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Driftwood Theatre Playwright Theatre Trafalgar 24 Writing Life

My Return to the Castle! (Trafalgar24)

Trafalgar Castle, Whitby, Ontario
Trafalgar Castle, Whitby, Ontario

I recently mentioned that I had some super secret news. We’re now allowed to talk about it. (-;

On Thursday March 6th I have the distinct pleasure of being locked inside Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario for the 5th time! FIVE TIMES. FIVE! Count ’em! Five! (-:

With the tagline, 24 ARTISTS. 24 HOURS. 6 NEW PLAYS., you just know it’s the one must-see event of the year in these parts. There is nothing quite as extraordinary as Trafalgar24.

outside the castle

I don’t know how I get so lucky. Sometimes, it’s hard being a writer (shhhh…not really). But at other times, it’s quite the fairytale. Trafalgar is my fairytale.

Trafalgar Castle, Whitby, Ontario
Trafalgar Castle, Whitby, Ontario

I enjoy everything about this play festival. I love the anticipation of waiting to see which room my play will be set in, how many actors I will be given to work with, whether those actors will be male, female or both. I love arriving at the castle at night and knowing I won’t be leaving until daylight. I love knowing that when I do leave the castle the next morning, that I leave behind a complete 10-minute play. For one night a year, I’m the elf…leaving behind a hopefully stunning pair of shoes for the shoemaker to discover.

piano

I love knowing that as I’m driving away from the castle, there are a group of eager (and probably a little scared, anxious and excited) actors and directors arriving to rehearse the plays we playwrights leave behind. I love knowing that within those castle walls, for the entirety of the day, there is creation happening…actors are becoming the characters we leave behind, making them bigger and better and full of life. And directors are envisioning the perfect business to attach to the playwrights’ words. SO MUCH MAGIC!

front entrance inside

And as I arrive back at the castle, a little after nightfall, there is an air of highly electrified excitement. The actors are there, the directors are there, the volunteer soldiers of the Driftwood Theatre Company are there. And the opening ceremonies see the castle fill to the rafters with audience members eager to see what delights are in store for them this year! Delights both culinary and theatrical…as the dessert bar at Trafalgar 24 is renown.

The audience, broken into 6 groups, tours the castle and sees all 6 of the plays in the 6 castle rooms chosen for the event.

Playwrights have no idea going in which room they will get to write their play in. To date, I’ve had the basement, the piano room, the auditorium and the lab. I love getting to my room, taking a walk around and trying to figure out what will happen there. So far, each room has spoken to me. I can’t wait to see where I get put this year!

If you have not yet grabbed your Trafalgar24 ticket, I suggest you do it now. This event sells out yearly:

TRAFALGAR24 TICKETS

DRIFTWOOD THEATRE GROUP’S TRAFALGAR24 WEBPAGE

See you at the castle!

From Driftwood’s Webpage:

Trafalgar 24 is a fundraising event in support of driftwood theatre

Every March, 24 playwrights, directors and actors get locked into a 19th century castle nestled in Whitby, Ontario, for a theatre creation event unlike any other. Using the castle as inspiration, their challenge is to create, rehearse and perform six new plays in only 24 hours.

This extraordinary festival is also Driftwood’s signature fundraising gala. Be among an exclusive audience to witness six new site-specific plays; feast on a fabulous selection of wine, cheese and desserts; find spectacular deals on entertainment, electronics, services, art and more at our silent auction; and help discover Driftwood’s next Beyond The Castle playwright.

March 7, 2014 | Trafalgar Castle | 401 Richmond Street, Whitby.

castle front

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10 Minute Plays Bard's Bus Driftwood Theatre InspiraTO InspiraTO Festival Play Play Festivals Playwright Playwriting Playwriting Festivals Stage The Summing Up Theatre W Somerset Maugham Writers Writing Writing Advice Writing Dialogue Writing Tips

How to Write a 10-Minute Play

So, I’ve been writing the ten minute play for a number of years now. I’d like to think I’ve been doing it with a bit of success, too. Though one could never be sure. I can attest to the fact that the audiences seemed to like my work. Being in an audience when they’re laughing during the unraveling of a comedic play you wrote is extremely rewarding. I consider myself blessed to have experienced that. But I’m rather hard on myself, as a writer…so I tend to allow the actors and the directors to take the blame for the laughter. (-: After all, the script is merely the scaffolding. Right?

So, now that I have had seven 10-minute plays produced…I feel I may be able to offer some advice for others considering the 10-minute play market. It is a favourite of mine. A good 10-minute play can contain the world within its rigidly timed existence. You just have to work like hell to contain it.

1. I learned the hard way that there is a world of difference between a sketch and a play. If your characters are not transforming and going through some kind of self-revelation, you could very well have written a sketch. A play is a complete story, whether that play is 10-minutes long or two hours long. You need an arc. A conversation where nothing really happens and no wisdom is gained and no change takes place is simply a conversation. A lot of first time 10-minute playwrights make the mistake of creating a sketch when they attempt a play, myself included. Last year, during the InspiraTO Festival in Toronto…there was a last-minute call for a play in one of the festival’s satellite locations. As I already had a play in the festival, to take place on the Alumnae Theatre stage, I received the call automatically. I jumped on the opportunity. By the end of the day of the call, I sent in what I mistakenly thought of as a play. Fortunately, it seemed to have some good bones. The Artistic Director, Dominik Loncar, worked with me to flesh out my idea and bring the sketch into the realm of play. I think working with Dominik to create this play was one of the most educational experiences I had in the playwriting process. So, always make sure your play is a full story which culminates in a character change.

2. This one is so easy, it seems self-explanatory. But I have often struggled with it myself. So, I know it needs to be said. For those of you who follow guidelines to a tee, this rule should not be a surprise to you at all. For those of you who think it’s perfectly natural to send a 7,000 word story into a magazine whose submission guidelines clearly state ‘stories should be no more than 3,000 words’, please take heed. There are guidelines for a reason. Ignoring them is the first opportunity the publisher/producer/what-have-you has of culling the pack and rejecting you. Don’t make it easy for people to reject you. ALWAYS read and follow the guidelines. I know from personal experience that well over 50% of submissions are sent in by people who prefer to think of themselves as above submission guideline parameters. As a past acquisitions editor, my job was made quite easy by those who ignored guidelines. I’ve gone on long enough. I tend to get ranty when I discuss writers’ inabilities to follow guidelines. #2 of my advice is that you ensure your play is 10-minutes in running time. NOT ELEVEN. NOT TEN AND A HALF. TEN. End of story. I ‘perform’ my plays over and over again to ensure they meet this criteria.

