About the Author

Hannah Moscovitch

Hannah Moscovitch is an acclaimed playwright, librettist and TV writer. Her work for the stage includes East of Berlin, This Is War, Little One, The Russian Play, Infinity and What a Young Wife Ought to Know. Her plays have been widely produced across Canada, as well as in the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, Greece, Austria, Australia and Japan. Hannah’s music-theatre hybrid, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story (co-created with Christian Barry and Ben Caplan) has toured internationally, garnering a New York Times Critics’ Pick and over fifty four- and five-star reviews. Hannah’s operas with Lembit Beecher, Sky on Swings and I have no stories to tell you, have been produced at Gotham Chamber Opera / the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Opera Philadelphia. She has been honoured with numerous accolades, including multiple Dora Mavor Moore Awards, Toronto Theatre Critics Awards, Fringe First and Herald Angels Awards, the Trillium Book Award, the Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award and the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize. She has also been nominated for a Drama Desk Award, the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and twice for the Siminovitch Prize. Recently, Hannah debuted her first confessional work for the stage, Secret Life of a Mother (co-created with Maev Beaty, Ann-Marie Kerr and Marinda De Beer) at the Theatre Centre in Toronto. Hannah is a playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and lives in Halifax.

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Things That Go Bump

This volume contains five recent Canadian plays for young adult audiences. Three of the plays were originally written for touring to secondary schools (In This World, Offensive Fouls and To Be Frank). Learning the Game has toured via the Fringe and community groups as well as in schools. Binti’s Journey is designed for the interesting senior-elementary/junior-high age group (Grades 7 to 9, give or take a year either way); it is an adaptation for the theatre of Deborah Ellis’ novel for young people, The Heaven Shop.

These plays are about real and current issues for young adults, written by writers who are involved and connected with this demographic for reasons of their own which also are varied and individual. The plays were commissioned or assisted by some of Canada¹s foremost companies in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences â�� Geordie Theatre and Youtheatre, both in Montreal, Theatre Direct in Toronto, Manitoba Theatre for Young People in Winnipeg, Concrete Theatre in Edmonton, and All Nations Theatre in Calgary. Also involved along the way were provincial Arts Councils, playwrights’ and writers’ centres, universities and theatre schools, individual dramaturges, artistic directors, and fellow writers and artists.

The playwrights have a wealth of theatrical and life experience: Hannah Moscovitch is currently playwright-in-residence at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre; Jason Long teaches writing for adults and youth and is working on a commission for Quest Theatre; Janice Salkeld has been a junior high/high school teacher and a program coordinator/consultant for Early Childhood Intervention Programs; Brian Drader writes for film as well as theatre, and is presently the Director of Playwriting for the National Theatre School of Canada; Marcia Johnson is an actor and librettist, and currently playwright-in-residence for Roseneath Theatre.

Most playwrights will tell you that it takes a whole team to see the work to fruition, and that includes the audience. One of the most refreshing things about writing with young audiences of any age in mind is that they will tell you � or show you � whether your work is resonating with them, if it interests them, if they care about the characters. These plays have been road-tested and survived the exciting journey.

I asked each writer to talk about that journey � why they wanted to write for this age group, how it came about, what the development process was like, how the play was received by the first audiences, whether rewrites happened because of that experience, etc. These notes by the writers can be found at the end of each script.

I am sure that teachers of young adults will find these scripts current and refreshing examples of good writing and good scene work. The plays will provoke discussion and exciting in-class explorations. For production inquiries � should you wish to stage the full play � please note that these works are fully protected by copyright, and I encourage you to contact the publisher who will put you in touch with the writer directly. Canadian playwrights are delighted to have their work produced, and are not remotely greedy. They also need to eat.

I hope you enjoy the work.

Kit Brennan Theatre Department, Concordia University Montreal, Quebec

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What a Young Wife Ought to Know


There’s a storm, the sound of rain.

Jonny and Sophie are kissing. Then as the sexuality escalates, Sophie disentangles herself, pushes Jonny gently away from her. Beat of them still, then:

Jonny: Where’s the baby?

Sophie: In his cot — I’m sorry, Jonny — 

Jonny: No, no?

Sophie: The doctor said . . . not to.

Jonny nods.


Then, scuffing the floor:

Jonny: The floor’s turned to mud.


It’ll give you pain?

Sophie nods.

It will?

Sophie: It might, but that’s not . . .

Jonny: For how long?

Sophie: I think the doctor meant a while.

Jonny: A month?


A year?

Sophie: He told me I had insides quite exhausted and he dearly hoped I didn’t have any more children.


He said I should not have more children, / Jonny, so . . .

Jonny: I — I — yes.

Beat. Jonny realizes.

No more?

Sophie: We have the two?

Jonny: No more . . . ? No more children . . . ? No more . . . ? No more?

Sophie: That’s what he said.

Jonny: Did you ask him . . . what that meant, how to . . . ?

Sophie: I said, “How do I prevent it?” He didn’t answer, only said it would weaken my health, and could . . . cost my life.

Jonny: He did?

Sophie: Yes, and a child would get no nourishment from my womb, he said.


I’ll ask him again. I was nervous to . . . say what I wanted to: that it would be hard not to — to have no . . .


I’m sorry, Jonny — ?

Jonny: No, no. We have the two.

Jonny nods to himself and gets up.

Sophie turns back to the audience.

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