Robert Chafe: Two Plays
Butler's Marsh and Tempting Providence
- Nominated, Governor General's Literary Award 2004
Thirty years ago Nora's mother disappeared into the small, dense forest of Butler's Marsh. She emerged three days later, covered in blood, badly shaken, and completely silent about what had happened. Having never been offered a suitable explanation, and now finding herself at her own moment of crisis, Nora ventures to Newfoundland for the first time to explore Butler's Marsh for herself. She is accompanied by her partner Tim, who, while less than helpful, is nevertheless adamant that she not be left alone. But as Nora's night in Butler's Marsh unfolds, and Tim's good humour wanes, the primary question of what happened to her mother quickly becomes less troubling than another; with whom exactly is she lost in the woods?
In 1921 Myra Grimsley signed a two-year contract and boarded a steamship from London, England to St. John's, Newfoundland. Her charge: to serve as the sole health-care provider for three hundred miles of the sparsely settled coast of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula. By the time her contract ran out two years later, Myra was married to local Angus Bennett, and had given birth to their first child, Grace. Based on the true story of Nurse Myra Bennett, Tempting Providence is a play about duty and sadness, love and change. Four strong characters drive this no-frills drama about a young British nurse who only signed on for two years, and the local man for whom she stayed for seventy.