3. Stage Direction. Use it wisely. Actors are brilliant. While developing their character, they soon learn everything about who that character is. From that place, they can see how that character moves. You don’t want to fill your play with minor business (BUSINESS is the term for what is happening within the play that is not dialogue). If there are necessary directions you feel would move your play forward, by all means include them. But please trust implicitly in the actors and director. They’ll know how to include the right business. I’m sure it infuriates these people no end to be told through stage direction each and every step and movement they are to perform.

4. Give your character a WANT/DESIRE. And then put obstacles in her way. This will create tension. Tension is good. Tension is necessary. Your character needs to propel–be propelled–into the heart of the play. Nothing moves a character more than a shiny carrot dangling just outside of their reach.

5. I think there’s a fine line between KEEP IT SIMPLE and GIVE IT PIZZAZZ. Keeping it simple is required. You only have ten minutes to tell a full story, to bring a character from one place in their life to another. This is not a movie. You can’t have extraordinary props. Your goal is to get to the audience’s raw nerve–be it through comedy, drama, fear, what-have-you. Leave the glitz of the movie world on the silver screen. But this is not to say you can’t give your play pizzazz. You want to make it theatrical, larger than life. You can do this without explosions and special effects. You need to find a perfect balance between simple and exciting. Think of simple as budget-related. Often, you’re working with bare-minimum stage props. Think of exciting as character-related. Give your characters great dialogue and a great compelling story the audience won’t be able to tear themselves away from. Make the walk to the climax a dazzling crescendo.

Scene from Perfect Timing, one of my 2013 InspiraTO Festival plays.
Scene from Perfect Timing, one of my 2013 InspiraTO Festival plays.

The best advice I could give someone who aspires to get into the 10-minute play business? Surround yourself with people in the know. Approach theatre groups. Take in 10-minute festivals in your area. Nothing teaches one more about writing than reading. Nothing teaches one more about 10-minute playwriting, than watching 10-minute plays. Don’t be afraid to write a play and submit it. There are 10-minute festivals all over the world, now. You don’t have to have the title of playwright to write a play. That comes after. Just dive in!

Scene from Perfect Timing, one of my 2013 InspiraTO Festival plays.
Scene from Perfect Timing, one of my 2013 InspiraTO Festival plays.

(I’ve had some great opportunities from people willing to take a chance on an unknown quantity. 10-Minute festivals are a great way to get your foot in the door of live theatre. Without people like Jeremy Smith of Driftwood Theatre and Dominik Loncar of InspiraTO Festival, I’d still be dreaming about being a playwright…instead of being a playwright. Go forth and find your way in.)

Scene from Perfect Timing, my 2013 InspiraTO Festival play.
Scene from Perfect Timing, my 2013 InspiraTO Festival play.

Suggested Reading: The Summing Up by W. Somerset Maugham

Photos are from PERFECT TIMING, one of my 2 InspiraTO Festival plays. Those involved in bringing it to life include:

Dramaturge / MC Thompson
Director / Kim Sprenger
Cast / Liam Doherty (Carl)
Cast / Jennifer Gillespie (Melissa)

MOST OF MY 10-MINUTE PLAYS ARE POSTED HERE ON MY BLOG AND AVAILABLE TO BE STAGED FOR FREE. MY ONLY REQUEST IS THAT YOU ASK ME IN ADVANCE AND LET ME KNOW WHERE YOU’RE STAGING THEM. I CAN BE REACHED BY EMAIL AT: kevintcraig@hotmail.com

THE SPEECH

THE TRAIN WRECK

LEAVING DRIFTWOOD MANOR

PERFECT TIMING

WALK-INS WELCOME

ACRONYMS FOR HAPPINESS

A CUP OF SUGAR

MAID OF HONOUR

THE HISTORY OF US

You can check out my novels at my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE They are: Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet, The Reasons, Burn Baby Burn Baby, and, Half Dead & Fully Broken. The horror anthology Purgatorium, which includes a short story by me, is also listed there.

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Driftwood Theatre Playwright Theatre Trafalgar 24 Writing Life

To the Castle! Driftwood Strikes Again!

Just a few shots from inside and out of Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario. These are shots I took while staying in the castle to write plays for Trafalgar24, the yearly play creation festival put on by Driftwood Theatre. I wrote in the castle for the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 festivals. This year, I will be purely a spectator.

Six playwrights will be locked in the castle on Thursday, March 7th. They will each be sent to a particular room in the castle—in which their plays must take place. They will each be given photos of their actors. Then they must write their plays! When they are released on the morning of Friday, March 8th, there will be 6 freshly written plays left behind. Like the Elf and the Shoemaker!

On the morning of Friday, March 8th the directors and actors will arrive at the castle. They will rehearse the newly penned plays and on the evening of Friday, March 8th the audience (MYSELF INCLUDED!) will arrive to see performances of all six plays. The audience will then vote on our favourites.

Winning playwright gets to develop his or her Trafalgar24 play into a full-length play through Driftwood.

This is a yearly event…and I guarantee you it is the VERY BEST that Durham Region has to offer! If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, you better do so before they are sold out. Happens every single year! Here’s a link:

http://www.driftwoodtheatre.com/event/trafalgar-24/

A hearty (and heartfelt) thank you to Jeremy Smith and the Driftwood crew for giving me my first opportunities to write for the stage. I feel like Trafalgar24 was one of my biggest gifts as a writer. Without Driftwood giving me a chance to dip my toes into playwriting, I would not have found this passion I’m so crazy about. I can’t wait to see what this year’s crop of playwrights come up with for Trafalgar24. Guaranteed we’ll be entertained.

 

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Driftwood Theatre Playwright Theatre Trafalgar 24

Acronyms for Happiness – A 10-Minute Play!

Another of my 10-Minute Trafalgar24 plays. This is my fourth Trafalgar play. For the past four March’s, I’ve taken part in the Trafalgar24 Play Creation Festival at Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario. The playwrights get locked into the castle overnight for 8-hours. Each of the 6 playwrights must write a 10-minute play which takes place in the room in which they are placed to write them. Each playwright gets head shots of their actor(s). After the 8 hours are up, the actors and directors come into the castle and the writers leave. The actors and directors then rehearse the 6 plays for 8 hours. Later in the evening, the audiences arrive at the castle and they travel in groups to see each of the six plays throughout the castle. So, each play is performed 6 times. This is a wonderful event…always a perfect evening of entertainment. After doing it for 4 years, I am still gobsmacked seeing the actors perform these plays to perfection. Amazing time! Mark your calendars…it’s a NOT TO BE MISSED event.

Here’s my 2012 Trafalgar Play!

TITLE: ACRONYMS FOR HAPPINESS

GENRE: COMEDY

SYNOPSIS: To attain happiness, Ann is willing to do anything…while Kelly will stop at nothing to save her.

