Medicine Hat murders the subject of new play


The 2006 murder of a Medicine Hat family at the hands of a 23-year-old
and his pre-teen girlfriend is the basis of a new play, "Castle in the Sky," set
to open next month in Victoria, B.C.

In an interview with the News, playwright Francesca Albright said people should not expect a reenactment of the crime for which Jeremy Steinke and his then 12-year old girlfriend were convicted of triple murder. Rather, she said, it will take a look at the fallout of the act.

Albright said she and co-author Jude Allen were living in Calgary when news of the triple murder broke. "It was so shocking," said Albright, who began compiling articles and interviews with those close to the couple and investigation in the years following the murders.

"We made about six trips (to Medicine Hat) in eight months... and we started to get involved with the (the murderer's) circle of friends." Part of the motivation in writing the play comes from an attempt to go beyond what was heard in the media, courts and through rumours, said Albright.

"Not all the information was out there and that's what we went to find out because those people weren't interviewed, they wouldn't go on record or they ran away from the city," she said.

"So we made it our mission to get in touch with a lot of these people and try to find out the truth." And it's through these interviews in which Albright said the "docu-play" is constructed.

"So it's none of our speculation, no dramatization of the events. It is about the after-effects on a community."

Albright said her theatre company is currently looking to present the play to Alberta audiences in the near future.

"Castle in the Sky" opens for a staged reading on March 19 at Victoria's Intrepid Theatre.