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Under the Skin, a stage play

SYNOPSIS ... PRODUCTIONS ... REVIEWS ... ABOUT THE PLAY ... BIBLIOGRAPHY

Under the Skin

Synopsis

Under the Skin was Betty's last play, completed shortly before her death in 1983. It is based on a real kidnapping that occurred in Port Moody, British Columbia. There are only three characters: Maggie, Renee and John. Maggie's daughter Emma has disappeared, though we never see the girl in the play. The focus is on Renee's marriage to the sadistic John, and the terrible secret he is keeping from her. For John is the one that has kidnapped the twelve-year-old and confined her to an air-raid shelter beneath his workshop, where he sexually molests her. As the play progresses, Renee realizes what has happened, and it is her subtle reaction to this shocking revelation that underlies the play's theme.

Under the Skin flyer

Theatrical Productions

1. New Play Centre, Waterfront Theatre, Vancouver, British Columbia, November 1985.

Directed by Pamela Hawthorn
Set Designed by Paul Ford
Stage Managed by Bill Leblanc
MAGGIE Benton
Alana Shields
RENEE Gifford
Wendy van Riesen
JOHN Gifford
Dwight McFee

2. Many subsequent productions.

Reviews

"...nuanced and very disturbing." 
     -The Vancouver Sun

"The late Betty Lambert's final play, seen here in its West Coast debut, is dynamic and passionate. It is powerful enough, despite occasional flaws that stick in the mind like burrs, to suggest the playwright's early death deprived the theatre of a talent that could have ranked with that of the late Jane Chambers."
     -Polly Warfield

"An intriguing play was given a handsome, well-produced New York premiere...an evocative play."
     -Jeanne Miller

"Under the Skin is definitely disturbing and certainly daring...keeps its audience on the edge of their seats and is well worth seeing."
     -Carrie Shaw, Imprint

"Lambert's spellbinding drama, Under the Skin, peels back society's unseen layers of family abuse."
     -Doug Bale, London Free Press

"Playwright Betty Lambert does not resort to such dilutions and distortions in Under the Skin, her intensely gripping play on abuse and madness."
     -Stephen Pedersen, Chronicle Herald

"...portrays more than gravity of spiritual crisis. Its strength rests in its ability to penetrate the veneer of the human mind and reveal a darker core marked by disturbing and sometimes destructive inclinations. This becomes evident in the play's grim and shocking final act. Lambert succeeds also in depicting the ways in which we confront our fears, both those attributed to outside forces and those resting within our own human makeup."
     -Helene Hyrek, Dalhouse University Gazette

Under the Skin flyer

About the Play

"It's much more than a thriller, it shows how we try to ignore what is happening beneath the surface of our lives because it is much more comfortable to deny it."

-Betty Lambert

Under the Skin

Bibiliography

Lambert, Betty. (1987). Jennie's Story & Under the Skin. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press.

Under the Skin

Betty Lambert Homepage Biography of Betty Betty's Writings Photographs of Betty Betty Lambert Memorial Prize Share a Story Website Links Website Sitemap