Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Charles, what have you done now!?! Confessions of a tattooed playwright

By Charles Netto

A week ago I wrote Kelly Reay, director of the Lunchbox production of Super 8 a play written by myself and Mark Hopkins. It is a play we have worked on for two years and had the great fortune to win the Alberta Playwriting Contest Discovery Category in 2011.

My message to Kelly was mostly to discuss a minor change involving a sound cue that he had suggested. I mentioned that Mark and I were okay with that change but that the epilogue should probably not be changed as it had been permanently inscribed on my arm.

Tattoo Pictured here:

Kelly wrote me back:
“wow dude!  That's dedication. Now I really feel the pressure to make sure you like the production!”

The truth is how the production turns out and/or is received will not affect how I feel about my choice to put the epilogue of Super 8 on my body.

Don’t get me wrong I am extremely excited for the production, it’s a great team and I know it will be an awesome show. However it’s not because of the production that I did this. For me the words in the epilogue of Super 8 hold power in themselves, whether or not there was a production.

I have occasionally considered getting a tattoo. There have been ideas I have toyed with, usually connected to my Trinidadian heritage or my father. However nothing has resonated with me over time enough to commit to getting done.

So why now?

It was the right time for some permanent tribal markings. In this case my tribe is theatre and stories. I was attracted to the idea of putting words on my body, more so words that I had been a part of writing.

As I researched Tattoos it became more and more clear how much words resonated with me. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I also think words can create a thousand pictures. Pictures that can change and shift depending on the context of who is reading them, and when and where they are being read. Words can hold great power in them as an entity beyond the speaker or writer.

Why those particular words? 

A few reasons. Mark found a beautiful simplicity in the words when shaping my original over-written draft. As well the format of the text is important to me. It is one that Mark and I use when writing, so the text represents collaboration as well.

Most important though the lines themselves reflect a philosophy that resonates with me. A philosophy about simple, honest connections between people and yet the impermanence of those connections, and of course the impermanence of life itself. These themes are important to me even if I sometimes struggle with the impermanence aspect.   

People have told me it was a brave, bold, passionate, crazy thing to do. It may be all of those things, but for me it just made sense.

Having said all that, I have not told my mother yet…


You can see Super 8 at Lunchbox Theatre playing until February 25th, check it out!

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