Courting Johanna is set in the claustrophobic atmosphere of Huron County, Ontario in the 1950s. Johanna is a dignified Scottish immigrant housekeeper who works for the well-off Mr. McCauley. She looks after McCauley’s granddaughter, Sabitha, whose mother is dead and whose father, Ken, is a deadbeat looking for work out West. When silly, spoiled Sabitha and her younger, but more mature friend Edith–the sensible daughter of an immigrant shoemaker–discover a personal letter Johanna has written to Ken, they decide to play a trick on her. More out of boredom than cruelty, they begin forging letters from “Ken” to the lonely Johanna, who opens her heart and confesses that before she became his pen pal, she had “only had one friend in my life.” Based on the luminous short story “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” from the Alice Munro collection of the same name, Courting Johanna is a window into the human heart–a tale of loneliness, deception, and redemption.
About the Author
Marcia Johnson is a playwright and actor based in Toronto. Her plays include Serving Elizabeth, Binti’s Journey, an adaptation of The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis; Courting Johanna, based on Alice Munro’s “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage,” and Late. My Mother’s Ring, a short opera for which she wrote the libretto with composer Stephen A. Taylor, was nominated for a 2009 Dora Mavor Moore Award. Their second collaboration, Paradises Lost, based on the Ursula K. Le Guin novella, had excerpted concert performances by Third Angle Ensemble in Portland, Oregon and at The Gershwin Hotel in New York. Marcia Johnson is a core member of Got Your Back Canada and is a juror/dramaturg for Ergo Pink Fest, supporting, developing and showcasing the works of women and playwrights of marginalized genders.