Geography of Fire
La furie et sa géographie

“Take from the past its fires, not its ashes.”

Jean Jaurès

The concert presentation of Geography of Fire / La Furie et sa géographie on 18 May 2019 at Sudbury Theatre Centre is the first step towards a full-fledged spectacle to be staged in an in-the-round, bisected playing space.

The play explores the collision and intersection of cultures, nations and animals during the Battle on the Plains of Abraham / Bataille des Plaines d’Abraham.

In 2019, summoned by the call of a red-throated loon, the characters come out of the earth with bits of clothing from 1759 still clinging to their burial shrouds.  For the next few hours they re-enact their memories in an effort to both re-capture and challenge history’s interpretation of this tumultuous time.

On 13 September 1759, world history changed in twenty minutes.  Often portrayed in English Canada as nothing more than a dust-up between two generals fighting for their respective kings, the battle is so much more – a magnificent, tragic resistance against the land-grabbing corporate idea of empire that goes beyond one’s own experience or affiliation. 

The play features 33 historical and fictional characters and 12 animals and birds. All the characters and creatures occupy the same strip of emotional geography – a bit of woods on a field overlooking the St. Lawrence.

Scenes dramatize perspectives from the water (red-throated loon), the land (pig, cow, horse, moose, deer, red fox, rooster), the air (owl, seagull), and from Wolfe’s dog and Montcalm’s cat.  The creatures – life-sized paper mâché creations – witness a multiplicity of human stories involving French Canadians, Huron-Wendats, French aristocrats, Canadian militia, British soldiers, enterprising women, priests, over-worked nuns, bakers and young lovers.

Edward Bond says, “The purpose of drama is to state that the meaning of life is more important than life itself.”  Following the Greek notion that drama is about right vs. right, the characters on all sides struggle for meaning as they endure the terrors of war – be it a farmer and his starving family, or a warrior being loyal to his ancestors, or a soldier being loyal to his King, or a nun being loyal to her God, or an aristocrat being loyal to her class. 

Historian Jocelyn Létourneau says in the 21st century, “1759 does not belong primarily to a past that we might wish to study and understand, but, rather, to a present and a future that we might wish to shape and control.

Cover design and painting by Suzanne McCrae

Authors Note:

Though inspired by real people and real events, Geography of Fire / La Furie et sa géographie is a work of dramatic fiction and does not attempt to portray the actual character, actions or thoughts of any persons, living or dead.  

Colleen Murphy, Playwright & Producer

Colleen Murphy, Playwright & Producer

Colleen Murphy was born in Quebec and grew up in Northern Ontario. Colleen is a two-time Governor General’s Literary Award Winner for English Language Drama.  She won for Pig Girl in 2016 and for The December Man (L’homme de décembre) in 2007.  Twice she has won the Carol Bolt Award for Best Play.  

Other plays includeThe Society For The Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius (winner of six 2018 Jessie Richardson Awards),The Breathing Hole (nominated for the 2018 Susan Blackburn Prize), I Hope My Heart Burns First, Armstrong’s War, The Goodnight Bird, Beating Heart CadaverandThe Piper Libretti include Oksana G. composed by Aaron Gervais, and My Mouth On Your Heart composed by August Murphy-King.  Colleen is also a filmmaker and her distinct, award-winning films have played in festivals around the world.  They include Girl with Dog, Shoemaker and The Feeler.  

In 2010 and 2011, Colleen was the Canadian Playwright-in-Residence at Finborough Theatre in London, U.K. She has been Playwright-in-Residence at Necessary Angel Theatre and Factory Theatre in Toronto, as well Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Regina in 2006/7, the Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence at McMaster University in 2010, Writer-in-Residence at the University of Guelph in 2011, the Edna Staebler Laurier Writer-in-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2014. She was the Lee Playwright-in-Residence from 2014 to 2017 at the University of Alberta and, most recently, Writer in Residence at the University of New Brunswick. 

She was awarded a Chalmers Fellowship and, most recently, a Canada Council New Chapter Grant to write a new play Geography of Fire / La géographie et sa furie

Suzanne McCrae, Artist

Suzanne McCrae, Artist

Visual art and animals have been Suzanne’s passion since her childhood in a small mining community in Northwestern Ontario. A lifelong northerner, Suzanne now lives in Copper Cliff in Northeastern Ontario where she continues to follow her passions.

Through her art Suzanne explores the relationship between man and animals, both wild and domestic and has focused on relationships between man and bears (at dumpsites), man and geese (in public spaces) and man and dogs. 

Suzanne creates her artwork in both paint medium and papier mâché sculpture. 

