Spread the Love: Carrying the Calf by Shirley Barrie

Written by Craig Mason

This week on Spread the Love, Craig talks about Carrying the Calf, a drama by Shirley Barrie.


Welcome to Spread the Love. This week I’m talking about “Carrying the Calf” by Shirley Barrie.

Carrying the Calf is a play about bullying and violence towards women told through the eyes of four women in a self-defense class. The play features storytelling, karate-based movement sequences, and has some excellent examples of character development and growth.

Unfortunately, Carrying the Calf is one of our least-performed plays. And I get it. I understand why. It’s a drama. There is a small cast of only four women. It’s hard to cast because the women have very specific ethnicities. And also, for a one act, it’s a bit long. It comes in around 54 minutes.

Now forget all that, because you know what? It’s a well-crafted piece of theatre. I absolutely love the journey of the characters. They grow from a point of fear, to a point of self-empowerment. They learn that there is help. They learn that there is community out there. They just have to look for it and be open to it.

Now pick this one up, especially if you’ve got some strong girls who are up for a challenge. Also, it’s an excellent resource for scenework in your classroom.

And that’s it for Spread the Love!

About the author

Craig Mason