A Play by Oscar Ryan et al.
Edited and introduced by Alan Filewod
Eight Men Speak is the only play to have been banned in Canada for political reasons. Written in 1933, it was staged as part of a campaign to free Tim Buck, then leader of the Communist Party of Canada, who had been imprisoned along with seven other prominent Communists. The play was performed only once in Toronto before it was prohibited by the Toronto police, then by the Winnipeg police and the Canadian Post Office.
This is the first scholarly edition of Eight Men Speak. Editor Alan Filewod, a professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph, details the historical and political context and analyzes the dramaturgy of a play known mainly for its ban and censorship. As Filewod notes, “its contentious history and its reputation as a work of Stalinist propaganda have occluded its cultural significance as a high point of proletarian theatrical modernism.