Scandal – The Robert Sommers Story

by Jeff Pitcher


Robert Sommers, Minister of Forests in the BC Government is charged, convicted and sent prison in 1956 for fraud – the only politician in the British Crown to serve time. Was he a sly and devious man masquerading as a down home politician or simply a pawn in a much bigger battle within the shady world of forests and politics during the wacky days of Premier Bennett’s Social Government?

2 Acts

Male: 4
Female: 1

Production History
Commissioned by Western Canada Theatre’s Artistic Director David Ross where it premiered in 2005.

Running Time: 100 minutes

Characters (In order of appearance)

Robert E Sommers – Minister of Forests
Waldo Skillings – Businessman and Social Credit Supporter
Wick Gray – Owner of a small logging company
Chauncey Orchard – Deputy Minister of Forests
Nona Sommers - Bob’s wife
Gordon Gibson - Logging company owner and Liberal MLA
Robert Bonner – Attorney General

In the original production one actor was double cast in the roles of Waldo Skillings and Chauncey Orchard.

Original Production (Western Canada Theatre – Kamloops)
Robert E Sommers – Gerry McKay
Waldo Skillings – Sean Devine
Wick Gray – Stephen Hair
Chauncey Orchard – Sean Devine
Nona Sommers - Donna-Lea Ford
Gordon Gibson – Derek Metz
Robert Bonner – David Bloom
Stage Manager – Kelly Manson
Apprentice Stage Manager – Nicole Bremner
Director – David Ross
Scenic and Costume Design – Linda Leon
Lighting Design – Gerald King

“New Play Points to Broader Scandal, Cover Up in Victoria”

“Sommers’ stellar fall from grace, set against a backdrop of political intrigue makes for tragic theatre in this production…aside from revealing the human sides of Sommers’ case…the play clearly portrays BC in the 50s and 60s as a company run province.
– Kamloops Daily News

“The tale of Sommers’ decent from high ranking MLA to criminal, as portrayed in Western Canada Theatre’s production of Scandal: The Robert Sommers Story, written by Jeff Pitcher offers up one of the most intriguing political commentaries of power and corruption.

“While the audience is left to decide for themselves whether Sommers is the bad guy or fall guy, they are given pieces of the puzzle and shown glimpses into the character of the teacher-turned-politician…we are shown character flaws history books only hint at.”

“Pitcher – through his well-crafted script – allows the audience to look at themselves in the mirror and decide whether they’d succumb to the temptation.”

“It’s one man’s story that comes as a warning to the rest of us; the results of greed and power are predictable, whether we make the mistake of falling into the same trap as Sommers is our decision.”
- Kamloops This Week, Danna Johnson

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