Based on a real-life hostage-taking incident that blighted the marriage of a friend (with lots of invention thrown in for good measure) the challenge I set myself with The Anniversary was to create two separate scenes of simultaneous activity. On the first set, a gunman breaks into the apartment of a recently wedded couple. She alone runs for it, jumping off their balcony into a snowbank three stories below and makes her way over to the landlady’s apartment from which my friend and the police communicate with the man who is threatening to kill her husband unless the police bring him his estranged wife. - Herman Goodden
“Goodden, long a respected essayist and short story writer, took up play writing only three years ago and has learned the new form quickly. His latest, The Anniversary, a good story well-acted, represents a further narrowing of focus and refinement of form. This piece, like its immediate predecessor, is about people Goodden knows personally and has chronicled elsewhere. A decade ago, a friend was sitting quietly at home with her new husband when a stranger burst into their apartment with a gun, planning to take them hostage so he could make police find his estranged sweetheart for him. Goodden’s friend escaped through the window, but her husband, trying to follow was stopped. The stranger kept him at gunpoint for several hours until a tense standoff with city police finally ended in tragedy. Goodden is interested not only in the incident itself but in its long term effects on the survivors. His dramatization begins exactly six years afterwards. The woman still feels she betrayed her husband and can’t believe he doesn’t hold it against her. She dreads the annual phone call from the young gunman’s mother. The action switches between the anniversary and the original event, between the couple’s apartment and three other locales, between time shown and time remembered.”
– Doug Bale, London Free Press
The Anniversary was first produced at the Talbot Theatre in London ON in June of 1990. John Gerry directed the following cast: David Wasse as Ian Pritchard; Julia Webb as Clare Pritchard; West Steele as Keith Shaler; Kim Ange as Mrs. Max; Art Fidler as Staff-Sergeant Griffin; Rick Verrette as the voice of Officer Hibbard; Anna Khimasia Hamille as Joanna Browning. The production crew included Mona Brennan, Karen Crichton, Alan Dayton and Karen Rickers.