Magic

July 29th, 2019 § 0 comments permalink

Yesterday Lionel Walsh, the director of the Inspired Acting Lab production of Salt-Water Moon, posted this story on Facebook: “Last night we lost power during the final performance of Salt-Water Moon. James, who plays Jacob, paused and asked the audience to get out their phones, turn on the flashlight and point it towards them. They played the rest of the show by cell phone light. It was beautiful and the audience jumped to their feet at curtain call. Thank you Lion's Head for a fabulous run and great audiences. On to three days in Kirkland Lake.”

Quick thinking by actor James Kern, and generosity from the audience members who took up the challenge of becoming instant lighting designers!

Live theatre creates so many opportunities for communion. In this age of Netflix, where it's very easy to stay home in our own individual pods glued to a screen, live theatre offers real connection to one another, and to art. And don't we always remember the shows where something went not-quite-according-to-plan?

I think of our friend Hrant's story about the styrofoam set falling slowly into the audience during a performance of one of his plays at Passe Muraille. Or the time an actor dislocated his shoulder during our production of Paper Wheat and the local doctor happened to be in the audience, ran backstage, and fixed it in time for Pete to get back onstage for his next entrance. One of the reasons that it's fun to go for post-show drinks with actors is that they have so many stories about these moments where the unexpected makes its entrance into the scripted! In Shakespeare in Love, one of Stoppard's characters has a line that runs something like, "Theatre is a series of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."

How wonderful when the obstacle becomes a magical moment like the one that happened on the weekend in Lion's Head!

Summer Moons

July 12th, 2019 § 0 comments permalink

Two exciting productions of Salt-Water Moon are happening this summer!

The first is a touring show produced by the University of Windsor's Inspired Acting Lab. It stars James Kern as Jacob and Sofie Jarvis as Mary, and is directed by the inimitable Lionel Walsh. The show opened in Windsor last night, and will go on to tour in Lion’s Head and Kirkland Lake later this summer. Lionel has produced several of David’s plays over the years, and he brought David to the U of Windsor in 2002-2003 as writer-in-residence where they became fast friends. Lionel is a brilliant director and has a deep connection to David’s work, so I'm sure that this show is amazing. Here is the scoop on dates, locations, and tickets:

WINDSOR : July 11, 12, 13 @ 7:30 p.m.
Studio Theatre, Jackman Dramatic Art Centre, University of Windsor

LION'S HEAD : July 18-20 @ 7:30 p.m. and 21 @ 2 p.m. and 25-27 @ 7:30 p.m.
Rotary Hall, 59 Main St., Lion’s Head, ON. (Cash Bar)

KIRKLAND LAKE : July 31 –August 3 @ 7:30 p.m
LaSalle Theatre, 100 Government Rd W, Kirkland Lake, ON

Ticket Prices : For Windsor and Lion’s Head, tickets are $20 adult; $15 senior/student
For Kirkland Lake, $15 adult, $10 student/senior, $5 children 10 and under

Inspired Acting Lab's James Kern as Jacob and Sofie Jarvis as Mary

The second production is special because it's happening on PEI, where David spent nearly 40 summers. Mary and I have a great love for the Island, too, and we were happy to learn that The Guild in Charlottetown is presenting Salt-Water Moon every Sunday in August. This production stars Justin Shaw as Jacob and Helen Killorn as Mary.

Here's a link for more information, and to buy tickets.

Justin Shaw as Jacob and Helen Killorn as Mary in The Guild's production.

A Shining Moon at ESA

May 16th, 2019 § 0 comments permalink

Mary goes to the Etobicoke School of the Arts, where one of the Grade 12 drama one-act plays this year is Salt-Water Moon. We saw the show this afternoon, and it is so beautiful! I'm very happy we were able to attend.

Director Katie Hillyard-Beale said in her pre-show speech that she'd seen Ravi Jain's production of the play at Mirvish, and had, from that moment onward, been determined to direct it for her final school project. She called Emma D'Agrosa and Max Grosskopf her "dream cast," and after seeing the show, I know why.

The production is thoughtful, moving, and full of life. The two well-matched performers fully inhabited Mary Snow and Jacob Mercer, whose shared past and economic circumstances are standing in the way of their love for one another. The direction hit all the right notes: as the two spar, flirt, and finally open their hearts to one another, we see the pain, love, (and sense of humour) that they share.

Congratulations to Katie, Emma, Max, and crew, as well as the Grade 12 Drama teachers!

Salt-Water Moon Tour: Windsor, Lion’s Head, Kirkland Lake

May 15th, 2019 § 0 comments permalink

I'm happy to report that Lionel Walsh of the University of Windsor will be directing an Inspired Acting Lab production of Salt-Water Moon this summer. David got to know Lionel when he was the Playwright-in-Residence at UW, and the two of them had a great year together. Lionel and company have done many David French plays throughout the years, and Mary and I feel a real connection to the UW program and its students.

Salt-Water Moon, presented by the Northern Bruce Theatre Company, will open in Windsor and then tour to Lion's Head and Kirkland Lake. It stars James Kern as Jacob and Sofie Jarvis as Mary. If you can see it, please do! I know that it will be a special show.

