionist and managed an exclusive brothel called The Elite Club. His notorious reputation eventually forced him to flee Canada for London. He was hanged in 1892 for the murder of four prostitutes.
Doctor Thomas Neill Cream mixes fact and speculation with its cast of unlikely characters: khaki-covered union organizers?the good guys; five white-faced “zombies” representing such illustrious “Founding Fathers of Confederation” and distinguished members of the McGill fraternity as Sir Hugh Allan, Sir William Dawson, Sir William Osier and Lord Strathcona?the victors; and their young prostitutes?the victims.
Intended as a cultural exorcism, playwright David Fennario charges with murder the capitalists who are now paraded through our history books as nation-builders. Past evil is parallelled in the present.
About the author
Anglophone playwright born David Wiper in Montreal, Quebec, 1947. He was raised in the working class district of Pointe-St-Charles, an area he would make the centre of most of his plays. He was one of six children, his father was a housepainter. His pen name, given to him by a girlfriend, was part of a Bob Dylan song, “Pretty Peggy-O.” David Fennario has described his life as: Born on the Avenues in the Verdun-Pointe Saint Charles working-class district of Montreal; one of six kids growing up in Duplessis’ Quebec, repressed, depressed, oppressed and compressed. “School was a drag. My working experience turned me into a raving Red calling for world revolution. The process of becoming a political activist gave me the confidence to be a writer. Up to then, I thought only middle-class people could become artists, because they were not stupid like working-class people, who were working-class because they were stupid. But reading Socialist literature convinced me that working-class people can change themselves and the world around them. We are not chained to fate, Freud, God, gender or a genetic code. We can make ourselves into what we want. I’ve been trying my best to do that ever since, and have had some success as a playwright and a prose writer.?
- Short-listed, Arthur Ellis Award