Cantata & The Extinction Therapist
Two Plays by Clem Martini
Clem Martini's award-winning play, Cantata: Rumours of My Crazy, Useless Life provides a window into the experience of people going through the hidden, high-stakes struggles of elder care and mental illness. In Cantata, Martin Bussinger discovers his elderly mother's health and mental acuity is deteriorating, facing him with emotional and medical problems that feel almost unsolvable. He realizes that negotiating the delicate network of caregiving, strung together with the further challenge of supporting a brother living with a mental illness, places him in a situation that is simultaneously heartrending and darkly comic.
In The Extinction Therapist, Dr. Marshall's therapeutic practice offers group support to those threatened with extinction including a woolly mammoth, a testy short-eared shrew, the uncompromising smallpox virus, an insecure tyrannosaurus rex They all convene to receive therapy, in an attempt to come to terms with the complicated, volatile feelings associated with their life-and-death circumstances.
Cantata was named winner in the full-length category of Theatre BC's 2021 Canadian Playwriting Competition and following the play's premiere production with Sage Theatre on April 28, 2022. it was named Most Outstanding New Play in the Calgary Theatre Critics' Awards. As Martini puts it, "Some readers will recognize themselves in these characters. Some may even be going through these trials right now." The book will be of interest to theatre practitioners, students of acting and directing, social workers, therapists, nurses and others in the caregiving professions as well.
About this Author
Professor Clem Martini is a celebrated playwright, novelist, and screenwriter with over thirty plays and thirteen books of fiction and non-fiction to his credit. His text on playwriting, The Blunt Playwright is employed by colleges and universities across the country. His books include Upside Down: A Family's Journey Through Mental Illness, the W.O. Mitchell Award-winning Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness and the Alberta Trade Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award-winning, The Unravelling. A passionate advocate on behalf of issues associated with suicide, mental-illness-related-stigma, and family care giving, Clem was a member of the Canadian Mental Health Commission, and has been an invited speaker at a number of conferences, symposia and health related gatherings. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada, a recipient of the ATB Financial Healing through the Arts Award, and a Professor of Drama in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary.
Naheed K. Nenshi is a Canadian politician who was the 36th mayor of Calgary, Alberta, the first Muslim mayor of a large North American city. He is also celebrated as a passionate supporter of the arts.
Christine Brubaker is a Canadian actor and director. As a director, she has directed dozens of world premieres including Wilde Tales and a new adaptation of The Horse and His Boy for the Shaw Festival. She is the co-creator of 7th Cousins: An Automythography, and the writer-director of the large scale outdoor performance Henry G20. She teaches directing in the graduate program at the University of Calgary's School of Creative and Performing Arts in Calgary, Alberta, and splits her time between Calgary and Toronto, Ontario.
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