CHARACTERS:

ANN : Flighty, New-Agey, Dreamer.

KELLY : Realist, Skeptic.

DESCRIPTION: Ann is a career dream-chaser. Her co-worker, Kelly, has a healthy dose of skepticism. Can Kelly save Ann from falling into this newest bottomless pit of false hope she is getting herself into?

SETTING

The Lab

ANN: [Sitting on a stool by the island sink, head down on the desk][Sings…dreamily, hopeful but trailing off] …why then, oh why can’t I?

KELLY: [At the microscope, examining. Looks up.] Because. You’re hopeless. You’re about as useful as angels in a bar fight. That’s why you CAN’T.

ANN: [Lifting her head. Pouty.] You don’t believe in me. You shoot down every single ambition I ever have. You’re a killer of dreams.

KELLY: [She has been mimicking Ann the whole time. Looks back into microscope.] Yeah, well. That may be so, but at least I know how to dream.

ANN: What’s that supposed to mean?

KELLY: It means you’ve always been impractical, Ann. You always believe in the impossible just long enough to get your heart ripped out when you discover that it actually is impossible.

ANN: But this time—

KELLY: It’s different. I know.

ANN: This time [Gets up and moves toward the other sink] This time I have a flawless plan! If you can dream it, you can be it. If you can dream it, you can be it. [Picks up mortar and pestle and starts walking towards audience.] Guru Les says mantras can change the universe! If only one believes.

KELLY: Oh, you mean Guru Les-is-More? Guru Les-Money-in-Your-Pocket-is-More-Money-in-Mine? That Guru?

ANN: Guru is not about money, Kell. That’s how much you know! Guru Les is about peace. And love. And reaching for your dreams and catching them in the palm of your hand. [Voice raises higher and higher. Standing in front of audience, looking off into the distance, hands spread] Rejoice, rejoice, Ema-a-an-uel—

KELLY [Dings the bell beside microscope several times.] Whoa, girl! Slow down. Rein it in.

ANN: [Stomps back to Kelly’s side.] Squasher. Of. Dreams.

KELLY: Let’s think this through. Break it down, shall we? What’s your dream this time?

ANN: Wellllll. It’s not really a particular thing. Per se. I mean, it’s a thing, just not really a specific, you know. Thing. [Wildly gesticulating.]

KELLY: And this Guru Les-is-What-You’ll-Get-if-You-Follow-Me, this guy you’re always talking about like he’s God’s gift to, well, Gods. He’s helping you to attain this…this…nothingness that is a non-specific-ish dream?

ANN: Wow. Yeah. You got it! Wow, Kelly…there’s hope for you yet. [Picks up the green box by the island sink.]

KELLY: Really? I was mocking you. Somebody needs to tell you there’s nothing behind curtain number one.

ANN: Somebody needs to tell you that those are blinds! [Opens the green box, looks inside. Smiles.]

KELLY: What is that?

ANN: It’s my dream box. Guru Les gave it to me. Isn’t it beautiful!

KELLY: What’s in it?

ANN: Why, nothing. Duh! It’s for my dreams. To collect them all in one place.

KELLY: [Rolls eyes. Shakes head.] So he gave you an empty box? Wow. Luck y you! How much did that cost? Two hundred? Look. I’m happy you dream. Really, I am. How long have we worked together?

ANN: Six years. Why?

KELLY: I’m just saying, I’ve known you long enough. Maybe you’re going about things the wrong way, is all. Who’s this Guru Les-Insightful-Than-a-Doily guy, anyway? I mean, who is he really? He’s just a guy in pajamas tryna get all your money. Right? Am I close?

ANN: Well, I’m not one to nitpick, but casual comfortable yoga gear is not really the same as pjs.

KELLY: Okay. Whatever. This Guru Les-Clothes-Allows-Me-To-Take-Advantage-of-You guy. He charges money, right?

ANN: Oh, Kell. You’re so…innocent. You’re so gullible. Naïve. It’s sad, really. Money! What is money when you compare it to the fulfillment of your every dream? [Voice rising hysterically again]

KELLY: Oh, right. The dreams again. Well, if you’re going to be barking at the moon in pajamas, you might as well be dreaming too, right.

ANN: Stretchy yoga wear.

KELLY: Pardon?

ANN: Not pajamas!

KELLY: You’re splitting hairs.

ANN: One does not sleep in one’s yoga wear.

KELLY: And yet one can dream in one’s yoga wear. Interesting. Let me ask you this. If you were to pinpoint one dream. Just one, mind you. What would it be? What is your deepest desire?

ANN: Oh! You mean ‘Dream it—Be it’.

KELLY: Huh?

ANN: Visualization of your wildest dream. That’s what Guru Les calls Dream it—Be it. It’s so funny. He always says TM after he says it. You know, with air quotes and all.

KELLY: Riiiiight. So this Guru Les-of-a-Guru-Really-Than-a-Fortune-Cookie guy, he tells you that if you could dream it you could be it? Simple enough. What’s your biggest dream?

ANN: Duh-duh-duh-duh [Hums the wedding march and dances dreamily out in front of the audience.] Oh, you know. Kids. A husband—A striking, handsome husband. I’d say Prince Charming, but you would probably laugh at me.

KELLY: No. No. I wouldn’t laugh. [Picks up the heart from the shelf above sink.] I do have a heart, Ann.

ANN: Cute. I get it. A heart. Cute. [Still lost in wedding dream, still pirouetting and dancing] I guess this would be a really bad time to tell you that Guru Les held his Name Choosing Ceremony last night.

KELLY: Name, what?

ANN: Choosing ceremony. [Stops dancing] I told you it was coming up soon. You don’t listen, do you?

KELLY: I do try not to get any of this Guru Les-of-a-Nutbar-Than-a-Fruitloop guy on me, if you know what I mean. Sounds like he could be catching.

ANN: Well, anyway. Before we can focus on our Dream Retrieval Therapy—DRT—we need to choose and own our new names in the Name Choosing Ceremony. NCC.

KELLY: Dream retrieval, what now?

ANN: Don’t give me that look. I chose Penelope-Beatrix. I feel it lifts me. [Pirouette.] Prepares me for my dream.

KELLY: Sweetie, if your dream is a month-long vacation in a padded cell with all the noodles you can eat with a nice soft spoon, then you may be in luck.

ANN: Guru Les warned me there would be doubters. People who wouldn’t believe in his theories and methods. For those people, he gave me the Dream Stealer Mantra. DSM. I just didn’t think I would need to use it on you!

KELLY: So this Guru Les-Brains-Than-a-Shoehorn guy, he gives you mantras to ward off the sanity of friends? Does that not sound somewhat flawed to you?

