Trafalgar24 by Driftwood Theatre! A Return to Trafalgar Castle!

It’s that time of the year again to start thinking about the most magical event of the year! The Trafalgar 24 Play Creation Festival is approaching. Billed as “24 HOURS. 6 NEW PLAYS. 1 CASTLE.”, Trafalgar 24 is that and so much more! It’s a virtual whirlwind of creativity, dished out in the extravagant setting of a mid 19th century castle in Whitby, Ontario.

A little about the Castle: Nelson Gilbert Reynolds built Trafalgar Castle as a private residence in 1859. After losing his fortune to gambling, Mr. Reynolds was forced to sell the castle. It soon became the Ontario Ladies’ College, and eventually Trafalgar Castle School. To this day, it is a school for girls…complete with dorm rooms to house students from all over the world. Once a year, during spring-break, the castle is handed over to Jeremy Smith and Driftwood Theatre for their fundraising gala, TRAFALGAR 24.

From the Driftwood Theatre Trafalgar24 Webpage:

Twenty-four artists receive a scant 24-hours to write, rehearse and perform six site-specific plays in Whitby’s beautiful 19th century castle. TRAFALGAR 24 is a theatrical event unlike any other, where the audience is right on top of the action as each of the 10-minute scripts play out around them in locations throughout the castle. At TRAFALGAR 24 audience members play a vital role of their own, helping to select one winning play to receive a commission for further development from Driftwood Theatre.

March 11, 2016 | 6:30pm Silent Auction Starts | 7:30pm Performances Begin | Trafalgar Castle, 401 Reynolds Street, Whitby

Now, here’s a breakdown of what happens from yours truly. I have had the extreme pleasure of being a playwright for this event SIX times! And this March (2016) I may or may not once again be having the honour of being locked into the castle overnight to cobble a 10-minute play for production the following evening. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. THURSDAY EVENING 10:00PM – 6 playwrights converge on the Castle. Jeremy (Driftwood Theatre’s Artistic Director) corals the playwrights and gives them their instructions. Write a 10-minute play in 8 hours. He gives them headshots of the actors who will appear in their plays and he tells them which room in the castle their particular play will take place in. Jeremy then leads the playwrights on a tour of the castle, stopping in each of the 6 chosen rooms to show them where the plays will take place. Typically, this is the room in which the playwright will write their play. They are allowed to use anything in the room chosen for them…but they are not allowed to add props that are not already there. That is that. 10pm arrives and the 6 playwrights retreat into their rooms and the playwriting begins. Jeremy goes home…plays are cobbled.
  2. FRIDAY MORNING 6:00am – 6 very tired disheveled playwrights are allowed to leave the castle. After, of course, they hand in their plays. 6 new plays. 6 worried, electrified, tired, sleepless, chaotic, changed playwrights. Never the twain shall meet— the playwrights escape and only then do the directors and actors converge on the castle. They all arrive at 6am. They are given their plays to read-rehearse-tweak-enrich-bring to life. I can’t tell you what happens in the next eight hours. I can only imagine that it is a more chaotic and boisterous eight hours than the eight hours before it! The creation really happens in this eight hours. I will always and forever be in awe of the product that comes from these eight hours. Actors and directors are wondrous creatures who should be revered.
  3. The tireless volunteers and organizers then prepare for the onslaught of the audience. This includes setting up the cheese and hors d’oeuvres tables, setting up the wine tables, and setting up the tremendous silent auction tables. REMEMBER–this is a fundraiser. The silent auction helps Driftwood Theatre’s fundraising efforts. They are, after all, a traveling theatre that gives Ontario Shakespeare in the Park all summer long. They need to fund this incredible Bard’s Bus summer tour. Trafalgar24 is the cornerstone of their fundraising efforts.
  4. THE AUDIENCE ARRIVES! I believe the audience is typically 300 people. These 300 are split into 6 smaller groups that will stay together the entire evening (apart from the breaks for hors d’oeuvres and wine, silent auctioning, speeches, and dessert). The 6 groups will wander throughout the castle, visiting each of the 6 rooms in which the plays will be performed and seeing each one in turn. So each play will be performed SIX times. Between performances, everything mentioned above takes place. Basically, it’s a magical night filled with theatre, wining, excellent food, shopping the auction items, and schmoozing. It’s a must see event that sadly only happens once a year.

So, that’s Trafalgar24.