Performance Dates + Locations:  

WINDSOR : July 11, 12, 13 @ 7:30 p.m.
Studio Theatre, Jackman Dramatic Art Centre, University of Windsor

LION'S HEAD : July 18-20 @ 7:30 p.m. and 21 @ 2 p.m. and 25-27 @ 7:30 p.m.
Rotary Hall, 59 Main St., Lion’s Head, ON. (Cash Bar)

KIRKLAND LAKE : July 31 – August 3 @ 7:30 p.m
LaSalle Theatre, 100 Government Rd W, Kirkland Lake, ON

Soldier’s Heart in Clarenville

May 15th, 2019 § 0 comments permalink

A new production of Solder's Heart is running this week at the Eastlink Centre in Clarenville, presented by the New Curtain Theatre. Break legs tomorrow at opening, everyone!

Mirvish Presents Salt-Water Moon

April 15th, 2017 § 0 comments permalink

poster_SWM-show In October, the lovely Salt-Water Moon that Factory produced last season will have a short run at the Panasonic, one of the Mirvish theatres. Directed by Ravi Jain, the show stars the wonderful Mayko Nguyen and Kawa Ada. This production has been called a "reimagining," as Ravi has stripped the play down to its essence: no set, no costumes, no Newfoundland accents. It's a Salt-Water Moon like no other, and it found a whole new audience at Factory. It's exciting to have the production moving to the Panasonic, into one of Toronto's commercial theatres. I can't wait to see the show again! Tickets are available from Mirvish.com.

Playwrights Guild of Canada

July 12th, 2016 § 0 comments permalink

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Today I want to give a shout-out to PGC, an organization that works for Canadian playwrights in very many ways. David was a long-time member of the organization (which began as "Playwrights Co-op" in the 70s, then became "Playwrights Union of Canada" in the 80s, and is now "Playwrights Guild of Canada".) In fact, in 2010, David was made a Lifetime Member, an honour that he cherished.

The PGC website says that it "champions the role of the playwright in the creation of vibrant Canadian theatre," and that is certainly true. But PGC is also a great resource for anyone interested in theatre. If you're a director who's looking for a play to produce, an actor looking for audition monologues, or a teacher looking for plays to read with your class, PGC can help. You can search their database yourself, or ask a staff member to help you narrow your search. You can often order copies of plays right from PGC, and if you need to obtain the rights to produce a play, PGC can steer you in the right direction.

If you'd like to have a playwright visit your organization, school, or library, PGC administers a Canada Council program that can help to make that happen. The Guild also maintains a calendar of events pertaining to Canadian plays and playwrights.

And of course, if you're a writer, PGC has all sorts of services available, from advice about contracts to news about which theatres are looking for scripts; from workshops for writers to promotional events. PGC keeps writers in touch with one another, and with what's happening with Canadian plays and playwrights from coast to coast to coast and around the world.

Check out the PGC website for more information about all of the organization's services.

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King’s Playhouse Salt-Water Moon

July 10th, 2016 § 0 comments permalink

Mary and I arrived in beautiful PEI last week and were delighted to discover that the King's Playhouse in Georgetown is presenting Salt-Water Moon on Sunday evenings throughout the summer. We're looking forward to seeing it! Here's their charming graphic, and a link to their website. Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 7.55.10 PM  

A Dora for Ravi!

June 27th, 2016 § 0 comments permalink

2016_Dora-Awards I was lucky enough to be at the 2016 Dora Mavor Moore awards, thanks to my friend Byron Bellows, who is a trustee of the Bluma Appel Community Trust. It was a lovely night, with the ceremony happening at the outdoor theatre at Harbourfront. Great fun to see so many familiar faces and so much style! I was especially pleased to be present as Ravi Jain won the Best Director Award for his production of Salt-Water Moon at Factory. Congratulations to Ravi and to the whole creative team of the show! Artist residents, Soulpepper

Have Slideshow, Will Travel

June 10th, 2016 § 0 comments permalink

A_Black_and_White_Cartoon_Teacher_with_a_Pointer_Giving_a_Lecture_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100723-011275-565053 A couple of years ago, my friend Mark Brownell asked me if I would come to his class at George Brown College and speak about David and his work. I gave a somewhat rambling talk, and really enjoyed answering students' questions afterward. Last year Mark asked me back, only this time after my rambling talk, students performed scenes from some of the plays, which was great fun. Finally this year when Mark asked me in, I realized that having a PowerPoint presentation might provide more visuals and result in less rambling. So I now have one: a 40-minute slide show that covers various aspects of David's life and work. The George Brown IPAC class was the first to see it!   Shortly after I spoke at George Brown, my friend Mark Melymick asked me if I could come to speak to his Sheridan students, who were about to see Salt-Water Moon at Factory. (Not all of my friends are named "Mark", although some of the nicest ones are.) I replied, "I have a PowerPoint presentation!" and off I went to Oakville, where I had a wonderful time with about eighty lively Sheridan Prep students.   Cawthra Park Secondary School in Mississauga has a special relationship with David's work. Teacher Stacey Tiller has been doing scenes from David's plays with students for several years, and David used to speak to her classes whenever he could. A couple of weeks ago I took my PowerPoint presentation out to Cawthra, which was a moving experience. The students had recently finished working on the plays, and they had many questions about the characters and about David, too.   If students at your school are studying David's plays and would like to know more about David's life and career, drop me a line through the website. I'll be happy to travel wherever I can with my slideshow!