ANN: Penelope-Beatrix does not need to listen to this negativity. Stealers never dream and dreamers never steal. Stealers never dream—

KELLY: Whoa, whoa! Don’t hit me with that mighty mojo! Don’t know if I can fend this powerful stuff off!

ANN: Penelope-Beatrix just wants to find a husband and have a family. That is her dream. Why must you kill it!

KELLY: Ann, I have no intention of killing your dreams. That’s a good dream to have. But how is pinching off bliss loaves with this Guru Les-About-Dreams-and-More-About-Schemes guy going to help you achieve this particular dream?

ANN: You have to stop doing that!

KELLY: Doing what? What am I doing now?

ANN: You’re making fun of Guru Les’s name. It’s disrespectful.

KELLY: Sorry. Sorry. But Guru Les-Than-Stellar is not impressing me much. I’m afraid you’re being taken advantage of. You’re always trying to chase the next thing. This guy is leading you down the garden path.

ANN: [Waves hands through the air around Kelly, mumbling inaudibly.]

KELLY: Whoa! What are you doing now—are you smudging me? Stop it. Back off!

ANN: I’m doing the Naysayer Cleanse Ritual. NCR. Your negativity may metastasize to me. I need to protect myself against your chi.

KELLY: What’s gotten into you? I’m concerned now. Seems you’re riding the crazy horse with this Guru Les-Functioning-Than-a-Rock guy. What’s wrong with just being you? Just letting nature take its course? You’re going to find someone, Anne. You’re a wonderful person.

ANN: Don’t you see? I need an edge. I don’t want to be a lab tech forever. I want to meet Mr. Right.

KELLY: What happened to strong independent woman?

ANN: SIW? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that one?

KELLY: Jees, Ann…it’s not an acronym! It’s what we are. It’s what we used to be. What I still am!

ANN: I have a dream. I want more. Guru Les could be the answer I’ve been looking for all this time.

KELLY: If you ask me, this Guru Les-Answers-and-More-Questions guy is just that. A great big mother of a question. You need to get away from him.

ANN: When I close my eyes I dream of fishes.

KELLY: Pardon?

ANN: Fishes. I dream of fishes. Do you understand how disheartening that is!

KELLY: What does that have to do with Gurus and dreams and husbands? What are you talking about?

ANN: Don’t you see. I don’t wanna be alone. I don’t want to be the girl who only ever dreamed of fish. I want to close my eyes and dream of birthday parties and sandboxes and runny noses and doctors’ appointments.

KELLY: Guru Les is not going to get you there.

ANN: I need to be fulfilled. I need to belong somewhere. If wishes were fishes I’d be dreaming of babies.

KELLY: Pardon?

ANN: You know what I mean.

KELLY: It’s time to go home. Time to call it a night. Please. Do me a favour and stay away from your Guru tonight.

ANN: But we’re supposed to be Deep Dream Channelling tonight. DDC. It’s the last step before our Dream Retrieval Ceremony. DRC.

KELLY: Oh, I’m sure it is. Come on. You’re coming with me. We’re going to try a little GNO. Tonight, we let go of the guru and take back the power.

ANN: GNO? I don’t think that acronym is Guru Les approved?

KELLY: No. But then again, Girls Night Out isn’t really something that would benefit this Guru Les-Appropriate-Than-a-Meat-Dress, now is it? Now let’s get out of here.

ANN: But my dream. I must follow the procedure set out by the Guru. I’m not even in my yoga gear. How can I attain my dream if I can’t stretch comfortably.

KELLY: Save the pajamas for bedtime. We’re going dancing! [Puts an arm around ANN and leads her to the door.]

ANN: [Gives up and allows herself to be lead to the door.] Oh! Just wait a minute. [Runs back to grab green box while KELLY waits at the door.] [Opens the box and looks into it hopefully. Pauses. To the audience.] Birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why can’t I! [Holds the green box to her chest and runs to catch up with KELLY.]

[Exit]

END PLAY

Categories
Driftwood Theatre Kevin Craig Playwright The Reasons Trafalgar 24 Writing Life

The Reasons, The Castle & Whispered Words

Why can’t I get this manuscript to expand!? I’ve pulled it in every direction. I’ve yanked it, stretched it, squeezed it, pinched it. Nothing helps. I love the story, I love the twisted broken family portrayed in the story…but no matter what I try, I can’t get it to grow. The story is what the story is. I keep thinking to myself, ‘You know what, in today’s ebook world…it doesn’t matter. You can sell it as a short story, a novella. You don’t have to stretch it just for the sake of stretching it.’ But then I know…somewhere deep down, I know this is a novel. A novel in hiding. A novel in waiting. These people just won’t tell me any more than they have already told me.

As a writer, do you ever feel like part of your job is to be a seer? A fortune teller? An all-seeing being?

Because I NEVER feel that way. I never feel like the arcs of my characters are my responsibility. I start off thinking, ‘Okay, I’m going to have character one do this and character 2 react this way. Then character three is going to come in and glue up all the works’. That’s about all I start with, but by page three character three doesn’t even exist and character one forgot what he was supposed to do and character one hasn’t arrived on the page yet. I always have this thought for a story and then I sit down. From that point on, I’m always at the mercy of the story that wants to be told…not the one I thought I wanted to tell.

The novel I’m griping about right now is one called THE REASONS. I wrote it for the 2008 Muskoka Novel Marathon. It’s the story of a broken dysfunctional family trying to repair itself. I said broken dysfunctional because although all families are dysfunctional, they’re not all broken. The Reasons (Sir name of the family and the title of the book) are a family in a downward spiral. Everything is falling apart. I want to hold off submitting the short novella I have written because something is always telling me that it’s meant to be a full length novel, but that something is not sharing anything else with me. It’s not telling me HOW to make it a full length novel. It’s really quite aggravating, actually.

Maybe it’s time to do what I sometimes do when I’m struggling with a novel. Write dialogue. In essence, write little mini-scripts, little plays getting the characters to open up to me and tell me what they want to say. When I write solid dialogue, I find it’s easier to let the characters take over. So maybe I should take Maggie, Marcy, David and Tobias Reason out of the novel for a few hours and play with them on stage…get them moving around and gesticulating with one another…get them babbling in each others’ faces. If I can concentrate on their conversations for a while, it may just unlock this problem I’m having with trying to expand upon the novel.

I honestly don’t have a problem with novellas. This is not my problem with The Reasons. I just know that it is NOT a novella. I know there is more that this family wants to say and do. I just can’t see around the corners. If I place them on a stage looking at each other, they will have no choice but to start talking. If I can pay attention to what they say, I may just be able to scrape more story together, close the play and get back to the novel in waiting.

