Controversial play 'not a recreation of the crimes'


Controversy over the staging of a documentary play based on the 2006 triple-murder of a Medicine Hat family has its creators defending the production.

Brother and sister playwrights Jude Allen and Francesca Albright's Castle in the Sky is set to play at the Esplanade Theatre for a one night only showing later this month.

But the duo believe the play is being wrongly characterized as a reenactment rather than a play based on verbatim interviews conducted with people close to the murderers and victims.

Nathalie Pépin, a resident who's interview with the playwrights features in the production, said it's that impression which people are getting wrong.

"The most important thing to remember is Castle in the Sky is not a recreation of the crimes," she said. "That's really important that is understood by the public and the community."

Pépin had high praise for the production after seeing it during Calgary's Ignite! Festival for emerging playwrights.

"It's a very intelligent, very sensitive, very tasteful way to put out information," she said. It puts forward a part of the story that many who followed one of the city's most horrific crimes may not be familiar with.

"The public is always going to have an opinion. The public is always going to have a right to their opinion," she said.

"But have the play available to the public. . .Whether or not you see it, it's your choice." Allen also stressed there is no intention to exploit the tragedy.

"It's far from that. We just want to get across that this is a play for the community, about the community and we maintain relationships with the people we interviewed," he said.

"It's their words and it's not manufactured or some gross misinterpretation."

The News took in the first public presentation of the production during a staged reading in Victoria earlier this year.

The documentary style play features interviews with those who knew the youth girl and her 23-year-old boyfriend who were convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in connection with the crime.

It also features recollections from those who knew the victims as well as an interview with former Medicine Hat News reporter James Neeley who covered the girl's trial.

Castle in the Sky play at the Esplanade Theatre on July 23.