Brian Dooley, Dorector

Brian Dooley, Director

Brian Dooley has been involved in radio, television, film and theatre for over thirty-five years.  During that time he has garnered several awards and many honours in several media. He has worked as producer, director, actor, writer and instructor.  Early in his career Brian was Associate Dramaturge and Director of the Young Playwrights Program at the Playwrights Workshop in Montreal, and has been a guest instructor at various colleges and universities across Canada. He has participated in many, many workshops and in the development of new plays for a variety of organizations including: Playwrights Workshop Montreal, Factory Theatre in Toronto, The Banff Playwright’s Colony, The National Film Board of Canada and Le Centre des Auteurs Dramatiques.  (CEAD)  

As an actor he appeared in principal roles in many productions over the years.  His efforts were rewarded by a Gemini nomination (Best Supporting Actor) for the internationally acclaimed drama, The Boys of St. Vincent.  He has received a Dora Mavor Moore nomination along with a Betty Mitchell award nomination as well as a Sterling Award nomination for Outstanding Performance in The December Man.  He received Betty Mitchell Award nominations for his performances in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and The December Manat Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary and has been honored with two AMPIA (Alberta Motion Picture Industry Awards) awards, one for best performer and another for best production under 60 minutes, both celebrating work on a drama pilot for CBC entitled The Beat

Brian maintained a long-standing relationship with the National Theatre School of Canada having been involved as an instructor and coordinator for many years.  From 1990-94 Brian lead and coordinated the Directing and Self-Start Programs of the National Theatre School in Montreal, and was an Acting Instructor from 1983-94. His passion for mask work led him to direct the acclaimed NFB film: Pierre Lefebvre: On Acting. The film profiles Brian’s legendary and inspiring instructor and mentor, Pierre Lefebvre.  Brian has conducted many masks workshops in both neutral and character mask.  In addition to his diploma from the National Theatre School (where he received the Leo Cicery Award), Brian is a graduate of Bishop’s University (B.A. Honours, Drama/1977 and recipient of the O.B. Thornton Scholarship).

Brian was the Director of Play Development at The Citadel Theatre, one of Canada’s largest and leading regional theatres from 2010-2017.  He recently stepped away after six seasons as Artistic Director of L’UNITHEATRE, Alberta’s only professional French language theatre. 

Fluently bilingual, Brian relocated from Montreal to Edmonton in 1995. In 2018 he returned to Montreal. 

Concert Presentation

– one day only –

Saturday, 18 May 2019 at 2:00 p.m. Sudbury Theatre Centre, Mainstage

Not suitable for children under 12. Occasional coarse language.

Cast and Crew

Cast and Crew for Concert Presentation

18 May 2019 at Sudbury Theatre Centre

Miriam Cusson
Jimmy Blais
Marie Josée Dionne
Jake Deeth
Rick Duthie
Joël Giroux
Matthew Heiti
France Huot
Alanis King
Eric Lapalme
Michael Lemiere
Warren MaCaulay
Melanie Rainville
Camil Rochon
Morgan St Onge
Chloé Theriault
Denys Tremblay
Christopher Mejaki

Brian Dooley, Director

Suzanne McCrae, Artist – Creator and Builder of Animals

Karen Lacasse, Artist’s Helper & Technical Support

Daniel Bedard, Sound Design and Music

Miram Cusson, Assistant Director

Elizabeth Kenny, Stage Manager

Morgan Cook, Taylor Blanchette, Assistant Stage Managers

With the generous support of:

John McHenry,
Artistic Director, Sudbury Theatre Centre

Katherine Smith,
Director of Operations & Production, Sudbury Theatre Centre

Ben Whiteman,
Technical Director, Sudbury Theatre Centre

Marie-Pierre Proulx,
Artistic Director, Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario

Micheline Chevrier,
Artistic Director, Imago Theatre, Montréal

Itai Erdal,
Artistic Director, The Elbow Theatre, Vancouver

Alessandro Constantini,
Artistic Director, Yes Theatre, Sudbury

Lisa O’Connell,
Pat the Dog Theatre Creation, Kitchener

Creative and Cultural Advisors and Consultants

(in alphabetical order)

Denys Delâge, Professor Emeritus, Université Laval

Brian Dooley, English and French Dramaturge

Jonathan Lainey, Conservateur, Premiers Peuples, Musée canadien de l’histoire

Jocelyn Létourneau, Titulaire, CRC en histoire du Québec contemporain, Université Laval

Michael Petrasek, Kensington Literary Representation

Jean-Philippe Thivierge, Dramaturgy and history consultant, Nation huronne-wendat, Bureau du Nionwentsïo