Re.Union poster dove image

Pacific Theatre and Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Theatre are proud to bring Re:Union, a new play by Sean Devine and directed by John Langs.

Norman Morrison drives to the Pentagon with his infant daughter Emily, a jug of kerosene, and a box of matches. With Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara looking on, the young Baltimore Quaker carries out a final act of witness against the horrors of the Vietnam War.

Andrew Wheeler, Evan Frayne, and Alexa Devine in Re:Union
[Andrew Wheeler, Evan Frayne, and Alexa Devine in Re:Union]

36 years later, in the wake of 9/11, Emily returns to confront the aging McNamara, the memory of her father, and the costly legacy of sacrifice. She winds up confronting unavoidable questions of the real value of her father’s actions and whether he intended her to die with him on that fateful night.

Based on a true story, I’ve included a reaction to Norman Morrison’s heroic act here, from Robert McNamara himself:

“At twilight that day, a young Quaker named Norman R. Morrison, father of three … burned himself to death within forty feet of my Pentagon window. … Morrison’s death was a tragedy not only for his family but also for me and the country. It was an outcry against the killing that was destroying the lives of so many Vietnamese and American youth. I was horrified by it, and I was quite aware that my own family was deeply disturbed by the event, and many other members of the public were.”

This is Sean Devine’s first play, inspired, he says by “the mythical improbability, the unimaginable sense of mission that propelled a young husband and father to get inside his car and drive off with his infant daughter to do what he did.” Devine’s playwriting career is taking off before the production of his first play is complete: he has been named this season’s playwright in residence for Pi Theatre, where he plans to develop another new work for 2012, “Except in the Unlikely Event of War“.

“Sean Devine is one of the most vigorous emerging voices on Vancouver’s playwriting scene.” ~ Richard Wolfe, Pi Theatre

On Devine’s playwriting, Ron Reed, Pacific Theatre’s artistic director says, “The opportunity to see the emergence of Sean Devine’s first play from its early stages has been a privilege. It was clear at the outset that this powerful, truthful actor and adventurous artistic director was also a fine playwright: the characters were complex and fascinating, they spoke naturally, the language had extraordinary flashes of poetry, and the theatrical conception of the piece was appealing.”

The cast features Jessie Award-winner Alexa Devine as Emily Morrison, winner of The Sam Payne Award for Most Promising Newcomer, Evan Frayne as Norman Morrison, and Jessie Award-winner Andrew Wheeler as Robert McNamara.

Pacific Theatre asked Sean Devine about his switch to writing.

Pacific Theatre:

You are primarily known as an actor and producer in town, why the shift to play writing?

Sean Devine: It’s not really a shift. It’s just that the writer in me has been dormant for so long. I graduated theatre school as a playwright, then wrote a couple things, and then just stopped for a long time. A long time. But this has always been what I wanted to return to. I love acting, but I really love the ability to shape and build something complex over time. Maybe I’m not a good enough actor to see my roles as complex enough, or maybe I just need better roles!!!

Evan Frayne in Re:Union


Venue: Pacific Theatre, 1440 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver
Dates: October 21 to November 12 (Wednesday – Saturday, 8 pm, Saturdays 2 pm matinee)
Artist talkbacks on October 28, November 4 and 11

Ticket prices range from $16.50 to $29.50, excluding HST.
Purchase tickets either by phone at 604.731.5518 or via Pacific Theatre’s website.
*There will also be a pay-what-you-can preview on Thursday, October 20, at 8 pm.

Photos courtesy by Emily Cooper.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.