The sound of the wind across a Prairie field, the smell of grass on
the first day of spring, the vocalization of birds in the early morning
woods, the silence of the lake at night interrupted by call of the loon
- these are the shapes and sounds of the Prairie landscape.
Katherine Koller invokes the Prairie setting as a central character in
each of the four plays in Voices of the Land. Serving a
supportive and, at other times, antagonistic role, the landscape acts
upon the characters, driving and intensifying their transformation.
The land and those who live in intimate terms with it are the focus
of Koller's plays. In The Seed Savers, farmers face
pressure to purchase genetically modified seed; a protagonist refuses
to sell untilled land for development in Cowboy Boots and a
Corsage; a dying woman sees a lake as her final resting place in
Abby's Place; and in The Early Worm Club, Millie
realizes a deep sense of belonging to the Alberta parkland and its
birds while searching for her mate. Nature goes beyond mere setting and
backdrop in these plays to effect transformation and resolution on the
characters. Ranging from romantic comedy to drama and from one-act to
full-length, the plays in Voices of the Land show western
Canadians at the point of leaving, returning, and renewing against the
backdrop of their native landscape.
Katherine Koller teaches in the Department of English
and Film Studies at the University of Alberta and continues to write
for radio, stage and screen. Her one-act comedies have been produced