Downed Hearts

Written by:

Catherine Ann Banks

Cast Size:

Roles For:

  • Men: 2
  • People of Colour: 2
  • People with Disabilities: 1
  • Women: 4






100 min.

Year Written:



Ten days after an air-sea disaster an island fisherman struggles to recover from the aftermath of his participation in the rescue-turned-recovery operation of a downed jetliner. Aaron’s mental fragility is compounded by his wife’s (Amanda) recent decision to take their special needs son to live off island so that Lucas, 12, will get better schooling. Aaron, determined to regain his mental equilibrium, boards his small boat and heads out to where he feels most at peace, on the ocean. When he returns to shore hours later with a young mute woman the question foremost in everyone’s mind is, who is she, but more concerning to Aaron’s mother, Pearl, could Aaron really believe he has found a lone survivor? Downed Hearts is a play that delves into the possibility that healing sometimes comes to us in mysterious ways, which is beautifully encapsulated in Mary Oliver’s poetic line; “what small or even maybe meaningful deeds I might have accomplished somewhere among strangers.”
In 1998, just after 10:30 pm a Swiss Air flight crashed into the sea 5 nautical miles off the coast of Nova Scotia. Many of the fishermen along the coast boarded their small fishing boats and headed out to rescue survivors but what their night lights shone on was a sea of carnage. Downed Hearts is not about the facts of this event, but rather was inspired by that night and the dark days that followed as these men tried to cope with what they had seen. This play is ultimately about finding healing in unexpected ways.


Aaron 30-33, a fisherman, everything is slipping out of his hands.
Amanda 30, Aaron’s wife, South Asian
Lucas/Lucy 13, Aaron and Amanda’s son, moves with efficiency and purpose of a person on the Autism spectrum, Caucasian/South Asian
Pearl mid-fifties, Aaron’s mother, Lucas’s Gram.
Percy (female) late fifties, an artist from Ontario, has lived on the island a year.
Belle early twenties, black hair like the Disney character. Who is she? No one knows perhaps not even Belle.

First Produced:

Ship's Company Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre with Matchstick theatre


Play can be accessed by emailing the playwright at or their agent Catherine Knights at