Just two years before Victoria’s Theatre Inconnu launched in 1978, Governor General’s Award-winning author Jack Hodgkins wrote a book of short stories, creating a cast of memorable characters set in the diverse landscape of Vancouver Island.
Now, local playwright, novelist, and poet Charles Tidler has breathed new life into the story of Spit Delaney’s Island. The play revolves around the title character, who, after decades of rising at 4am to fire up his beloved steam engine, finds himself without this job when the pulp mill replaces “Old Number One” with a modern diesel engine.
Spit declares that he’s: “Not sure of where or how I belong.” Spit’s relationship with his family and the world around him is thrown in turmoil as he doggedly tries to hang onto an identity that is no longer relevant.
As we laugh at Spit’s misguided struggle to stay the same, we empathize with his loneliness at being left behind while others move on – more readily adapting to a changing world. But there are magical forces at work here, guiding Spit towards a deeper understanding of himself and an unexpected outcome.
Spit Delaney’s Island, Dec 3 to 19, theatreinconnu.com