Hamill, Tony, ed. CLASS ACTS: Six Plays for Children. Playwrights Canada, 1992. ISBN 0-88754-487-8. 376 pp. A Various Reviewed by John D. Newman Canadians probably know much more about children’s theatre in the United States than Americans know about Canadian children’s theatre. This volume of six children’s plays, from Playwrights Canada Press, may go a long way in reversing that one-sidedness. The plays in this collection were originally produced by Canadian Children’s theatres in such places as Toronto, Ontario, Vancouver, and Regina. The plays represent a wide variety of styles and approaches, from the innovative adaptation of The Secret Garden to the absurdist piece Beware the Quickly Who. The collection features several plays aimed at younger children, including Mandy and the Magus, The Copetown City Kite Crisis, and My Best Friend is Twelve Feet High. It also includes an engaging ensemble-created piece, Love and Work Enough, which is better suited to more mature audiences. Each play is prefaced with a brief biography of the author and a brief history of the play’s development, which provide the reader with a glimpse of children’s theatre in Canada. Brief passages supplemented by a preface could put the plays and playwrights in context, and would provide an introduction to the Canadian children’s theatre profession to readers beyond the country’s borders. The plays in this collection were originally produced between 1972 and 1991; perhaps the Playwrights Canada Press will produce a similar collection of Canadian children’s plays that were created during the 1990s. Editor’s note: Playwrights Canada Press is publishing a series of play collections from different authors that represent the 1990s. But I agree that a larger anthology with a representative collection from across Canada and the Theatre for Young Audiences spectrum would be a valuable addition to the literature. HRO.
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