Playwright Don Hannah

The Cave Painter

The Cave Painter is a new one-woman play by Don Hannah.  CCTC Director Kim McCaw encountered the script as a dramaturg at the Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre's Playwrights' Colony in 2010.  The Centre produced the world premiere of the play as part of Working Title 3 in 2011.


Playwright: Don Hannah

CCTC Dramaturg

Dramaturg: Kim McCaw


Currently seeking production partners.  Contact the CCTC Administrator or Michael Petrasek at Kensington Literary Representation (416.979.0187).


            “It’s just you and me now,” I tell Pete, “Nearly everybody else appears to be either crazy or dead.”

The Cave Painter is a one woman show that deals with grief and where we put it in order to continue with our lives. 

Dianne is a visual artist, a printmaker, and her work is concerned with images from archaeology - deer teeth and bones, debris from digs in Africa and the Middle East, the skull of a Neanderthal child found in Uzbekistan

When her granddaughter asks her why she draws bones and teeth, she answers, “To try and figure out what it means to be human.” 

In the play, Dianne is always in an interior space, but that space keeps shifting. At times she’s in a room in her house, at other times, a cave, or the art gallery in New York in the late sixties where she first saw the work of sculptor Eva Hesse. The play becomes a journey through time: through her own life, as well as through time and space. At one point she is surrounded by Paleolithic images from the caves at Lascaux and Font de Gaume.

Dianne has lived an artist’s life, which means that, by middle class society standards, it has been a fairly unconventional one. She’s rarely made practical financial choices, never made much money, and she’s raised her son on her own in a way that used to be called “bohemian.” The father of her son was her best friend from art school, a gay man who died of AIDS when Evan was a boy. Like many people in their late fifties, she’s suddenly finding herself coping with an accumulation of loss. 

            “Now we know why someone wrote The Book of Job,” I say. “I don’t see how things could get much worse.” Which was a stupid thing to say ‘cause things can always get worse; they can get lots worse.

She and her partner Pete are atheists, and at the heart of this play is the question, “How would Job have managed without the comforts of faith?” 

Evan has rejected his mother’s choices and has embraced Christianity; Dianne suddenly finds herself dealing with the frightening prospect of losing not just her son, but her beloved granddaughters as well.

Other Details
Female: 1
Dianne: Age 55-65

Place: An artist's studio
Time: The present

Running time:
Runs approximately 90 minutes.

The World Premiere of The Cave Painter ran from June 23 - 26, 2011 as part of the CCTC's Working Title 3 mini-festival of productions and readings, presented in partnership with Department of Drama's StageLab.  The play was mounted in the Second Playing Space of the Timms Centre for the Arts on the University of Alberta main campus with the following cast and production team:

Director/Dramaturg: Kim McCaw*
Stage Manager: Betty Hushlak*
Set Designer: Daniela Masellis
Costume Designer: Nick Blais
Lighting Designers: Daniela Masellis & Nick Blais
Projections: Clinton Carew
Cast: Jenny Munday* as Dianne.

*Courtesy Canadian Actors' Equity Association


In Performance


The Cave Painter was mounted with its original star, Jenny Munday, and director, Kim McCaw, in reprise at the NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  Don Hannah's play ran at the Festival for three performances, from August 1-3, 2012.

Project Log

Spring 2013
The Cave Painter is expected to be available in a published double edition that includes The Woodcutter from Playwrights Canada Press.

October 2012

The Playwrights Guild of Canada honours Don Hannah and The Cave Painter with the Carol Bolt Award which is "presented for the best work premiered by a PGC member in the past year"                                                                                                                                                         

November 2011

The Cave Painter receives a reading in Vancouver, British Columbia at UBC's Green College, where Don Hannah is Writer-in-Residence. The reading takes place on November 24, 2011 with actress Marylin Norry as Diane.

June 2011
World Premiere Production
June 23 - 26, 2011
Second Playing Space
Timms Centre for the Arts
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta

Summer 2010
The script is workshopped at the Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre Playwrights' Colony.