Death in the Family
by Sharon Pollock

Published by Playwrights Canada Press Toronto

"Collected Works Volume III" [email protected]
PDF Manuscript copy available on request [email protected]

Number of Acts: 2
 Length: 110 mins
 Total actors required: 6
 Men: 3
 Women: 3

 A prairie gothic mystery revolving around the intertwined lives of two rural families. Three motherless children, Gerald, Renee and Gillie Havard and neighbor Peter Semchuk were childhood playmates; Renee and Pete high school sweethearts; Gerald and Pete best friends, together joining the army during the latter years of World War II. Everything changed however with Gerald s death in Italy and Pete's return with Rose, his English war bride.

Sharon Pollock Death in the Family.jpg

The play opens in 1970. Renee Harvard has grown into an eccentric raw-boned woman, fiercely protective of Gillie who is simple and child-like. The two share a dark secret and are isolated from neighbors; Renee viewed as weird, Gillie as crazy. A blizzard forces Pete, Rose, and daughter Anne to seek refuge at the decaying Havard farm. They arrive with a badly beaten young man found near his abandoned car. The stranger believes the Havards hold the answer to a question he must have answered. He insists Gillie, who still lurks outside, has attacked him. The characters, trapped by the storm as well as by a distraught and increasingly violent Gillie, must confront and expose the truth of births, deaths and disappearances if they are to alleviate the pain of guilt and misunderstandings.