"[In] David Gow's examination of class structures and psychological and spiritual imperatives... lies a conflict so deep, a historical prerogative so entrenched, that even considering the implications is deeply troubling."
“Raw polarities certainly fuel David Gow’s “Cherry Docs”.
“play of passion...indicts the hatred that has infected many of today’s young and offers its own version of some badly needed hope.”
"compelling dialectic of “Cherry Docs” - a powerful and literary examination of hate politics and society's ineffectual response... a brilliant conceit. Gow has created... a collision of primal and ideological forces [with] no moral high ground and no easy answers... a skillful blend of the idiomatic and the poetic: rich and visually resonant... high-stakes emotional and physical workout for both leads."
The Daily News
“an immersion in shock therapy”
“a relentlessly contemporary two-hander”
“Absolutely riveting for every moment of its 90 minutes.”
“Gow’s writing pulls no punches, skewering both the skinhead’s repulsive, racist point-of-view and the squishy liberal milieu that allowed such rank intolerance to grow and flourish in the first place.”
“the most shocking thing about “Cherry Docs” is just how much humour manages to shine through what is, admittedly, such difficult subject matter.”
Windy City Times (Chicago)
“Gow writes with a measured economy... the kind of play that [is] flush with political fire, yet never turning its back on the very human elements that stoke it.”
“The 90 minute drama flies by and it’s not until later that we begin to think of the implications the script thrusts upon us. The main, and most uncomfortable, is one of our own [society’s] complicity in this horrendous hate crime”
The New York Times
“present work [At The Wilma Theater] by David Gow, Tom Stoppard and others, in productions that are often controversial but very seldom dull.”
The Vancouver Sun
"A delicious barrage of angry ideas... Blistering dialogue... gut wrenching monologues... [Gow] always finds the subtle shadings in these very genuine characters."
Phyllis Walbye of the Reporter-Herald
“more tough minded” than Athol Fugard’s “A Lesson From Aloes”, David Mamet’s “Speed The Plow” and Samuel Beckett’s “Voices from the Dark”
“This lacerating examination of racist brutality is a tour-de-force for the two actors.”
The Globe & Mail, Toronto
"poignantly lyrical monologues... terror and insight... dark comedy and swift horror... larger thematic goals that make “Cherry Docs” impressive... Gow's belief that we must confront the hatred within ourselves and our society are troubling, touching and convincing."
“Challenges the heart and the mind of its audience”
“believable and relevant on a global scale”
“an intriguing intellectual journey as the two mark and are marked by each other.”
“leaves you questioning yourself and your society”.
“a puzzle that keeps the audience on edge”
“brilliant from the perspective of character and satisfying conclusion, reached through drama and poetry [with] flashes of dark humour”
The Toronto Star
"Explosive new drama... a provocative exploration of the inescapable and insidious presence of hatred in our society."
"highly moving and theatrical scenes in [Gow's] stylistic combination of monologue and dialogue... the air crackles... Incendiary"
Kitchener Waterloo Record
[Cherry Docs] will confuse, mesmerize, startle, assail you, shock you, frighten you, perhaps even sicken you. [It] will... lead you to a different understanding of the nature of humanity.
“What begins as a Nazi skinhead / Jewish lawyer sparring session explodes into a fist-fight of ideologies and personal beliefs.”
His remarkable... two-person drama travels into the heads of both men to pose questions about the nature of hate and of right and wrong. There is no black and white in Gow’s world.”
Eight-Forty-Eight Radio Program
“a number of intellectual dramas that have passed through Chicago this year, notably “Copenhagen”... If I had to choose one intellectual, idea drama for the year I would easily recommend “Cherry Docs”... a deeply, deeply intelligent drama with beautiful language.”
The Washington Times:
“Bea’s Niece” makes you think about the nature of creative imagination and insanity, whether they are really that far apart or merely too close for comfort."
"Gow has made a hard-hitting and sharp-edged script full of quotable lines."-Montreal Mirror "The world premiere of David Gow's Relative Good at GCTC packs a powerful and thought provoking punch."
North Country Public Radio:
"clearly articulates the issues."
Wake of the Bones
By Neil Boyce Oct. 28, 2010
I f you head down Bridge Street in Montreal on your way to the Victoria Bridge, just past Mill Street you can see it: a massive, 30-ton chunk of granite stuck between two traffic lanes, enclosed by an iron fence festooned with shamrocks. Part of the inscription reads, “To preserve from desecration the remains of 6,000 immigrants who died of ship fever, A.D.1847–8.” The Black Rock monument is almost a mythical part of Montreal history. It’s the last sign left marking the Irish immigrants who fled a famine in their homeland, only to perish from typhus in “fever sheds” on the shores of Montreal and be buried in a mass grave. Playwright David Gow aims to shine a light on the obsidian rock with a play about this dark chapter in the history of the Montreal Irish, The Wake of the Bones, set to premiere at Hudson Village Theatre. Gow began his career as an actor, a pursuit he still follows, before gaining attention as a writer in plays like The Friedman Family Fortune (his 1996 Centaur theatre debut), Cherry Docs and Relative Good. The Ontario-born playwright, who was raised in Montreal and studied at Concordia, recalls crossing the Victoria Bridge often in his early 20s and seeing the monument.
“I don’t think anyone told me about it,” he says. “I don’t recall studying it in Canadian history, and I’ve studied quite a bit. I knew about the working Irish, but not that particular story. Even then, it caught my imagination that this rock had been pulled up from the river and consecrated in the name of the workers. Think of the impact of 6,000 dead, buried in a single place at a single time. The fact that a railway was built through the site, that there were no gravestones, suggests it wasn’t a regular burial ground.”
Getting the world premiere of a David Gow play is a big coup for Village Theatre artistic director Andrew Johnston. Friends with Gow since their days working at Montreal’s Youtheatre, Johnston commissioned the work, first asking the playwright what he thought about the Black Rock.
“As soon as you say you’re going to write a historical drama,” says Gow, “you’re thinking, how am I going to serve that memory? And at a point, really, you have to abandon that idea. You have to get into the spirit of the time and create a sense of the sound of the time in dialogue. And those people and that culture infuse this whole area of Canada.”
Daniel Giverin is the fiddle-playing, Irish immigrant railway worker at the centre of the piece. Digging a new section of track, he stumbles upon bones—then medallions and rosaries— and realizes that they’re his countrymen and represent a kind of ancient burial ground. A Montreal actor of Irish ancestry, Giverin reflects on the disappearance of Irish working class neighbourhoods on the Montreal landscape. “The St. Patrick’s Parade started in 1824, St. Patrick’s Church was built later. The parade was all lower-class people, that was what they could make happen, while the cathedral was for people ‘up the hill.’ The sadness is that the people from up the hill are still there, while the memory of Griffintown is little more than a book someone reads, and before long will be gone entirely.”
The Gazette Pat Donnelly
October 22, 2010
I’m looking forward to seeing Gow’s play, which is apparently proving so popular that it has already been held over until Nov. 14.