Monday, February 27, 2012

Mapping the Making 2

Poet and Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz says that poetry "takes you from silence to silence […]. It is what happens between the words that matters." In theatre, the artists work so that the silence after the curtain closes is more alive than the silence when the lights went down. But what of the silence of a writer and a blank page? How do we get from the seed of a new idea to dynamic performance? Tim Carlson and Jeremy Waller have shared some insights on what leads them forward in their writing.

Jeremy Waller
Jeremy Waller is a writer and director, and Artistic Director of Craning Neck Theatre. He also freelances as a Sound and Set Designer, Technical Director and Production Manager. Recent directing credits include, Biographies Of The Dead And Dying (Craning Neck/Machine Fair) and the Secret Love Life Of Ophelia (ABC Productions, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton), The Dark Between (Craning Neck Theatre), and The Absurdessy (Green Leaf Circus). Most recently, he directed Trunk at Club PuSh, co-produced by Craning Neck Theatre and Theate Conspiracy, where he is artist-in-residence. He is working on a new play Jo Speechly's Lost Decade with the support of PTC.

Jo Speechly's Lost Decade focuses on the collision between Jo Speechly, a reclusive artist; her dying mother, Elen; Jo's old friend Gwydion, who has a hidden agenda to publicize her work; and Jo's lover, Stephen, whose physical and spiritual presence permeates Jo's un-exhibited but prolific photographic oeuvre.

PTC: What music inspires you in the writing of this piece?

Jeremy: I Have to say that no particular music is currently inspiring this piece, other than the imagined sound of the play of minerals in different bodies of water. And the sound of voices on a reel to reel tape recorder.

PTC: Tell us about your main character.

Jeremy: Jo Speechly is a learned recluse in her mid-forties. She is seeking the end of an hypnotic artistic process using the documents/material of previous generations of her family. Creating in a vacuum, having turned away from the art world which once brought her relative fame, her privacy is about to be invaded by the conflicting desires of her want-to-be biographer, her over-protective mother, and a former lover.

Tim Carlson
Tim Carlson is the artistic producer of Theatre Conspiracy in Vancouver, BC. His plays include: Omniscience (Vancouver, Berlin, Magdeberg, Lisbon, Chicago; published by Talonbooks 2007); Diplomacy (Vancouver, Talonbooks 2009), Live from a Bush of Ghosts (PuSh Festival, 2009), the one-act newsroom comedies Night Desk (2001) and The Chronicle has Hart (2000) — and a full-length comedy A Liar’s Guide to Non-fiction (Vancouver Playhouse reading, 2010). As a dramaturg he is collaborating with Berlin-based Rimini Protokol1 on Best Before (PuSh Festival / Cultch 2010, touring to 15 Canadian, U.S. and European cities 2010). As co-curator and co-producer he collaborated with the PuSh Festival in creating the inaugural Club PuSh series in 2009. He is creating a new work, Extraction, with Theatre Conspiracy, while continuing development of Nine Tenths with the support of PTC.

Tim Carlson's Nine Tenths has received two PTC workshops to date. Tim is engaged in rewrites over the winter and will return to the workshop table in May. Nine Tenths follows the development of a play, also titled Nine Tenths. Early drafts followed the interpersonal relationships of the playwrights, director and two actors over 3 months. How and why we stay in relationships - should we settle for the nine-tenths that work, or keep searching for the missing one-tenth? - formed the core question both inside and outside the rehearsal hall. Tim has developed the piece further while not on duty at Club PuSh, and it has now become a two-hander.

PTC: What music inspires you in the writing of this piece?

Tim: I turned up the volume on my recent playlist this morning and thought about the songs that might be working on me indirectly. Imagine a mashup of:
Luna's Tiger Lily Girl ("sweet obscenity / bring her back to me / lost in her perfume / think I'm going to sue") Here's Luna playing it at Zulu Records in Vancouver in 2009

Bob Dylan's Love Sick (I see lovers in the meadow / I see silhouettes in the window / I watch them til they're gone and they leave me hanging on / to a shadow" )

Tom Waits' Kiss Me ("I won't believe that our love's a mystery / I won't believe our love's a sin / I want you to kiss me like a stranger once again)

PTC: Tell us briefly about your main character.

