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After the Fire & The Particulars

After the Fire & The Particulars

By Matthew MacKenzie
Foreword by Jo-Ann Saddleback & Simon Bracken
Subjects: Comedy, Indigenous Playwrights, Metis, Family Life, Siblings, Environmental Issues, Western Playwrights, Alberta
Casting: 1 m, chorus | 2 f, 2 m
Imprint: Playwrights Canada Press
Paperback : 9780369104090, 112 pages, May 2023
Ebook (EPUB) : 9780369104106, May 2023
Ebook (PDF) : 9780369104113, May 2023


From the author of Bears comes two dark comedies that expose what we’re capable of when pushed to our breaking point and give in to the temptation of taking matters into our own hands.

Set in the aftermath of the disaster that nearly destroyed Fort McMurray in 2016, After the Fire centres around two couples whose lives have been deeply affected by the ruin. Sisters Laura and Carmell have been channelling their devastation into their daughters’ hockey team, as their Indigenous husbands Barry and Ty grapple with their own demons while digging a very big hole.

In The Particulars, a week’s worth of daily routines for an insomniac is disrupted by a mysterious home invasion. Gordon battles his invaders on two fronts—in his home, where he believes he is dealing with vermin, and in his yard, where insects have taken over his garden. By day, Gordon forges ahead, in control of every aspect of his life. But by night, the scratching he hears in his walls is unravelling him, driving him to the edge of cosmic desperation.

With sharp commentary, Matthew MacKenzie revels in the mundane struggles that disguise the cosmically profound surrounding us all.


"Moving and funny, audaciously strange . . . Suffice it to say that it’s as if Martin McDonagh took up writing the kind of Canadian family plays where revealing dark secrets of the past usually tends to be the way forward. Basically, [After the Fire] blows that Canuck m.o. into smithereens, while slyly seducing us into feeling its embrace."

- Liz Nicholls,

After the Fire may have one of the greatest surprise endings ever in a Canadian play—and certainly has one of the most Canadian surprise endings ever to a play . . . It is also good writing that alters your perception of all of the characters, the state of their relationships—and maybe Fort McMurray as well.”

- J. Kelly Nestruck, The Globe and Mail

The Particulars entices you with its details, but it’s the exploration of life’s biggest mysteries that will break your heart.”

- Carly Maga, Toronto Star

"[The Particulars is] smart, strange and stirring, in exactly the right ways."

- Catherine Rampell, The New York Times

"The writing [in The Particulars] stands on its own—I like how our narrator speaks of himself in third person—and MacKenzie effectively brings the cyclical smallness of a life to life."

- Elizabeth Withey, Edmonton Journal