Shelter by Diane Gordon
MARION (73) and FREDA (68) meet and have a conversation for the first time one Fall morning. They are elderly women who have lived precariously in and out of shelters, outdoor spaces and institutions. The play takes them from this casual meeting to an adventure on a streetcar, to tea at the Bay and on to taking back power from people who have stolen from them and abused them through the years. Because they are both “seniors” they are entitled to Old Age pensions. Freda is receiving hers, Marion is not. Once they realize that Marion is being stolen from the two set out to correct this with the aid of Matron.
Like many marginal people they do not communicate easily person to person, but rather move alongside each other allowing parts of their personal stories to seep out. As they become increasingly empowered by the knowledge that they are entitled to regular income, the Old Age Pension, they relax into a friendship that allows them a closer bond. Trust develops and they reveal more of themselves. They are working together to claim what is theirs – a rare and wonderful event in their lives.
Their back histories are of young girls who have been denied familial care, thus leaving them abandoned and on their own. Marion loses her baby at the hands of her cruel sister and never fully recovers. Freda lives with the stigma of having been a pawn in her brother’s life. Their new life together leads them to move beyond these memories.
Year Printed: 2014
First Produced: 2013 at PAL Performing Arts, Toronto, ON.
Running TIme: 75 minutes
Female Cast: 4