Pulitzer Prize Nominated play ‘Keely and Du’ becomes ‘Catch and Release’
Joe Szekeres, Supervisory Toronto Critic
As a lover of live theatre, I’ve seen film productions of some stage plays that worked and did not work for me. This could be another entry I might consider to write sometime in the future, but I was really looking forward to the Zoom discussion I was going to have with one of the founding member of Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto’s Historic Distillery District.
Nancy Palk and I recently discussed her appearance in the play turned film ‘Catch and Release’ scheduled to be released on iTunes Canada July 14. ‘Catch and Release’ is adapted from the 1993 Pulitzer Prize nominated script ‘Keely and Du’ which was popular across Canada and the States, North America according to Ms. Palk.
While ‘Keely and Du’ takes place solely in one room, ‘Catch and Release’ was shot on a solitary island in the middle of Temagami in Northern Ontario. Ms. Palk stated this island used for filming was a beautiful place, but it is too far for anyone to swim away to get assistance in the story. Headed by Ms. Palk and an entirely Canadian cast, the press release I received states ‘Catch and Release’ focuses on women’s reproductive rights and religious extremism. Ms. Palk who plays Du is a religious fundamentalist who will do nearly anything to support her anti-abortion agenda. Montreal actress Laurence Leboeuf is Keely.
Ms. Palk told me how the story behind the play and film is different now, and that it’s unbelievable it is coming out right now because of this sense of isolation we’re all experiencing and trying to hear a new point of view and actually change. For Nancy, this is purely subjective because this is what she feels her arc was. Du comes from a really strong religious background. She knows nothing other than what she was raised in and believes very strongly in Christianity and in pro life.
It was apt the film came out at the time it did because the isolation and aloneness of Covid has made us go down the internet, read books, think and do a lot of learning on many accounts. Hopefully, the film will also allow us to learn something about human nature.
I was also interested in focusing on the nature of Christianity and its treatment of extremism in the film. As someone who is Roman Catholic, Christian and supports the pro-life movement, I wondered if the character of Du whom Nancy plays becomes a caricature. I was pleased that Nancy clarified this context for me. She feels Du is locked into a real patriarchal society. She lost her mother early. Her father who was unbelievably influential in growing up. Du looked after her siblings.
Nancy remembers the film began in the heat of summer (late August), continued all the way through September, and had wrapped by the first week of October. She recalls how the weather was gorgeous and the people were wonderful. With a zestful smile, Nancy also recalled how beautiful the sunrises were up in Temagami as she managed to get a few of them on her phone. There were lots of hikes up mountains and then shooting of film as the hiking continued.
Were there any challenges for Nancy in the transition of this story from knowing first it was a play and then in the process of filming? She recalled the words of director Robin Phillips and the difference between staging in the theatre and in film. In the film, you are actually in the place you say you are so all you have to do is be there and experience it. On stage, you have to imagine and to take yourself there.
Additionally, Nancy is so text driven on stage and is more inclined to give weight to the text and remember the offering of the subtext is just as important to the story or sometimes more important than the actual text. Regarding film work, Nancy says that she and all performers are continuous students in knowing what to throw away and allow yourself to live in silence.
I am most certainly looking forward to ‘Catch and Release’. Here is a link to take you to the trailer for the film:
‘Catch and Release’ directed by Dominque Cardona and Laurie Colbert.
表演者：南希·帕克（Nancy Palk），劳伦斯·勒博（Laurence Leboeuf），艾丹·迪瓦恩（Aidan Devine）和彼得·穆尼（Peter Mooney）。
基于普利策奖提名的基尔玩and Du’ by Jane Martin.
Still Image of Nancy Palk from ‘Catch and Release’ with permission by Dykon Films.