John Donaldson photo Paddy Summerfield

John was a brave and remarkable man...there is real vision in his poems

      - Kathleen Raine


Broadest Canvas - a synopsis

Link to Extract and Full Text

Broadest Canvas is a play for voices that seeks to illustrate the battles experienced in the search for truth.

There is a solitary actor on stage, spot-lit on a dark background, and the dialogue of the same actor's voice is heard off-stage. These two voices, embodied and disembodied, illustrate the memory recall of the formative parts of his known life, which have influenced him or still invade his senses.

His inner emotions, some turbulent, and their effect on him, form a question and answer rhetoric. The play seeks to illustrate that there is always a POINT OF RETURN from the impossible position and that with hindsight, all experience can be made positive.

In this battle to re-create his own selfhood, man is governed by the needs of his demands and the supply of those demands. These demands are subject to the pressures of feeling which are often misunderstood, even by himself. Yet with hope and belief a move is made toward 'knowing'. He recognises that the cost would be high when entering into the quest for self-knowledge, and in flushing his consciousness he makes it possible to appreciate the vast unfolding miracle of life. This gives him not only a sense of release but a recognition of growing selfhood in truth and the ability to find a purpose in 'being'.

Broadest Canvas - Extract and Full Text

Betty Donaldson 2006-11