An old man in a military uniform and a Santa hat is dumped at the police station. He doesn’t speak English, and a lawyer’s business card is baited on the meat hook that hangs on his neck. As a lawyer, a police officer and a translator struggle to unravel the truth, they uncover a past that won’t stay buried, and a decades-old quest for justice that must be served.
This edition includes a foreword by Louise Arbour, former Supreme Court of Canada justice and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and notes on the Lavinian language created for the play.
Butcher premiered at Alberta Theatre Projects in October 2014.
Praise for Nicolas Billon’s Iceland:
‘Billon is a masterful storyteller, drawing us into his characters’ lives via richly detailed monologues, full of haunting imagery that echoes throughout the play. ’
'[Butcher] is no ordinary nail-biter . .. [it] is also a dead serious philosophical drama that deals with international war crimes and the desire for revenge . .. The play asks whether, in crimes of such enormity, closure can even be found without perpetuating the bloody cycle of revenge. '
— CBC Books
"It’s a major treat that is filled with tricks . .. a scary, unsettling thrill ride that might just haunt your intellect as much as it surely will your nightmares. "
"Consistently captivating. " — CBC News
"Revenge, justice mixed and served cold onstage. "
— The Winnipeg Free Press
"Can a play be too entertaining? . .. Butcher is not too entertaining, but it is dangerously so. "
'[D]elivered with a streak of dark comedy and muscular, thriller-like plotting that makes for a furiously entertaining play. '
'One of the most artfully constructed plays we’ve seen in a long time . .. [t]here are so many jolting twists in Butcher’s 85 minutes that you may wind up needing a neck brace. '
'No sarcasm here: I can't wait for the movie . .. [u]nderneath the mystery of the plot are questions about the difference between revenge and justice, and whether either is attainable when the criminal is the one in power. There are questions about inherited trauma and the cycle of persecution and hate . .. On top of everything . .. there are questions about privilege, and who has the historical, geographic, and economic distance to overcome violence. '
— Toronto Star