Thursday, 17 November 2011

First, thank-you to the wonderful people at Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre and Alberta Playwrights Network who selected my play The Art of Homecoming for inclusion in PlayWorks Ink, Alberta's biennial playwriting and theatre conference held in Calgary November 3-6.The highlight for me was working with Sharon Pollock, winner of two Governor General's awards for drama and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Sharon is a blunt-spoken woman with a good eye for superfluous dialogue and a strong sense of what makes characters work. Along with the talented actors who workshopped my play, she made many suggestions that strengthened my script. The three-day workshop culminated in a staged public reading.

I enjoyed the other two workshopped plays--Mark C. Hopkins and Charles Netto's Super 8, a delightfully idiosyncratic two-hander, and Arun Lakra's Sequence, a stunning play that made probability theory, genetics and an incurable hereditary eye disease both dramatic and exciting.

In his keynote address, Daniel MacIvor suggested that theatre plays a role comparable to religion in teaching us about the human condition. PlayWorks Ink amply demonstrated the truth of that hypothesis. Jonathan Christenson's discussion of the principles which govern Edmonton's Catalyst Theatre was one of the best sermons I've heard.

Theatre is not the only area of life which would benefit from the practise of his ten Rs (responsibility, respect, responsiveness, rythmn, repetition, readiness, risk, rigor, restlessness and refinement). Jonathan is also a master of the aphorism. (Embrace contradictions. Surrender to uncertainty. Bring generosity to your work.) I'm trying to incorporate his teachings on the need for courage and commitment into my own life. His workshop showed his principles in action and increased my respect for Catalyst's innovative and challenging work.Conferences of this nature provide wonderful opportunities for meeting interesting people and send us home inspired with enthusiasm for the important work of theatre. I am grateful to APN and Theatre Alberta for making PlayWorks Ink possible.

Betty Ternier Daniels

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Betty and thanks to the fabulous folks at Saskatchewan Playwrights' Centre for the 2011 Playwright Exchange.