It won’t be the first time I took a novel to the stage to stretch it. I suggest this plan of action to anyone who is stuck trying to write their novel. Just take the characters out of the confines of the book long enough to have fun with them. Playwriting is so much different than novel writing…but the one thing that they should both have in common is excellent dialogue. For me, writing dialogue lines for a play comes so much easier than dialogue in a novel. While writing the play, I imagine the characters, I see their movements, their directions…they come to life. So try that…just make sure you put them back into the novel when you’re finished. Don’t let them run willy nilly around while you’re patting yourself on the shoulder for the good effort.

Speaking of playwriting, this past Thursday was the Trafalgar 24 Play Creation Festival at Trafalgar Castle School in Whitby, Ontario. It was another great event put on by Driftwood Theatre as a fundraiser for their travelling theatre company. I wrote a play for the science lab this year. When I first arrived in my room I think I was a little overwhelmed. There was just so MUCH STUFF! Everywhere I looked, there were props. It was insane. For me, too many things are just as bad as too few. Every year I write a Trafalgar play I get a little worried about what room I’m going to get. You can only use the props inside the room at the time you arrive. If there is nothing there, you rely completely on the actors. If there are piles and piles of props, you kind of run the risk of incorporating too many things into the script.

Last year, my play took place on the stage of the auditorium…hence, having only a podium for a prop. After panicking for about 20 minutes, I relaxed and wrote my play. The year before, I was in the piano room. Obvious props…back to back pianos. YES…I incorporated them into the play. My first year, I found myself in the castle basement…down a dim dark hall that looked like it was neglected for the past 75 years. There were props…but touching them meant the actors would be getting dirty. But, hey, I wasn’t the actor…so, yes, I had them stuffing themselves into dirty closets, and picking up objects that were mostly made of dust and grime.

Fast forward to this year. I walk into the science lab and immediately realize there are a thousand and one things I could use in my play. My first feeling was, “ALRIGHT!” Then I thought, ‘wait a minute…prop overload!!’ It’s kind of like being a fat kid in a candy store. You want everything at once, but you don’t know what to grab first. So, two minutes in…the fat kid is on the floor of the store crying. He doesn’t know what to do! He’s too overwhelmed.

So, though I love that I get a new room every year, I really discovered that the science lab was the hardest one I’ve ever been given. Not because I had nothing to work with, but because I had too much to work with!

I think it turned out okay, though. I had amazing amazing actors yet again! I have never seen a so-so actor at Trafalgar 24. There are no other creative people I have more respect for than the respect I have for actors. And Trafalgar 24 actors are at the top of that respect chain. Screw Brad Pitt and Wynona Ryder…they’re great on screen…but can they come into a castle and see a script for the first time and put on 6 performances of that script that very evening?! I’m guessing no. The Trafalgar 24 actors are amazing! I bow to them. And the directors…I can’t say enough. Every year, this is the year’s best event for me. By the time the gala evening rolls around, it’s almost like I had no part in it at all. I’m just another lucky audience member who gets to take it all in.

SO, this year, my play was ACRONYMS FOR HAPPINESS. I entered the castle at 9pm Thursday night, started writing it at 10pm, after arriving at the science lab. I left the castle at 6am Friday morning. Like every year before, I spent the day horrified, thinking that either my actors or my director—or possibly all of them after forming a posse—were planning to kill me upon my arrival at the castle later Friday evening. I’m always 100% sure I leave behind me an unactable–impossible play. I visualize the actors spending the entire day crying. I see the director tearing the room apart in frustration. This year, since there were SO MANY props in the science lab, my director–in my mind’s eye–spent the day tossing bunsen burners and microscopes and petri dishes around. I was afraid to see the lab…I knew it would be a mess of broken science equipment, and I knew it was all my fault.

Yes…that’s how positive I am every year that I write a bad play. I’m afraid to speak to my actors and director—terrified, actually. But—honestly, I LOVE TRAFALGAR24. Really, I do.

Not only is it a wonderful wonderful evening of great entertainment, but it also helps to fund DRIFTWOOD THEATRE…it helps them take their BARD’S BUS around Southern Ontario and give the public the gift of modern Shakespeare!

I just looked at the title of this post and realized I had one more thing to talk about! Whispered Words! This is the WCDR’s yearly writing contest. Two years ago, they had WICKED WORDS (I received an honourable mention in that contest and my short story, Rabacheeko, was included in the Wicked Words anthology). Last year, they had WILD WORDS (I was a first round judge for Wild Words. I was honoured to have that role. There were so many entries and you really do realize how hard it is to judge a contest like this. The writing was excellent. I loved SO MANY of the entries!). This year, it was WHISPERED WORDS. At next Saturday’s WCDR Breakfast Meeting, the winners of this contest will be announced. I was fortunate enough to make the short list

I still can’t believe my little story made it this far in the competition! I’m hoping this means it gets to be in the anthology, though I’m not sure. Why do I hope this? Because the cover is incredible! The winner of the cover art contest was revealed at a previous breakfast meeting and I immediately fell in love with it. We’ll find out next Saturday who the winners are. I’m hoping a new writer wins…I know it would help them to gain confidence in their writing. I only enter the WCDR contests in order to support the group. My piece already went way further than I expected it to go. I will be excited to see the results played out at the breakfast meeting…everybody in the group is SO supportive of one another. It’s great to see everybody sharing in the wins. We are a large group, the WCDR, but we are also a group of 1. (-:

Check out the world’s greatest writing group:

Categories
Driftwood Theatre Playwright Theatre Trafalgar 24

Another 10-Minute Play – MAID OF HONOUR

As I’ve been so busy with life these past few days, I thought I would share one of my Trafalgar24 plays as a blog post. There’s already one of my 10-minute Trafalgar plays on this blog somewhere. You can search THE SPEECH to find it. This one, MAID OF HONOUR, is from Trafalgar24 2010. If you are unfamiliar with this event–playwrights get locked into Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario overnight. They each write a play and then leave the castle when the sun comes up. At that time, actors and directors enter the castle and rehearse all the plays for 8 hours. That evening, there is a gala event where approximately 300 audience members move throughout the castle seeing the plays performed in various rooms. It’s a phenomenal event. I’ve participating in the 2009, 2010 & 2011 Trafalgar24s. If you get a chance to attend, don’t miss out!

Here’s the play I wrote for 2010. I was given the Piano Room in which to write my play. I had to use only the props found in that room and I had to set the play in that room. (Somewhere on this blog are pictures of that room, in a previous Trafalgar24 post…but I’m not sure where it is right now. I’m on my way out the door to enjoy an evening of Italian food, family and friends! ETA: found it! Trafalgar pictures ) I hope you enjoy MAID OF HONOUR…

(as usual, if someone stumbles upon this post while googling 10 minute plays, etc, and wishes to use this play…please feel free to do so. ALL that I ask is that you email me for permission so that I know it is being performed.)

