Coal Valley: The Making of a Miner

Written by:

Katherine Koller

Cast Size:
29

Roles For:

  • Men: 22
  • Women: 7

Genre:

Drama
Historical

Themes:

Children
Natural Resources
Parenthood

Length:

90 min.

Year Written:

2005

Synopsis:

Coal Valley: The Making of a Miner is the story of Chip, a boy who lost his father in the 1914 Hillcrest mining disaster, but who wants more than anything to be an underground coal miner.  Against his mother’s wishes, he gets hired on at the new mines in their new home in the Red Deer River Valley.  He makes friends with Slav, an immigrant miner who only wants a wife, and together they brave the courses of history between the world wars, fighting racism, strikes, unsafe conditions and unfair owners, but finding a life that allows them to be “their own man.”  Their wives, however, have differing views on that! When it is time for Chip to close the last mine, he finds what he has been searching for all along in the deep:  the spirit of his father, the lost miner, who has been coaching and protecting him from the beginning.

Characters:

MINER, a voice in the dark, a mentor
CHIP, from his teens to his seventies, wants to be a miner
SLAV, an ageless Polish contract miner
MOM, Chip’s mother
HATTIE, Chip’s friend
SAM, Chip’s friend
STAN, Slav’s friend
ANNA, a Polish girl
MARY, Chip’s aunt
KITTY, a miner’s wife
JOE, a cutting machine miner
SIR BARLOW, head of the 1935 Royal Commission on Coal Mining
2 BOYS
2 STUDENTS
CONSTABLE (V.O.)
HOBO (FEMALE)
SERGEANT (V.O.)
MAN
MINE OWNER
MINE MANAGER (V.O.)
MINE MANAGER
MRS. PARAMA
REVEREND
GREENHORN
PITBOSS
2 HELPERS
Suggested doubling:
HATTIE/BOY/MARY/STUDENT/REVEREND/HELPER/HOBO
MOM/BOY/ANNA/MRS. PARAMA/KITTY/HELPER/GREENHORN
SAM/MAN/STUDENT/CONSTABLE (V.O.)/STAN/MINE MANAGER/MINE MANAGER (V.O.)/SERGEANT (V.O.)/JOE/PITBOSS/SIR BARLOW/MINE OWNER
CHIP
SLAV
MINER

First Produced:

First Produced in 2005 at Royal Tyrrell Museum Theatre by the sloughfoot stubble jumpers for the Town of Drumheller, and commissioned for the Year of the Coalminer.

Resources:

Coal Valley: The Making of a Miner is available through the CPO Website.

For more information about the playwright and her work, visit the CWPO collection.

To view other works by this playwright, click here.

Notes:

The Hillcrest mine disaster of 1914 appears in an overview of Canadian coal mining disasters from the Canadian Encyclopedia here.

Gallery: