by Eric Woolfe
Directed by Michael Waller
with Eric Woolfe, Darren Keay and Rebecca Northan
Dear Boss is a full-length drama by Eric Woolfe. Culled from fact, Dear Boss brings together the American Charles Fort (an inveterate chronicler of the Unexplained) with the Elephant Man (Joseph Merrick) to deal with the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888. They try to find the serial killer and cross paths with everyone from the society surgeon and possible suspect Sir William Gull to Lewis Carroll, at one time a suspect as the Ripper.
Dear Boss: A Fortean Investigation of Jack the Ripper centres around uncovering the identity of the shadowy figure whose vicious murders of five prostitutes earned him the moniker Jack the Ripper. He was never caught. Set in the bleak atmosphere of the poverty-stricken slums of London’s Whitechapel in the autumn of 1888, Eric Woolfe‘s unique style uses live actors combined with puppets, simple stylized special effects, humour, and horror. Named for the greeting at the top of Jack the Ripper’s letters, Dear Boss is a murder mystery and a romantic horror story comprised of three actors, Mary Kelly, the final canonical Ripper victim; her lover, an unemployed fish porter named Joseph Barnett and the American Charles Fort, famous for his writings about such phenomena as spontaneous combustion, raining fish and frogs, ghosts and flying saucers, and other weird phenomena. The cast is completed by thirty puppets representing several historically accurate characters, including the Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick; the Physician to the Queen and high-ranking Freemason Sir William Gull, who was suspected of a connection to the murders; the late 19th century’s most famous and notorious mystic, occultist, and medium, Madame Blavatsky; and Lewis Carroll, represented by some of his characters from the Alice books, which were perused for anagrams thought to be the author’s confession of his crimes.
Dear Boss premiered in 2004 at Artword Theatre in Toronto and received 4 Dora Nominations, including Outstanding New Play. This cult favourite was remounted in 2005 at Vertigo Mystery Theatre in Calgary.
Presented by Eldritch Theatre and Alianak Theatre Productions at Artword (75 Portland)
Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday-Sunday 2:30 pm.
“There are few innovators in thetheatre world, but Eric Woolfe is surely one of them.”