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The Plays of CODCO

Edited by Helen Peters


Edited By Helen Peters

This book presents the texts of five plays, collectively written and performed during the years 1973 to 1976 by the Newfoundland theatre troupe CODCO. CODCO's satiric plays expose universal perversity, ignorance, prejudice and abuse with the ironic wit of the people of Newfoundland. The plays are distinguished by their graveyard or gallows humour. CODCO played an important role in the evolution of Canadian theatre and is an early signifier of Canada's attainment of cultural maturity. CODCO's current weekly television series commenced broadcasting in 1988.


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Codco: Introduction xi


INTRODUCTION Development of CODCO CODCO on Stage, 1973-76 Six Newfoundland actors wrote and performed a twenty-minute play in 1973 at Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille. The actors, Greg Malone, Diane Olsen, Tommy Sexton, Cathy Jones, Paul Sametz and Mary Walsh, ranged in age from sixteen to twenty-five, and were all ambitious to further their stage careers. 1 Having gained experience in St. John's theatre and, in some cases, other parts of Canada, they worked together in Dudley Cox and David Weiser's Newfoundland Travelling Theatre Company, which toured Newfoundland communities in the early 1970s playing a repertoire of English farces and Newfoundland plays. Throughout 1972, the Newfoundland actors went separately to Toronto. Greg Malone had already found work with Theatre Passe Muraille when Diane Olsen and Tommy Sexton auditioned for Passe Muraille director Paul Thompson who was casting Them Donnellys. Thompson was impressed with their determination and struck with their, "totally unique sense of humour and a sense of chemistry." He thought that the actors' "auditions were fantastic," but he did not cast them in the play which was set in southern Ontario. 2 Convinced that they should write their own material, Thompson seeded Sexton and Olsen $300.00 to write their own play. They first involved Cathy Jones and Paul Sametz in the project, then enticed Greg Malone from his current acting job and finally wooed Mary Walsh, who was enrolled in acting classes at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, into collectively writing Cod on a Stick. xii THE PLAYS OF CODCO This first...

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