Jitters, David French’s backstage comedy, opens on the night of a preview of a new play, The Care and Treatment of Roses. Within minutes, the audience is plunged into the world of the theatre – larger-than-life personalities, easily bruised egos, contradictory interpretations of role and script – complicated by faulty props, close quarters, lost lines, and bad reviews, and all magnified by the opening night “jitters” of cast, crew, writer, and director.
First performed in 1979, Jitters was an instant critical and commercial success, and in the years since it has proved to be one of Canada’s most enduring and popular plays, both here and abroad.
“After the opening of The Care and Treatment of Roses, a review is read aloud to the company and it is a dead-on spoof of an attitudinizing critic. He calls the play ‘A seamless fabric of passion and redeemed hope.’ The author wonders why the critic hedged at all. Why didn’t he come right out and say that the play was perfect? With that review in mind, I will hedge a little. Jitters is an almost perfect comedy of its kind.”
-New York Times (Mel Gussow)
“Jitters is the happiest case of stage fright I have ever encountered.”
-New York Post (Clive Barnes)
“Jitters is witty, affectionate, bitchy; bitterly touching. French handles a complicated idea with great sophistication.”
-Toronto Star (Gina Mallet)