Photo of Audrey Dwyer by Dahlia Katz


By Audrey Dwyer

Calpurnia is a satirical comedy, which features Julie Gordon, a young Jamaican-Canadian writer who is in the middle stages of adapting Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird into a screenplay from the perspective of Calpurnia, the Finch family servant. Julie, a writer and budding activist, suffers from writer’s block as her father, brother and brother’s white girlfriend celebrate her brother’s success as a law graduate. He’s taken on a difficult case and is making the papers.

Julie’s father asks her to keep a secret: He has invited a high profile lawyer over for dinner to help move her brother’s career forward. In an argument, her brother informs her that she has no right to write about an African-American maid because she isn’t Black enough. He accuses her of appropriating a culture she doesn’t belong to. Julie decides to “do the work”. Calpurnia ends with her realizing that in order to make change, she needs to check her values and how she shares her talents because change can only begin from within.

NNNN - "Destined to be one of the most talked-about shows of the season. Don’t miss it."

NOW MagazineGlenn Sumi

★★★ (out of 4) — "Likely to prompt many a soul-searching conversation about how race, privilege, and gender intersect. It’s more outspoken and insightful about these issues than any Canadian play I’ve seen."

The Toronto StarKaren Fricker

“…a highly relevant and provocative look at racism, classism, and sexism in a story that is at times humorous and at most times painful and uncomfortable in the best possible way. The performances are dynamic, as is the writing, making this a show that is well worth the watch. Calpurnia is one of those stories that is deeply nuanced and provides much fodder for discussion and debate. It is eye-opening and reveals much about prejudices and ingrained privilege that, in some way, exists in everyone. It’s certainly worth the watch.”

Mooney On TheatreSamantha Wu

“…is named after the Black housekeeper in Harper Lee’s famed To Kill A Mockingbird and turns the tale upside down by challenging notions of privilege and perceptions of the beloved novel — all while making you laugh. The dynamics that play out will provoke diverse audiences to rethink the advantages race, class or gender may have afforded them and how those with less advantage are treated in society… Calpurnia is captivating…Calpurnia ends appropriately, leaving audiences wanting more; it's the start of a discussion that must continue off-stage in everyday life. It’s a play you’ll be referencing for seasons to come.”

ByBlacks.comRuane Remy

“Audrey Dwyer’s gutsy new comedy will leave you cringing in your seat as it fearlessly confronts the racism and inequality festering under the surface of liberal Toronto.”

Toronto Life

Production Details

3 Male

3 Female

120 minutes

By Audrey Dwyer

Purchase Play Script

Production History

Premiered in a co-production with Nightwood Theatre/Sulong Theatre (playing at Buddies in Bad Times) January 2018

Poster image featuring Audrey Dwyer by Dahlia Katz

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