Please visit the TRAFALGAR24 EVENT PAGE ON DRIFTWOOD THEATRE’S WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE.

If you are a member of the WRITERS’ COMMUNITY OF DURHAM REGION, you will have a special discounted price for tickets. If you are a member of the WCDR, you can book your discounted tickets WCDR tickets by calling 416-605-5132 or 844-601-8057.

I would like to thank Driftwood Theatre, and Jeremy Smith, for giving me my many opportunities to be a small part of this amazing event. Trafalgar24 is the crowning event of my writing year. Creating a play in 8 hours that will be witnessed ‘on stage’ by 6 audiences one short night later is an exhilarating, frenetic, terrifying, appalling, energetic, insane, impossible. All those things and more. I don’t think it matters what your role in the event is–playwright, director, actor, organizer, volunteer, audience, etc–if you attend, you will be amazed! YOU WILL NOT WANT TO MISS IT!

See you at the castle!

The Reasons Now Available at Amazon for Kindle!

The Reasons is now available as a Kindle book at all Amazon locations.

If you have already read this book, please consider reviewing it at Amazon. If not, you can now pick it up with 1-Click for your Kindle or Kindle App.

AMAZON USA

AMAZON CANADA

AMAZON UK

The+Reasons

With a mostly absent father, a deceased older sister, a younger sister on the verge of invisibility, and a certifiably insane mother, Tobias Reason is forced to grow up quickly. Though he tries to be a surrogate parent to his sister, their broken mother, Maggie, takes up a lot of his time. Annabel falls to the wayside and becomes a ghost in their chaotic existence.

When Maggie flippantly hands her mother’s house over to Tobias, he sees an opportunity to learn how and why his family became so shattered. Be careful what you wish for. When his world begins to collapse from the weight of un-buried secrets, he focuses on a stranger from his parents’ past. Only by eliminating the past, he believes, can he make his family whole again.

The Reasons won the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s 2008 BEST ADULT NOVEL AWARD.

Note: This title is NOT young adult.

Get it now with 1-Click!

Sebastian’s Poet Now Available at AMAZON for KINDLE!

As of today, SEBASTIAN’S POET is NOW available on Amazon for Kindle!

If you have already read Sebastian’s Poet, and would like to share a review on Amazon, that would be wonderful. Otherwise, you can purchase it now for Kindle.

Read reviews at GOODREADS.

Please visit the appropriate country site listed below, to purchase:

AMAZON USA

AMAZON CANADA

AMAZON UK

Sebastian's Poet

Get it now with 1-Click on Amazon!

Sebastian Nelson is a boy in search of a family. Abandoned by his mother, Sebastian is left with a broken father who doesn’t even seem present when he does show up. Forced to be the main caregiver of his younger brother, Renee, and lost in a sea of indifference, Sebastian only wants to experience the love a real, stable family could afford him.

One morning he discovers the famous folksinger, Teal Landen, asleep on the sofa. Teal’s nurturing nature brings an immediate sense of security into Sebastian’s tumultuous life. But a dark secret looms between Teal and Sebastian’s father of a hidden past. Sebastian is driven to discover their secret, but also he’s aware of how tenuous their hold on Teal really is. He doesn’t want to lose the feeling of home Teal’s presence has brought him.

The Evolution of a Playwright – Writer Labels

Labels! They’re so difficult to own. I reluctantly called myself a writer because I was one who put words down on paper. Then, when my first novel was published, I reluctantly called myself an author. In between, I was a poet and a columnist and a freelance writer. These things that define me, if only momentarily, are also the things that seem too monumental for me to be. Even now, it seems impossible. Each one of these labels.

I’m thinking the greatest of my unfathomable writerly accomplishments is, however, none of the above. The whole time I wrote these other things, I imagined a day when I would only write plays. I mean, dialogue is king, right?! Why would I want to do anything else besides put words into the mouths of characters? What’s cooler than seeing your characters come to life on the boards? I can’t think of anything.

Ever since I first read Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare, Molière, and, finally, W. Somerset Maugham, back in high school, I’ve been a bit obsessed with the idea of becoming a playwright. A Streetcar Named Desire blew me away. Entirely. The raw savagery of Stanley Kowalski, mixed with the tragic delusional broken princess of Blanche Dubois was flawless. Even though Tartuffe was written in 1664 it still stands in a league of its own as a comedy. Not to mention Maugham’s The Bread Winner and The Constant Wife…but comedies that have lasted. I don’t even know where to begin with Shakespeare. I just love his plays. I had an English teacher in high school who was a bit of an eccentric–okay, a lot of an eccentric–he used to get us to push the desks to the walls and perform Shakespeare moments together in the centre of the classroom. These were divine moments.

