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

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