Tim: There are two. Nine Tenths is an even-handed two-hander. We follow an Actor and an Actress from the first day of rehearsal through to opening night, developing their roles in a relationship play titled Nine Tenths. We see only one scene from the play, a breakup scene, as it morphs through the rehearsal process, influenced by the past of the Actor and Actress as well as the personal and professional chemistry that builds between them. One of them is desperate for solitude and disconnection; the other hungry for intimacy and sexual connection.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more updates from our Associates as they delve deeper into their creative process.
Emily Kedar, Dramaturgical Intern

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mapping the Making

Through our Associates program we are currently supporting six talented playwrights over three years, helping bring their ideas forward into workshops, readings and production talks. As we shift into our second year of the program, we invite you to learn more about what they are creating and what we are doing to help make it happen. Over the next six weeks you'll get a window into their creative process right here on our blog. Welcome to Mapping the Making!

Jenn Griffin
Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Jenn Griffin has been a Vancouver based actor for over twenty years and more recently an actor/playwright. She was awarded the Sydney Risk award in 1999 for best emerging playwright in the wake of her first play Drinking with Persephone. Into the Waves, her first full-length play was read at The Hysteria Festival, Toronto, in 2005. In 2006, Jenn co-conceived with Marilyn Norry, My Mother’s Story, a theatrical collage. In 2007, Jenn was commissioned to create a piece for Fugue Theatre. In 2009, Via Beatrice, the commissioned work, received a Jessie Richardson nomination for outstanding original script.

For the associates program, Jenn has made multiple trips to the Centre for Great Apes in Florida to research her piece, The Long Call, which parallels loss of freedom in the human and animal worlds. Physical performance is a part of the development process, as the central character taps into he animal knowledge via her connection with the great apes.

PTC: Tell us briefly about your main character.

JG: The main character is named Holly Dasein (pronounced "design.") She’s a middle aged woman who has surfaced from a traumatic past and at the top of the play, she has just completed her BA. Holly's academic interests are widespread but her passion is the Great Apes and her dream is to release Orang Utans back into the wild.She's recently resumed communication with her ex-boyfriend Jack who is incarcerated. She believes that confronting Jack and unearthing their shared past will be the key to her own freedom. Holly comes out of my exposureto animals and humans alike who have survived great trauma. I am interested in examining the impact of captivity on both the human and animal soul.

PTC: Tell us about what kind of music inspires you and influences your writing of this piece.

JG: Gamelan is my main inspiration for The Long Call. Many songs have popped into my head during the time I have been considering the piece and they are all part of the world of the play too. Along with Gamelan, there’s also music strippers dance to and music from the radio that underscores a relationship in the 80's. Also, more recent music you might hear anywhere in North America. Like the song "Tom" by Natalie Imbruglia.

Jordan Hall
Jordan is an emerging artist whose work has been dubbed “stellar, insightful” by PlankMagazine, “thoughtful” by CBC Radio, and “vivid, memorable” by NOW. Her writing for the stage includes her short works Red, The Second Last Man on Earth, Asleep at the Wheel, and The Possible Lives of Dolores Garcia Rodriguez, as well as her full-length play, Kayak, which recently won Samuel French’s 2010 Canadian Playwright’s competition.

Jordan’s plays have been produced across the country, most recently at the 2011 Vancouver Fringe and 2010 Summerworks Festival. She is developing her newest work, Travelling Light, as an Associate with the Playwrights Theatre Centre. Her first short film, Love Sucks, recently screened at the Bell Lightbox in Toronto, and her second, Run Dry, will be screening at VWIFF 2012 this March. As a dramaturg, Jordan recently worked on the Dora-nominated Belle of Winnipeg with Keystone Theatre, sits on the Board of Foundry Theatre, and is a mentor for UBC’s Booming Ground program.

For the Associates Program, Jordan has researched particle physics and representations of science in the media for her mystery-drama Travelling Light, in which the disappearance of a brilliant physicist triggers ethical and metaphysical searches for the central character.

PTC: Tell us briefly about your main character.

JH: The three central characters in Travelling Light came into existence together, as a system. I knew there was a scientist who was missing (David), and that his research partner (Cameron) was searching for him, and that she would enlist the help of a former friend of the scientist who had left pure science to become a public figure (Julian). The tension in the triangle was coming from the countervailing pulls in these characters' attitudes: the arrogance of David's genius, the faith that Cameron has in David that is both profound but potentially blinding, and Julian's more populist, but very commercial opinions.

PTC: Tell us about what kind of music inspires you and influences your writing of this piece.

JH: I hate picking just one! I've got a Travelling Light playlist that I listen to as I write. There's a lot of Kate Bush (Pi, Running Up That Hill), and The Stills (Everything I Build), and the James Newton Howard soundtrack for The Village, with all that haunting violin.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for updates from our other four Associates.
- Emily, Dramaturgical Intern @ PTC