Written by:

Jennifer Fraser, Thomas Brown

Cast Size:

Roles For:

  • Men: 10
  • Women: 9






120 min.


Distortion tells the story of Alex Dysart, a gifted musician at a performing arts academy who suffers from dyslexia. The show moves backwards from Dysart’s attempted suicide to the two weeks leading up to his crisis and his interactions with his family, fellow students and teachers.

The characters are all talented musicians and they move back and forth from Debussy and Beethoven to a range of contemporary songs that are interwoven into the themes and characters. The play is a contemporary look at an education system that struggles to accommodate learning exceptionalities, while at the same time, explores the concerns of 21st-century adolescents. The play ranges from the distortion one seeks on an electric guitar to the distortion that makes us believe kids with learning disabilities are “dumb.” (From the CPO Website)



Alex Dysart — 17; dyslexic, sings “Dumb” and “Ocean of Noise”
Dan Cardero — 17; abusive boyfriend, sings “Creep”
Greg Johnson—17; ambitious, sings “Boys Don’t Cry”
Mark Sheppard — 17; true friend to Alex, sings “Crown of Love”
Ella Morrissey — 17; abused girlfriend of Dan’s, sings “Monster Hospital” and “Unbelievable”
Jess Woodman — 17; bulimic/ anorexic, sings “Sentimental Xs”
Blaine Jones — 17; on scholarship, sings “Skinny Little Bitch”

Constance Shrike — 40; Music Teacher
Matthew Bowen — 40; Vice Principal
Jim Barrington — 30; Math Teacher
Joyce Crane — 30; English Teacher
Sandra Lexington — 30; Learning Resource Specialist

Mr. Dysart — 45; Alex’s father
Mrs. Dysart — 45; Alex’s mother
Dr. Sheppard — 45; Mark’s mother
Dr. Sheppard — 45; Mark’s father

Dr. Smythe — 55; Emergency Room Doctor

Ophthalmologist — 30

Nurse — 30

The play may be performed with a cast of ten with the students, Ms. Shrike, and Alex’s parents.
The students can double with the medical staff and teachers. Alex’s parents can double with Mark’s parents.

First Produced:

St. Michaels University School, Victoria, BC, 2011


Distortion is available through the CPO Website.

To view other works by this playwright, click here.


Parts II and III of Jennifer Fraser’s Pain Trilogy are Aristotle’s Poetics (on PLEDGE here) and Wakeful Sleeper (on PLEDGE here).

Songs and artists listed in the cast notes:

“Dumb” by Nirvana

“Ocean of Noise” and “Crown of Love” by Arcade Fire

“Creep” by Radiohead

“Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure

“Monster Hospital” by Metric

“Unbelievable” by EMF

“Sentimental X’s” by Broken Social Scene

“Skinny Little Bitch” by Hole