he Drawer Boy replays the adventures of a young actor from a Toronto theatre group who visits the rural Ontario home of two elderly bachelor farmers to "research" farm life for a new play. In doing so, he demonstrates the way in which a collective creation appropriated the lives of its subjects and changed their own interpretation of it. The two farmers, Morgan and Angus, have achieved a precarious balance in their lives together. Morgan, a tough-minded, stubborn man, cares for Angus, who has had brain damage and lost his memory during the bombing of London in the Second World War. Angus is initially identified as "the drawer boy" because he used to design buildings, and has the talents of an architect. Morgan calms and reassures Angus by retelling their story - of the two tall women whom they loved, and who came to live with them in Canada. The young actor, Miles, learns, however, that this story is a fiction, and that the truth is much sadder. It would, in fact, destroy their friendship. In the process of telling their story as play, however, he reawakens Angus's memory. Art becomes life. Miles is in effect the "drawer boy," delineating and creating an alternative reality. As he tells Morgan, "We're here to get your history and give it back to you." The Drawer Boy is fundamentally about the power of storytelling in creating and interpreting reality, and how it can transform lives. There is much more in the play than a history of Canadian drama. The Drawer Boy premiered in Toronto at Theatre Passe Muraille in 1999, and was subsequently produced by Ed Mirvish Productions at the more opulent Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto and the Manitoba Theatre Centre, Winnipeg in 2001. The 2001/02 revival was a collaboration between the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and has toured to the major regional theatres: Hamilton's Theatre Aquarius, Edmonton's Citadel Theatre, and the Vancouver Playhouse. It has won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, a Chalmers...
Healey, Michael. The Drawer Boy. Toronto, Ontario: Playwrights Canada Press. Photos courtesy of Theatre Passe Muraille
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