Failing Hands

by Marilyn Anne Campbell

Stage play: Theatre for Young Audiences; two-act, 3W/1M
Two young nursing home volunteers – one who is truly dedicated and one who is only doing mandatory volunteer hours to graduate high school – discover that one of the home's dementia patients served as a Nursing Sister during World War II. As the teens get to know more about the veteran's experiences at war and her current challenges with memory loss, one of them becomes dangerously obsessed with the past while the other begins to reconsider the future.
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Public Presentation

As one of the winners in Storybook Theatre's National TYA Playwriting Competition, Failing Hands will receive one week of workshopping with Storybook Theatre in Calgary, AB then be presented in a public reading on Friday September 9th at 7pm at the Beddington Heights Community Arts Centre (375 Bermuda Drive NW). The link is now live for you to book your free tickets to the reading. 

A Little History

The Toronto Arts Council supported the first draft of Failing Hands with a Level 1 Playwrights Grant. I spent a lot of time researching – far more than I intended – and ended up needing to use the now-defunct, 100-pages-in-a-month writing challenge Script Frenzy to force myself to sit down and write a full first draft. That first draft only had three characters; teen volunteers Jenna and Andrew, and Nursing Sister veteran Helen.

After working on a few more drafts on my own, I took the script to a new writer's group led by Derek Gingrich, which was a Playwright's Guild of Canada pilot project. Later, I took it to a playwright's group being run through the Toronto Public Library by David S. Young, who was at that time the TPL's Writer in Residence. Between the feedback I received from those two excellent groups of writers, a fourth character (Lakeview administrator Linda Muir) was added, and with her came Helen's memory of the Matron she served under.

Although the script has received years of development on paper - the most of any script I've worked on so far - it has yet to be on it's feet with actors or a director. That's about to change in Calgary, and I'm very excited to see what comes.



  • Public reading scheduled for September 2016
  • First option to produce with Storybook Theatre, Calgary AB