October 13, 2006

searching for Jerome


Photo - Donna MacMillan

That's me, aboard the tall ship Silva for a sail in Halifax Harbour this past September. I was there to celebrate Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company's 15th anniversary and to chat about my involvement with this vibrant force in Canadian theatre.

I love a good mystery...
When Ken Schwartz, Two Plank's artistic director, came to me with the idea of setting the story of Jerome for stage, I knew right away it was my kind of project.
This is a mystery and a story that has lived in the hearts and imagination of Nova Scotians for nearly 150 years.

The so-called silent mystery man of Baie Saint Marie arrived in Metaghan, N.S., in 1863.
"This guy washes ashore. No legs, can't speak," Prof. Lutz said. "He's taken care of. He lives 50 years in this small village of Metaghan in Acadia."
Was he a pirate whose legs were cut off? Did he survive a shark attack?

- Dirk Meissner, The Globe and Mail, August 2006


Jerome was found on the shores at Sandy Cove and was taken first to Clare and then later cared for by a family in St. Alphonse. While the questions about Jerome are still endless and intriguing, researchers are working to piece together his past in order to solve the question...who was this man?

What I love most about Jerome's story is that it's leading me to explore questions of humanity and intention...how do we measure the worth of an individual's life? what compels us to abandonment? to action? to compassion? When lives intersect, who can say if we are curses or gifts to one another? Is it happenstance, fate, magic, divine intervention?

Do you know something about Jerome?
There are many tales about the life and possible identity of this man - mysterious visitors coming to see him, people from New York, Alabama, even Milan coming to try to identify him - the list goes on and on.

If you've got a Jerome story to tell, something passed down through family history, or stories from an oral tradition, etc.
I'd love to hear from you!
Email Ami

By the way, the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History Project is currently working on an exciting research project involving Jerome. Look for an announcement in Spring '07 from them!
In the meantime, here are a couple of web pages about Jerome.
History and Culture in Clare
The Mystery Man of Sandy Cove