I’ve had many pivotal moments as a writer when I experienced epiphanies about LABELS, as they pertain to writers. One of the biggest was when I realized Matthew Quick wrote both YA Lit and Adult Lit. This gave me permission to do the same. I know it shouldn’t be out-of-the-box thinking that one could cross-pollinate genres, markets, styles, and types of writing. One should just write what calls out to them the loudest to be written. But sometimes it takes seeing other people do things before you can give yourself permission to do them.

The second such epiphany I had was that I could be a novelist and a playwright. Maugham was right there in front of me, all that time. I even had his memoir about skating the duo existence of novelist/playwright to refer to. The Summing Up is one of my favourite books on writing. Why? Because it speaks to me. Maugham was honest about how he discovered his love of writing plays over novels. This quote sums it up nicely:

“Thank God, I can look at a sunset now without having to think how to describe it.” ~ W. Somerset Maugham

Writing plays removes the need for descriptive prose. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, so the saying goes. But when you don’t have the prose between the lines of dialogue, you are faced with only your characters. You are left with conversation. This is, for me, my favourite part of novel writing. It’s nice to slip out of the need to piece together an entire world of description in order to tell a story. When I wrote my first short play, I knew I had found something I would always love. When I saw that play performed, I was hooked forever. Those were my words coming out of the characters’ mouths. It was a thing of magic!

I once wrote on this blog about how to write a 10-minute play. I wrote that post after having had 7 plays performed. I think the advice still stands today. I’m only one 10-minute play shy from having had 10 of them produced now. You can read that post here: HOW TO WRITE A 10-MINUTE PLAY

I will probably always write novels. As freeing as it is to have the director and the actors create the world surrounding the story, it is also rewarding to create that world yourself through prose. BUT…I don’t think I will ever feel as alive as a writer as I feel when I’m writing plays. I love writing the dialogue. I love walking around the house by myself reading the lines aloud to hear if they sound ‘right’. I love working and re-working each line until it does sound right. And I love sitting in my seat in front of the stage seeing real live people perform the words that came from my pen. I feel most evolved as a writer when I can sit back and watch my words take flight. There’s nothing like it. It’s a kind of happiness that begets desire. To watch one’s own play must be a high akin to the high an actor gets at the sound of the applause.

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.” ~ Walt Whitman

Try new things. If you’re a poet, don’t be only a poet. If you’re a novelist, don’t be only a novelist. If you’re a sci-fi writer, don’t be only a sci-fi writer. Labels for writers are interchangeable. Unless you wish only to have one, you can have as many as you desire. Writers have great opportunities to allow themselves to constantly evolve. It’s scary to step out of your comfort zone…but only until that next zone you find yourself in fits as nicely as the last one did. Find your happiness as a writer in this hour. If there is something you want to try, don’t let fear stop you from doing so. Let your fear be the fuel you use to tackle it.

molly

 

 

You Can’t Please Everyone…Writer Beware

Without shining a light on the issues that gave me the idea for this post, I learned early on that my writing is not going to be right for everyone. I also know that some people will love some things I write and hate other things I write. It’s just the way it is.

Once I write something, and have it vetted by beta readers, agents, acquisitions editors and editors…it’s out of my hands. Nothing I can say or do will make a reader like it. Nothing I can say or do will make a reader not like it. Whatever they feel about my work is up to them. What I do is present my best effort, made better by those who helped the piece make its way to the marketplace. After that, it becomes something that is entirely and emphatically out of my hands.

I read reviews. I know that some authors say they don’t read reviews…and that others should do the same and avoid them at all costs. But I do read them. Every single one I come across. I listen to what the reviewer has to say. Sometimes–in the majority of cases, I suppose…which makes me eternally grateful–the comments are extremely lovely. A lot of readers like the end product that I have put out there into the world. Sometimes–in enough cases that I feel the need to improve upon my work at all times–the comments are hard to read and most decidedly uncomplimentary.

I can’t write something that everyone will like. That’s impossible. That will always be impossible…for every writer.

