Joan MacLeod: Playwright
on drama

Another Home Invasion

The elderly Jean cares for her ailing husband Alec and has everything under control until an encounter with a stranger begins a nerve-wracking week. This powerful one-act drama deals with one seniorís story and what happens to her peaceful life when it is disrupted.

Photo: Talon Book's cover for Another Home Invasion.



Homechild explores a Scottish family’s estrangements and reconnections as an uprooted daughter returns to Glengarry County in eastern Ontario from Toronto. Evoking focused and magnificently nuanced portraits of four incomplete humans wounded by time, it leads its viewers to an near-unnoticed corner of history and through history’s repercussions.

Photo: CanStage's promotional poster for Homechild.


The Shape of a Girl

Loosely based on the fatal real-life beating of a fourteen-year-old outcast in Victoria, The Shape Of A Girl moves beyond any individual tragedy and draws the audience to ask themselves truly hard question—why are humans so willing to sit back as the unthinkable unfolds? What can we embrace to undo the worst parts of our nature?

Photo: Jenny Young in The Shape of a Girl (2001).

Jenny Young in 'The Shape of a Girl'

Little Sister

Little Sister follows a handful of high-school students through a turbulent chapter of their lives, examining the teenage preoccupation with self-image and presenting a hauntingly clear portrayal of eating disorders. Despite its willingness to investigate profound problems, Little Sister never loses sight of the laughter that carries us through them.

Photo: Tamara Gorski, Sanjay Talwar and Laurie Fraser in Little Sister, Tarragon Theatre (1992).

Tamara Gorski, Sanjay Talwar and Laurie Fraser in 'Little Sister'

The Hope Slide

Throughout The Hope Slide’s intricate single-act monologue, memory reshapes the boundaries of time as an actor’s past overwhelms her present. By recounting the stories of three Doukhabor martyrs whose lives and deaths have always fascinated her, she permits the audience to enter her personal history.

Photo: Sarah Orstein in The Hope Slide, Tarragon Theatre (1992). Photo by Lydia Pawelak.

Sarah Orstein in 'The Hope Slide'

Amigo's Blue Guitar

Transcending traditional messages of hope and despair, foreignness and familiarity, Amigo's Blue Guitar presents a nuanced and challenging evocation of refugees' spirits. As one character flees a history of torture in Central America, another's history as a draft dodger uncovers itself to sit uneasily with the present, provoking a reexamination of what it means to escape our demons.

Photo: Chris Shore and David Fox in Amigo's Blue Guitar, Tarragon Theatre (1990).

Chris Shore and David Fox in 'Amigo's Blue Guitar'

Toronto, Mississippi

While this is a play about the power of family and love, it is finally a play about self-destruction and creation.  At its heart is Jhana, whose character begs the question whether the other characters—her mother, a boarder in her house, and her Elvis-Impersonator father—are any less handicapped than she is.  She's good company—funny, driven, passionate and yearning for the same things those around her yearn for—if they can get over their preconceptions about the mentally handicapped and give her the space to achieve her dreams. 

Photo: Jim Warren and Brook Johnson in Toronto, Mississippi, Tarragon Theatre (1987).

Jim Warren and Brook Johnson in 'Toronto, Mississippi'


Jewel invokes the torment of a young woman widowed in the real-life sinking of a Newfoundland-based oil rig. In a grippingly honest and articulate monologue addressed to her dead husband, she searches through miseries and comes across the unexpected resilience of her own heart.

Photo: Joan MacLeod in Jewel, Tarragon Theatre (1987).

Tamara Gorski, Sanjay Talwar and Laurie Fraser in 'Little Sister'


Approaching absurdity while retaining total familiarity, 2000 updates and meditates on an ancient paradox: the shifting boundary lines between nature and civilization. As contemporary Vancouver encroaches on the earth that bears it, a bestial mountain-man wanders into the lives of a troubled city-living family, changing everything.

Photo: Alan Williams and Frances Hyland in 2000, Tarragon Theatre (1996). Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann.

Tamara Gorski, Sanjay Talwar and Laurie Fraser in 'Little Sister'