The Story

In Goodness, playwright Michael Redhill provides the audience with a less-than-reliable version of himself as narrator. He then takes us on a brief, uncomfortable visit to Poland to explore the loss of his family (Polish Jews) in the Holocaust and then on to England, where, disillusioned and bitter, he stumbles across the story of a much more recent genocide.

He meets Althea – an ex-prison guard, now living in hiding. She tells him a story of the man she once guarded – a man thought to have orchestrated a killing-spree in her country – a man whose memory has disappeared. At the narrative core of the piece is the old man who may or may not have instigated the actions that wiped out Althea’s family. At his murder trial, he appears to have Alzheimer’s. With no memory, is he still guilty? Or is he faking the disease to escape punishment? Who decides how the story is told? Who is telling the truth? From Pinochet to Saddam Hussein, from Yugoslavia to Sudan, Goodness resonates deeply with the world of the present moment.

In a series of time-shifting tales-within-tales, with actors stepping in and out of roles, Redhill explores what it means to tell, or even know, the truth, and who is able to tell the truth to another. The play suggests a moral continuum that begins with writing, and ends with watching. What is the responsibility of a play? What is the responsibility of its audience? And, as the play itself asks: “Why do good people rush to do evil?”

Winner of the Carol Tambor “Best of Edinburgh” at the world’s largest theatre festival in 2006, Volcano’s production Goodness is a multi-layered exploration of genocide laced with choral music from around the world.

The Team

Written by | Michael Redhill
Directed by | Ross Manson
Set & Costumes by | Teresa Przybylski
Musical Direction by | Brenna MacCrimmon
Sound by | John Gzowski
Lighting Design by | Rebecca Picherack
Starring | Layne Coleman, Lili Francks, Tara Hughes, J.D. Nicholsen, Gord Rand, Amy Rutherford
Stage Managers | JP Robichaud, Angie Jones, Guillaume Houët-Brisebois




October/November 2005: Premiered at Tarragon Theatre, Toronto

August 2006: Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Tour to the Traverse Theatre

March 2007: Tour to PS122, New York City

June 2008: Tour to Magnetic North Festival, Vancouver

September 2008: Production remounted on Finnish actors by Ross Manson at the Svenska Theatre, Helsinki

September 2009: Toronto Remount at the Theatre Centre

October 2009: Tour to Rwanda: Festival Arts Azimuts, with runs in Huye and Kigali

January 2010: Tour to Winnipeg: Prairie Theatre Exchange

March 2012: Tour to British Columbia: Touchstone Theatre and Chutzpah Festival co-presentation at the Firehall Arts Centre, Vancouver / Belfry Theatre, Victoria

March 2012: Tour through Southern Ontario: St. Catherine’s, Kingston, Kitchener, Burlington, Oakville

2013: premiere of Goodness in Rwanda: a documentary film about the show’s tour to Rwanda ( This doc went on to win Best Documentary at the Thin Line Film Festival in Texas, and Audience Choice award at Toronto's Reelworld Film Festival

Awards and Nominations

2010 Dora Award nominee (Independent Theatre Division) for: 

Outstanding Production: Goodness

Outstanding Direction: Ross Manson

Outstanding Performance – Male Principal: Gord Rand

Outstanding Original Sound Design/Composition: Brenna MacCrimmon/John Gzowski


Carol Tambor “Best of Edinburgh” Award 2006, Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Goodness

The Scotsman First Fringe Award, Edinburgh Fringe 2006: Goodness