TITLE: MAID OF HONOUR

GENRE: COMEDY

SYNOPSIS: Can a bride’s rocky relationship with her Maid of Honour survive a last-minute confession that she’s in love with the groom?

CHARACTERS:

MELANIE : Overly dramatic and self-centred.

PENELOPE: The Bride to be. Down to earth. The victim.

DESCRIPTION: On the night before Penelope’s wedding, her Maid of Honour makes a confession. Is Melanie’s secret severe enough to finally break up these struggling BFFs? Or will Penelope find it in her heart to forgive her egotistical, self-centred Maid of Honour one final time in order to save her day?

 SETTING

MELANIE’S house.

MELANIE [Sitting at the piano with the swivel chair]: It’s hopeless! [Hits a low key on the piano.] It’s tragic. [Hits the same low key again.] It’s irrevocably ruined. [Hits the key one last time.]

PENELOPE [Sitting at the opposite piano, facing MELANIE’S back.] [annoyed]: What is? What’s hopeless, Mel? Tell me. How bad could it be?

MELANIE [Sighs. Swivels in her chair to face Penelope]: Remember that time your hair caught fire in the back of that limo? How mad you were? How you blamed me for ruining your prom?

PENELOPE: Nothing is that bad, Mel. Nothing could even come close to that disastrous moment—

MELANIE: I’m in love with Brad.

PENELOPE [Stands. Pats her hair, as though putting out flames]: What!

MELANIE: It’s true. I can’t pretend any long—

PENELOPE: What!

MELANIE [Stands]: We already covered that, sweetie. I’m opening up here. Please pay attention.

PENELOPE: I’m marrying Brad tomorrow.

MELANIE: Which is another reason you should hush and let me speak.

PENELOPE [Rushes Melanie]: What do you mean? Him too. You’re stealing him too.

MELANIE [Backs up.]: I believe the proper nomenclature is ‘also’. Let’s not jump to conclusions.

PENELOPE: You’re my Maid of Honour. My best friend.

MELANIE: But if you keep things in perspective, I’m also the one who torched your hair. I’m the reason you spent prom in the E.R.

PENELOPE: Not related. Does Brad know how you feel?

MELANIE: They are related, sweetie. You should pay closer attention to the woman who lit your head on fire. I’m flawed, Pen. Deeply flawed.

PENELOPE: I know, Mel, but back up. What’s going on? I’m supposed to be getting married tomorrow.

MELANIE: Pay attention. I’m trying to tell you. Hopeless. Tragic. Ruined. Remember?

PENELOPE: What?

MELANIE: Don’t go down that road again, Pen. You go down the ‘what’ road far too often. It’s a sign you don’t really pay attention when people speak. [Sits and swivels to face the keys.]

PENELOPE: Don’t turn your back on me. We have to discuss this. What about Brad?

MELANIE [Hits a low key]: Hopeless.

PENELOPE [Swings Melanie around to face her]: Enough with the theatrics. What’s going on? Have you stolen another fiancé from me?

MELANIE [With tragic look on her face]: I try to be a good friend, Pen. I really do. [Gets up and walks over to mirror. Casually studies herself] Do my eyebrows look even to you? [Turns to face PENELOPE, with back to mantel.]

PENELOPE: This is my life you’re playing with! I don’t care about your—

MELANIE: You don’t have to get so sensitive.

PENELOPE: Brad.

MELANIE: Yes, yes. The man you’re going to marry.

PENELOPE: Have the two of you been conspiring behind my back? Did you call me here to ruin my life again?

MELANIE [Walks away from mantel, towards PENELOPE.]: Honestly. You think so little of me.

PENELOPE: History has a way of dictating these things.

MELANIE: I said it was tragic, didn’t I? Would I think it tragic if Brad left you to run off with me? Give your head a shake. Why, I’d be elated. [Continues to piano and hits a low key.] I certainly wouldn’t be hitting the doom and gloom keys.

PENELOPE: Shirley. Gwynn. Or maybe Gloria. Oh, I know! Susan! It’ll be Susan.

MELANIE: I’m opening my spleen here. Why do you insist on rhyming off the guest list?

PENELOPE: Like hell I am! I’m trying to come up with a replacement.

MELANIE: Replacement? Replacement for what?

PENELOPE: You don’t honestly think I’d allow you to be my Maid of Honour now! Honestly, sometimes I think you’re so far up your own—

MELANIE: Words. Careful. No need to get nasty and trashy.

PENELOPE: It’s true. It must be awfully dark up there in the underbelly of Mel’s Great Universe. Why do I allow you to constantly wreak havoc with my life?

MELANIE: I’m good for you.

PENELOPE: If you mean like in the same way amoebic dysentery is good for a diet, well, yes. I’ll agree.

MELANIE: Oh, sweetie. Must you? Could we please be more civil?

PENELOPE: You were actually the twelfth person on my list the night I chose my Maid of Honour. Twelfth choice, Mel! And yet. Here we are.

MELANIE: Number one with a bullet!

PENELOPE: Oh, for a bullet. My kingdom for a bullet.

MELANIE: Listen. I only wanted you to know. Big deal. It’s my tragedy. Not yours. Surely you could overlook this tiny detail.

PENELOPE: Tiny detail? Tiny detail! You’re in love with the man I’m going to marry. That’s not a tiny detail.

MELANIE: In the grand scheme of things [Hits another low key.] it is a small thing. You’ll still marry him. I’ll want to slit my wrists when the vows are being spoken, but…but only on the inside, sweetie. I’ll be a champ on the outside.

PENELOPE: I can NOT have you standing with me on my wedding day. Being in love with the groom is the deal breaker, Mel. I just can’t.

MELANIE: But I love him. I need to be there. You can’t keep me away. I want to be—

PENELOPE: Why weren’t the skin graphs enough for me? What is it going to take to finally wash you out of my life?

MELANIE: Don’t dramatize. It was a perfectly respectable accident. I’m not the first one to light candles in a limo. It was Mark’s birthday. The prom was overshadowing his big day.

PENELOPE: Don’t bring him up. Please, God…let’s leave that one buried. I’m feeling stupid enough as it is. I’m always forgiving you.

MELANIE: Mark was a yit. You were better off without him. Good riddance to good trash.

PENELOPE: Bad rubbish.

MELANIE [Returns to mirror and begins preening.]: What now? What’s that about rubbish?

PENELOPE [Sighs.]: Bad rubbish. It’s bad rubbish. It’s good riddance to bad rubbish?

