Innocence Lost: New play hits Studio 58

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Shauna Griffin as Lynn Harper and Mike Gill as Steven Truscott in Innocence Lost.

Studio 58 alumna and playwright Beverley Cooper brings her play, Innocence Lost: A Play About Steven Truscott, to Langara from March 20 to April 6 for its Western Canadian premiere.

In the summer of 1959 in Clinton, Ontario 14-year-old Steven Truscott was charged with the rape and murder of his 12-year-old classmate, Lynne Harper. The tragedy shook the small rural town and Truscott was sentenced to death by hanging. Truscott’s death sentence was appealed in 1960 and he was released on parole in 1969. Truscott maintained his innocence until 2007, when he was formally acquitted of the crime.

“[Innocence Lost] really is one of the most fascinating cases in Canadian history and in world history,” said Cooper. “The fact that we almost hung a 14-year-old boy really struck home for a lot of people.”

Sold out performances 

The play was sold out at the Blyth Festival in Ontario, which produces and promotes Canadian plays, in 2008 and 2009 and was a finalist for the 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction. Innocence Lost landed on the Globe and Mail bestseller list, which was a first for a Canadian playwright. “It’s really great to me that Studio 58 is doing [the play] and Sarah Rodgers, who’s the director, is phenomenal,” said Cooper.

Rodgers said in an email the cast rehearses six times a week and that audiences can anticipate “an incredibly startling and compelling Canadian story.”

“The cast is incredibly excited about this project,” said Rodgers. “We have all been swept away by the gravity and severity of the story while at the same time loving the challenge of the theatricality and live music.”

Looking optimistic 

Cooper hopes Studio 58 audiences will come away from the play with a new outlook and consideration toward authorities. “I hope [audiences] will consider their own lives and their own way that we are quick to judge people,” she said.

Innocence Lost will play in Studio 58 with show times on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Single tickets range from $19.75 to $24.72. Free student nights are on March 20 and 21.

Reported by Karly Blats  

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