Shirley Jean Tucker is a writer, director, designer and teacher with a strong interest in the social and political fabric of Canada. Much of her work reflects site-specific history that is intended to define unique regional characteristics.
Ratz and Alma, An Intrigue
Based on the sensational lives of two 20th Century British Columbians: Francis Mawson Rattenbury and Alma Victoria Clarke, the play opens at a “soiree”in the Rattenbury designed Empress Hotel in Victoria BC where the actors mingle with the audience, sipping wine and disclosing early Rattenbury scandals. It then moves to a formal theatre setting to cover the infamous couples’ move to Bournemouth, England, and the subsequent Rattenbury murder and trial. The play ends in the British countryside where Alma executes her own style of justice. Original music writtten by Alma (Lozanne) is available. First produced as a millennium feature at Shuswap Theatre, this play makes an excellent fund raiser. Historical: Soiree and Two Acts. 14m and 7f with doubling. Price $15.00. Click on title for preview.
The Queen of the Shuswap
Three Act Musical Comedy. A hilarious mix of politics and mores in the 1950s. Loosely built around the Miss Salmon Arm pageant of 1954, the play “rocks” to the pop music of the 1950s. Adaptable to any community. 5m 7f. Price: $15.00.
Your Loving, Kind and True, Jack Boy
An intense drama based on the life of John Lindsay Wilson, the only member of the RNWMP ever hanged for murder. This “crime passionel” is presented as a play within a play. Winner of a special adjudicator’s award at the 2005 Okanagan Zone Festival. Historical: Three Acts. 6m and 4f with doubling. Price: $15.00. Click title for preview.
Hey, Nurse! I’ve Gotta Pee
About a charming nonagenarian who “crys wolf” once too often. First read at Second Stage, winter 2005; and at Shuswap International Writers’ Festival July 2006. Poignant Comedy: One Act. 3m 5f. Price: $5.00. Click title for preview.
Sowing Seeds in Danny
Suggests that even well intentioned seeds do not always grow where they are planted. Sowing Seeds, based on the Nellie McClung novel of the same name, was first presented at Shuswap Summer Theatre in 2006. Musical Comedy: Three Acts. 7m 6f with doubling. Price: $15.00. Click on title for preview.
The material is based on letters written between 1894 and 1910 by Annie Gordon to her family in Nova Scotia from Salmon Arm where the Gordons attempted to eke out a living on their Salmon River Valley ranch. During the bitter-sweet sojourn Annie discovers that solitude is a luxury she can ill afford–and that on the frontier having a sewing machine is of far greater value than owning a silver tea service. Commissioned by R.J.Haney Historic Village and Museum Dinner Theatre, Summer 2009. Poignant Comedy. One Act. 2m 2w with doubling. Click on title for excerpt.
The Supper Waltz
There had always been rumours in Burstal, SK about the two illegitimate daughters Bennie Schneider had with Gertie Freimark and Marie Wutzke. But it being the early ’6os, and Bennie now respectably married to Lorene Boschee, people in Burstal thought it best to leave Bennie’s business to the family.
10 years after both Bennie and Lorene died, leaving no heirs, Bennie’s younger brother Albert also died which promped his executor to consult a lawyer to see if there was a proviso in Albert’s will that could benefit Bennie’s illegitimate daughters. Furious with the executor’s intent, Albert’s neice demanded: “Just what did what Uncle Bennie might have done 40 years ago have to do with Albert’s will today?”
And so the battle to recognise Bennie’s girls began–a battle which lasted three years, affected three generations of women, and was finally settled in the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench.
The BC Federation of Writers’ School Program sponsored workshops of the play with the Acting 12 class at Salmon Arm Secondary in 2009. The Supper Waltz was also workshopped in Medicine Hat by Calgary dramaturge Eugene Stickland in 2010. The revised script was perfomed as “readers’ theatre” at the Inspire Cafe by FUT in the Hat; directed by Karen Cunningham September 27, 2011. The playwright gave a reading sponsored by the Playwrights Guild of Canada to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Public Lending Rights Commission–part of Canada Culture Days celebration. The script has also been submitted as a Canadian entry in the 9th annual Women Playwrights International Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, August 2012.
On November 7, 2011, the following e-mail arrived from Stockholm: We’re happy to inform you that your submission has been elected as one of the plays we’s like to read for the second selection round for the WPIC conference in Stockholm 2012!
Dramatic Comedy: Two Acts. 3m 5f. Price: $15.00. Click title for synopsis and excerpt.
WORKS IN PROGRESS
- THE LAST SUPPER OF NADYA STALIN: Nadya’s death in 1933 was reported to have been from “natural causes,” but was it? Three voices attempt to answer the question. Historical Drama in two acts. Draft form.
- WHEN I WAS A GIRL: Shoe box memoir. Monologue. 1f. Ongoing.
- MORNING IS WISER THAN EVENING; a two act BABA YAGA musical comedy. Draft form.
- THE HOUSE ON STETENSKY BOULEVARD: where a human face confronts the new order of socialism in Moscow. Drama, two acts. 3m4w. Doubling. Draft.
- THE RATTENBURY WOMEN: A play in 3 voices–Florrie, Mary and Alma. Much has been made of the infamous B.C. Architect Francis Mawson Rattenbury and Alma, but what of his first wife, Florrie and daughter, Mary? What is said of them? This 60 minute drama attempts to answer this question.