MELANIE: Like I said. At least we can agree on that. In Mark’s case, I was doing you a favour.

PENELOPE: You put me in the E.R. to make your move on him. That does not a favour make!

MELANIE[Leaves mirror and returns to PENELOPE.]: That’s not true. We were together long before the flaming hair incident, and you know it.

PENELOPE: It’s over, Mel. I’m glad you called me here tonight. I’ve finally come to my senses.

MELANIE: Please. Penelope. Don’t be rash. I already said this was tragic…don’t make it unbearable too.

PENELOPE: Does Brad know about this?

MELANIE: I love him, sweetie, but he’s as useless as bark on a donkey. Seriously, he wouldn’t know it if I wrote it on his face and pointed him at a mirror.

PENELOPE: Oh yes. That sounds like love.

MELANIE: Love is knowing the flaws and limitations of those on which you shower it.

PENELOPE [Sighs, defeated]: Love is a battlefield. I’m going to have to let you go.

MELANIE: It’s too late to fill my shoes. I just wanted to share my feelings. You can understand that, can’t you? He’s just so dreamy…for an intellectual stump.

PENELOPE: You told me. Now I’m telling you. You’re out. Susan’s in.

MELANIE: Susan? Ha. What time is the wedding? One-thirty? You’ll be lucky if Susan can walk a straight line by then. Do you really want her attempting the aisle in front of all those guests?

PENELOPE: Why are you torturing me? Couldn’t you keep this to yourself until after the wedding?

MELANIE [Moves to the mantel, fondles the lovers sculpture. Sighs.]: Brad. Oh, Brad. This could be us!

PENELOPE: Stop it. Stop it! I asked you a question.

MELANIE [Continues to fondle sculpture.][Distracted.]: Brad, Brad, Brad. [Irritated] What question?

PENELOPE: I asked why you insist on destroying me.

MELANIE [Turns away from the sculpture]: You! What about me? You’re marrying the man I love.

PENELOPE: You’re so infuriating.

MELANIE: Look. I just wanted to let you know how hard this is going to be for me. But I’ll do it. And I’ll do the best damn job ever. I’ll Maid of Honour like nobody’s business. I just needed to tell you it’s gonna break my heart, is all.

PENELOPE: You can’t tell me something like this and expect me not to react. You just can’t.

MELANIE: Understand where I’m coming from, Pen.

PENELOPE: Where’s that? The third circle of hell?

MELANIE: Clever. No, Hon. I’m here for you. I’ll hide the pain. I just needed you to be aware it was there. That’s all. [Smiles.]

PENELOPE [Shows signs of giving in, wavering.]: Argh. Can I trust you not to ruin everything? How do I know you won’t—

MELANIE [Brightens.]: I’ll be a bastion of maidenly honour. As God is my wit—

PENELOPE: Don’t do that! I’ve seen people struck down for less. Don’t make any promises you can’t keep.

MELANIE: Please, honey. Let me come. I won’t even look at Brad.

PENELOPE: I love him. Got it? Nothing can ruin our day. I can hardly look at you.

MELANIE: I don’t believe you. I’m irresistible! [Holds arms out in a Ta-da! gesture.] You’re crazy about me, Pen. We’ll pretend I’m not madly in love with him, shall we? I’ve been doing it this long…you can do it for one measly day.

PENELOPE: One day. That’s it. And only because Susan can’t hold her liquor. After your Oscar worthy performance, we’re splitzville. Understand?

MELANIE: Absolutely.

PENELOPE: You really leave me no alternative. But it’ll be duh-duh duh-duh-duh-duh-duh (<<Hums wedding march), then bye-bye, Mel.

MELANIE: You got it. I won’t even bleed. All the wrist slashing will happen up here [Taps temple and smiles.].

PENELOPE: I hate myself for allowing this charade.

MELANIE: You find me irresistible. That’s why we’ve lasted so long.

PENELOPE: I think it has more to do with self-loathing. What time is it? I have to go. Tomorrow’s a big day.

MELANIE: The day my love gets married. [Sighs. Hits a low key.] Tragic.

PENELOPE: I’m going to ignore that little dig. Get to sleep. I’m trusting you to do this one last thing for me, before we part ways. Be well rested.

MELANIE: I’ll be flawless. [Gets up and opens door.] You won’t even know I’m dying on the inside.

PENELOPE [Crosses to door.]: Goodnight, Satan.

MELANIE: Until tomorrow.

PENELOPE[Turns back to face MELANIE.]: Please don’t let me down.

[PENELOPE leaves.]

MELANIE [Closes door, sits down at the piano and strikes a long low note.]: Tragic. [Puts head down—in hands.]

END PLAY

Categories
Driftwood Theatre Playwright Trafalgar 24

Trafalgar – Another 24!

In two days I will walk into Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario and get locked in for 8 hours. Doesn’t sound appealing? Of course it is! It’s actually a big time honour and privilege.

This will be my third consecutive year of being locked into the fantastic 19th century castle that is strategically hidden in the heart of downtown Whitby. It will be my third year as one of the PLAYWRIGHTS for Driftwood Theatre’s annual TRAFALGAR24 Play Creation Festival!

At 10pm on Thursday night me and five other playwrights will be locked into the castle, given some sort of prompt, pictures of our actors and the room in which we are to create our plays. We will be given 8 hours to write our play. At 6am Friday…the doors will be unlocked. The playwrights will be freed and the actors and directors will then be locked in for 8 hours. Sounds like fun, eh. It is! Trust me.

On Friday night, there will be a fantastic gala event…6 plays, wine and a bounty of amazing desserts. There will also be a silent auction and an amazing amount of laughter, pathos, drama, and more. All for an exceptional cause—DRIFTWOOD THEATRE.

This year, there is one slight difference. On previous years there were 10 plays and each audience member got to pick 6 plays to view. This year, there are only 6 plays…and the audience, along with a jury, sees all six and votes on their favourite. One play will be selected for further development.

I’m happy to have been chosen to be one of the 6 playwrights for this event. I already won.

 

Here’s to another great year in the castle!

LINK:

http://www.driftwoodtheatre.com/Trafalgar.htm

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September – ALWAYS a busy month! (Updates)

I don’t remember a September that wasn’t action-packed. Historically, it just seems like one of those months where everything happens at once. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! This September is no exception. Things started to roll today, and it’s looking like yet another exciting September for me.

