The Donnellys by James Reaney
Based on the true story of an Irish family with seven sons and one daughter immigrating to Biddulph Township near London, Ontario, in 1844, The Donnellys tells the tale of mystery and truths stranger than fiction. It is the story of a secret society and a massacre that shocked the Canadian public, a story overlooked by the artistic community until Reaney’s play elevated the events to the level of legend. First published in 1975, this anthology takes its place among other true Canadian classics on university and college course listings and in the hearts of drama lovers everywhere.
The Donnellys is a trilogy comprised of Sticks & Stones, St. Nicholas Hotel and Handcuffs, three tense and mythic tragedies that garnered critical praise at the 1973 Tarragon Theatre opening and continue to acquire accolades from professors, actors and artistic directors across the country. As with the drama of Yeats, Eliot, O’Neill, Brecht and Beckett, this rendering of a generation of Irish settlers and their brutal murder at the hands of more than thirty vigilante killers is controversial and exciting to this day.
Foreword, Afterword and Chronology by James Noonan.
Year Printed: 1991
Part 1: Sticks and Stones
A family moves to Canada to escape prejudice and violence only to find the new land itself divided.
First Produced: 1973 by Tarragon Theatre, Toronto.
Male Cast: 9
Female Cast: 3
Part 2: St. Nicholas Hotel
In the battle for mastery of the road, William and Mike Donnelly make powerful enemies with their Opposition Stage line. Winner, Chalmers Canadian Play Award, 1974.
First Produced: 1974 by Tarragon Theatre, Toronto, Ontario
Male Cast: 4
Female Cast: 11
Part 3: Handcuffs
People openly and secretly manacle the Donnelly family in order to murder them. The culmination of the Donnelly trilogy.
First Produced: 1975 by Tarragon Theatre, Toronto.
Male Cast: 10
Female Cast: 4