Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love
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Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love is a 1989 stage play written by Canadian playwright Brad Fraser. Set in Edmonton, Alberta, the comedy-drama follows the lives of several sexually frustrated "thirty-somethings" who try to learn the meaning of love — during a time in which a serial killer is terrorizing the city. Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love was published in 2006 by Playwrights Canada Press as Love and Human Remains.
Characters include Candy, a heterosexual woman trying to meet the perfect man but who along the way finds herself experimenting with lesbianism; her homosexual roommate, David, who no longer believes that love exists; Kane, a sexually confused teenager who idolizes David; Bernie, David's troubled best friend; and Jerri, a lesbian who falls in love with Candy. Overlooking the proceedings is the otherworldly Benita, a prostitute with psychic abilities.
Using and subverting elements of various genres, including thriller, situation comedy and grade-B horror film, the piece is written with cynical humor, but is serious in tone. As the play begins, a serial killer is preying on young women in the city; we soon realize that Bernie is the murderer, a fact only discovered by the other characters late in the play. Narration is provided by Benita, a prostitute with psychic ability whose mental gifts will figure prominently in the resolution of the plot.
First presented by Alberta Theatre Projects at the playRites '89 Festival in Calgary, Alberta, Unidentified Human Remains was immediately controversial for its violence, nudity, frank dialogue, and sexual explicitness. It nevertheless received critical acclaim; it was named one of the 10 best plays of the year by TIME. Over the next 15 years, productions in many languages have been mounted from New York City to Japan. In November 2004, a 15th anniversary revival of the piece took place in Calgary.
A film version, Love and Human Remains, was released in 1993.