I take the good reviews as a notion that I am doing something right…I am touching readers with my words. I take the bad reviews as a notion that I can do better. Much better. I appreciate the harsh reviews as much as I appreciate the glowing ones. I attempt to take away from them insights that will make me a better writer. I hope that they are never written with malice or as personal vendettas against me as a person. And even if they are, that is entirely the reviewer’s option. They have a right to write whatever they wish about my works. I’m only grateful that my words are being read.

I will always read my reviews. I will consider deeply whatever the reviewer is attempting to say…good or bad. And sometimes, their words will hurt me deeply. And sometimes I will get a review that will make my day, my week, my month, my year.

Ultimately, I’m responsible for my words. I own everything I ever wrote and allowed into the marketplace. And the reviewers? They’re responsible for their words. Their words are not supposed to have anything to do with me. They are free to comment on my works as they see fit to do so.

My job is to take the ideas and notions in my head, gestate them to term and give birth to them. My job, after that, is to not get offended or take it personally if someone thinks one of my babies is ugly. Someone else will eventually come along who thinks it’s a pretty baby. And someone else, again, will come along and think it’s an okay baby with some ugly defects. This is how it goes.

You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The facts of life
No pictures today. I welcome you to visit either AMAZON, KOBOBOOKS, BARNES & NOBLE, or CHAPTERS INDIGO to check out my books. Reviews can be found (or posted) on GOODREADS. If you take (took) the time to write a review of one of my 5 books (Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet, The Reasons, Burn Baby Burn Baby, Half Dead & Fully Broken), I thank you. Whether you loved my work or hated it, liked it or were indifferent to it, I thank you. One of the greatest gifts I have is my love of writing. The added gift I have is in knowing that my words are not going out into the void without having ever touched another living soul. Any review I receive is validation that I have put myself out there. Yes, it’s a vulnerable position to put yourself in. But it’s a position I chose with both eyes open. I can’t do so without expecting a little rain sometime. When you go from writer to author, you give the world carte blanche to judge you. You say to them, “BRING IT!” And then you merely hope for the best…

Sebastian’s Poet Now Available on KOBO! (With Reader Praise and Link to Chapter One)

 

Sebastian's Poet

Sebastian’s Poet is now available on KOBO!

Here’s what readers have said about the novel:

Sebastian’s Poet is a wonderful feel-good story that you must read!

Broken people, abandonment, longing, aching. This book drew me in with its beauty, and I shed a few tears. It was so well crafted –- a really well-written book — and I was so glad to read it. I loved this book.

Sebastian’s Poet is a wonderful contemporary work that deserves much more notoriety than it has received. More people need to know about this author. Please, please, trust me when I say that you will love every page of this fantastic story.

Oh Sebastian, your story made me smile, made me angry and made me cry. It’s not that often that a book rings this true to real life for me.
I found I couldn’t put it down.

This novel for me is a 5/5 for sure! I would suggest this for anyone who loves a novel that is going to make you feel (even if it is uncomfortable at times), and makes you think about what other people have gone through and why they may be the way that they are.

Sebastian’s Poet is a story full of heart and humanity. The characters are strong and believable and I rooted for them during their struggles, particularly the children: Sebastian and Renee. Their suffering and confusion is touchingly, achingly real. When I finished this story, on the bus on the way to work (of course) I had to struggle not to audibly sob in public.

Craig adeptly maneuvers the reader through the story that is one part a happy trip down memory lane interwoven with a heartbreaking tale of a family fractured, broken, and quite possibly beyond repair.

Beautifully written! I couldn’t put it down! Kevin is a wonderful writer – he gets you from the moment you turn the first page!

Months after reading SEBASTIAN’S POET, I’m still haunted by images of Sebby and his poet, Teal; I still smell the ashes in the ashtray; I still feel the awkwardness at the corner store.

Why don’t more people know about this author? About this book? Because they should. It’s a hidden gem.

I could not put this book down! I started it this morning and am already done reading it.

This is an excellent book about family, secrets, music, and the different kinds of love that we experience in our lives.

Kevin Craig does an excellent job of writing this beautiful, yet tragic tale through the eyes of a child caught in an unfortunate situation. The thoughts and feelings come through so well with Craig’s lyrical prose that you will instantly be drawn in and feel yourself experiencing the same emotions as the characters.

You can pick up your copy for your KOBO device or KOBO app today! For $3.75

VISIT SEBASTIAN’S POET AT KOBO.

You can read CHAPTER ONE of SEBASTIAN’S POET in its entirety at this link to an older blog post where I shared it here.