September 1st – My poem WHEN VENUS TAKES A RIDE was posted on the website of the Parliamentary Poet Laureate. It was chosen as the Poem of the Month by the Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Pierre DesRuisseaux. It will be featured for the month of September, and archived on the site for two years. I wrote this poem after my first day on the island of Lamu, off the coast of Kenya. I went there this past December with the Summer Literary Seminars, as part of their Kenya writing program. We took a plane to Manda Island from Nairobi and then hopped a dhow over to the island of Lamu. Once there, the group was given a walking tour of Lamu Town. During this tour, one of the poets in the group, Venus Thrash, was given a ride on a donkey (there are no cars on Lamu, but there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of donkeys). The poem is about that experience.

September 11 – Just like the second Saturday of every month (except for August), the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR) hosts it’s monthly Breakfast Meeting. If you’re a writer in OR NEAR the Durham Region, these are NOT to be missed. The September Breakfast Meeting speaker is Neil Crone. Personally, I think he’s one of the funniest people in Canada. It’s a DON’T-MISS month! Neil will be talking about writing humour.

September 24-25Uxbridge Celebration of the Arts. It’s a 25-year anniversary celebration of the vibrant artistic community of Uxbridge, Ontario. And when I say vibrant, I mean electrifying. I’m constantly amazed by the artistic community in this small town just west of Port Perry, Ontario. I’ve been drawn there on several occasions for BIG TIME artistic endeavors. This time, I’m partaking in the fun. I’ve been chosen to be the playwright for the 25-year anniversary celebration. On the 24th of September I will be given a prompt and I will have 25 hours not only to write a one-act play, but to send it off to my director, Jessica Outram, have her run through rehearsals with the actors AND have it performed live on stage at the Uxbridge Music Hall at the 25th hour. So I’m giving myself about 5-6 of those 25 hours to actually pen the script…as I think they’ll need the bulk of the hours to rehearse. This is the kind of thing I absolutely love! I was fortunate enough to do this type of playwriting on two other occasions, for Driftwood Theatre, as one of the playwrights for their 2009 and 2010 Trafalgar24 Play Creation Festival. I can’t wait to find out what I will be writing about! AND…the best part…watching it come to life just a few hours after it’s written. I am constantly amazed by the talent of the directors and actors that I am fortunate enough to work with!

September 26th– I will be MUSKOKA BOUND! It’s the wrap party for the 2010 Muskoka Novel Marathon. This event, held every July, has quickly become one of my favourite writing related activities! You sit in a building with approximately 30 other writers and you write a novel—in either 48 or 72 hours. How amazing is that! It was a great group this year (as it is every year). We had a lot of fun, and it’s hard to believe at the end of the weekend that there was actually time to put together a manuscript between the fun. I wrote a Young Adult novel this year – HALF DEAD AND FULLY BROKEN. I’ve been editing it since July. The wrap party is on the 26th…all the writers regroup and award trophies for various different things–BIC AWARD for Bum in Chair, Most Prolific Writer, Spirit Award, Rookie of the Year Award and the Remy Award for most money raised. Most money raised, you ask? The marathon is a double-edged sword. It is a huge benefit to those writers brave enough to participate, but it’s also a marathon of hope. Each writer raises funs for the Muskoka Literacy Council…it’s writers helping readers. The marathon raises funds and awareness for the council—it helps them to spread the joy of literacy. Another prize awarded at the wrap party is the BEST NOVEL AWARD—awarded, actually, in different categories—Best Adult Novel, Best Young Adult Novel and Best Children’s Novel. The manuscripts are sent to 6 industry judges immediately following the marathon…and they read and judge them over the summer. The winning novels get sent to participating publishers for consideration. The benefits of this event are just neverending! I have my eye on the hands on favourite for Best YA this year—I’m not going to name names (she will not be mentioned here!), but I had the opportunity to read one of the manuscripts and I found it STELLAR. We will see what the Wrap Party brings us. I consider this wrap party the official end of summer, even though Huntsville is already quite in bloom with turned foilage by the time it rolls around.

Month EndMuseitup Publishing is preparing to launch! My Young Adult novel SUMMER ON FIRE will be published by Muse in July, 2011…but the publisher is launching in October. We’ve been talking excitedly about this launch behind the scenes. September is bound to thrive with chatter between publisher and cover artists and editors and writers. It’s a great family to be a part of! I’m really excited about the launch…and can feel the tsunami of its approach! September is THE month to be a Museitup member!

Not to mention! September is another month of busy planning for the 2011 ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE. This is an ongoing labour of love that factors into every month on the calendar. We want to organize the best conference every year. To do this, we must be dedicated to putting in a lot of volunteer hours. It’s worth it, though…so rewarding to see the happy faces of writers on the day of the conference!

And I’m certain there will be more excitement along the way. Like maybe a reading from author friend Karen Cole  somewhere in Uxbridge, maybe! Or maybe some poetry read by friend Barbara Hunt!  (-;

Categories
Driftwood Theatre Playwright Theatre Trafalgar 24

2010 Trafalgar24 Play Creation Festival

This past weekend I took part in the amazing Trafalgar24 Play Creation Festival put on yearly by Driftwood Theatre.

Trafalgar 24 is Driftwood Theatre’s 24-hour play-creation festival and fundraising gala featuring over 40 artists who write, produce, rehearse and perform ten new short plays in just 24 hours.

As a playwright, I showed up at Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario at 10pm on Thursday March 11th. I was given a room in which to create my 10 minute play and was told to use the words ‘twelfth’ and ‘night’ in the same sentence anywhere within the dialogue of the play. That was it. The room I was in was the setting for the play. And I had 8 hours to write it.

At the end of the eight hours, a flock of directors and actors converged on the castle, while all the playwrights got to go home to their beds (or their lives). So, 6:00am…changing of the guard! And then on the Friday evening, the audience arrived at the gates of the castle, eager to watch 10 brand spanking new plays!

This was my second year participating. It’s a fantastic event with a two-fold goal: to raise funds for Driftwood Theatre and to be an amazing night of entertainment in itself. As a guest to the plays, I can verify that it’s a fantastic night of entertainment! Each guest sees 6 of the 10 plays…they were all phenomenal! The actors who take part in this event are just incredible. Their talent, and ability to memorize lines in 8 quick hours, amazes me!

I created a play called MAID OF HONOUR…and it was performed by two incredible actresses: Melissa Morris & Caitlin Driscoll. They were flawless!

Don’t miss out in next year’s Trafalgar24 event. It really is something to see. And it’s for such a worthy cause.

Thanks to Jeremy Smith of Driftwood Theatre for allowing me to be a small part of this event again. It’s one of my favourite writing experiences to date!

DRIFTWOOD THEATRE WEBSITE

Ruth Walker and Kevin Craig
Trafalgar Castle, Whitby, Ontario
The Piano Room – Trafalgar Castle
The Piano Room – Trafalgar Castle
The Piano Room Entrance – Trafalgar Castle