The Mountain and the Valley

Written by:

Catherine Ann Banks

Cast Size:
13

Roles For:

  • Men: 6
  • Women: 7

Genre:

Tragedy

Themes:

Family
Grief
Loneliness
Love
Marriage
Sex
War

Length:

120 min.

Year Written:

2022

Synopsis:

It is 1930 and young David Canaan (13) is beloved by his parents Joseph and Martha, his twin sister Anna, and older brother Chris. Held in awe by his community because of his intelligence it seems that David is destined for great things. Yet slowly that future disappears in a series of events that leave David isolated, alone and his dreams of being a writer in ruins. Can his dream be reclaimed?

Characters:

(Canaan family)
DAVID*——from age 13 to 33
ANNA*——–David’s twin 13-33
CHRIS*——-David’s older brother 14-35
ELLEN——Joseph’s Mother 50-70 later years blind
MARTHA—-Mother mid 30s-mid 40s
JOSEPH*——Father mid 30s to mid 40s
TOBY——–David’s city pen pal, marries Anna 15-33
Community
RACHEL—a bitter woman, Charlotte’s mother 30-40s
CHARLOTTE—her mother’s mold, the girl Chris marries 15-20
BESS**——a bountiful woman, Effie’s mother 30s
EFFIE——–David’s childhood friend 14-17
STEVE—David’s friend 13-33
BEN—farmer
MISS SPEAKMAN the schoolteacher
DEAR–40s
HONEY 40s
RECRUITMENT DOCTOR
RECRUIT
GIRLS at the dance
RUTHIE (Girl) played by the actress who plays Effie.
BOYS AT THE RIVER
MEN of the valley
WOMEN of the valley
OLD MAN HENNESSEY- 50-70 dressed in a long coat

First Produced:

To be produced in 2024 Two Planks and a Passion

Resources:

Play can be accessed by emailing the playwright at catherine99banks@gmail.com or their agent Catherine Knights at catherine@catalysttcm.com

Notes:

The themes explored in The Mountain and the Valley are escape from the character’s present life situation, mortality, appreciation of life, marriage, love, the circle of life, raw sexual exploration, isolation within the family, death of a way of life and one’s place in community. Indeed Buckler’s The Mountain and The Valley feels like a grittier, Canadian response to Wilder’s Our Town.

*Joseph is the product of Ellen’s brief affair with the sailor she hid in the barn. The Sailor tells stories that are, clearly, descriptions of the Caribbean. In my interpretation The Sailor is of mixed Portuguese and Guyanese descent. David, Chris and Anna would also be mixed race. (See below) There’s a beauty to Ellen’s secret in plain sight.

** Bess and therefore Effie have Mi’Kmaq heritage. The Labrador name is a mainland Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq surname, one well known in the Valley at that time. The culture of the time 1940’s was silence around one’s non-white heritage.

Warnings:

Play includes sex between minors