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Driftwood Theatre Muskoka Novel Marathon Playwright Theatre Trafalgar 24

Ideas as Opiates – The Panic Begins! #MNM2016 #Trafalgar24

This is the time of year when my head sort of kinda explodes. In a good(ish) way.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…” Wait! That’s not what I meant to write. Whenever I start a sentence with ‘Last night…’ I become possessed by Daphne du Maurier in the most peculiar way. I need to complete the sentence that is etched in my memory forever before I can continue on with what I was going to say. How’s that for a digression?!

Last night I went through the harrowing ordeal of registering for the Muskoka Novel Marathon again. It’s a treacherous time…believe me. The marathon takes place once a year (IN JULY) in Huntsville, Ontario. It is a 72hr novel writing marathon. Only 40 writers can attend. There are far more writers interested in attending than there are spaces for them to attend. So you have to be at your keyboard and at the ready come the stroke of 7pm on registration night.

I got in! I secured one of the coveted spots for myself. Then I discovered that all the spots were taken in 3 minutes. THREE MINUTES! That’s when I realized how lucky I was to have mad typing skillz. Gah!

Add to that registration pressure the fact that I will be locked inside a castle in Whitby, Ontario tomorrow, and ‘forced’ to write a 10-minute play overnight, and I’m about ready for cardiac arrest.

BUT. In a good way. I would not be happy if I was not in panic mode during these things. Confidence is the killer of creativity, is it not? Well…maybe not. But it sometimes feels like the anxiety and the fear are the driving force behind the engine that creates. FEAR—I’m getting locked into a castle and I have to write a play in 8 hours. A play that will be produced the following night—performed 6 times in front of a rotating audience of approximately 300 people. No biggie, right? It’s a thing. Confidence would surely threaten the process here, no? I need to go in thinking I can never pull this off…in order to pull it off.

ONE OF MY PAST TRAFALGAR 24 PLAYS

The Trafalgar 24 Play Creation Festival is one thing. I need to go in there blind, without an idea–that’s how the process works. You get a room in the castle, and pictures of your actors. But the timing of the Muskoka Novel Marathon registration is so impeccable. Because today it’s not the play I’ll write tomorrow that I’m most hyperventilating about. Nah…that’s tomorrow’s nightmare. TODAY—I sit here registered and committed to the 72 hour novel writing madness heading my way without the first clue as to what I am going to write. Today is the day I need to begin the idea process that will have me jumping off the cliff into a brave new fictional world come July at the onset of the marathon’s starting bell.

From this point forward, I will be using ideas as opiates. I will smoke them, inhale them, inject them. I will run through a myriad of scenarios, settings, characters, synopses, and genres. I will try to fit puzzle pieces together without seeing the picture. I will reject ideas, rehash ideas, kick ideas to the curb, and embrace them. It will be a constant whirlwind of ideas. Which one will stick? Who knows. Will I pick the right one? Reject the wrong one? Who knows. It really is hit and miss. I have 72 hours to write an entire novel. It is mandatory that I find an idea appropriate enough to see me through those hours. One that doesn’t fizzle after a few hours. One that builds upon itself one idea after another, one sentence after another, one paragraph after another, one chapter after another…until it sees itself through. I need an idea pregnant with possibility.

Sure…I got my coveted spot at the Marathon. But as extremely difficult as it is to secure that spot–as barbarically stressful as it is–it’s nothing compared to the realization that you’ve made it. THAT YOU NEED TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING TO WRITE!!

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Ideas as opiates. When my writing life is so rife with STUFF, I realize how extremely blessed I am to have this passion. I couldn’t sleep Tuesday night…thinking of the prospects of NOT making the registration cut. Because I WANT IT. I want these stressful situations that are do or die and depend on WORDS. Harnessing words is a beautiful thing. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

This is the time of year when my head sort of kinda explodes. In a good(ish) way.

 

 

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Driftwood Theatre On Writing Playwright Theatre Trafalgar 24

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!

Categories
On Writing Playwright The Summing Up Theatre W Somerset Maugham Writing Life

No NaNo – Pondering Stage Dialogue…

quote-thank-god-i-can-look-at-a-sunset-now-without-having-to-think-how-to-describe-it-w-somerset-maugham-72-48-98

So NaNoWriMo was a complete wash-out. As in, I have not written a single word this month. Unless, of course, you count the 75,000 words of outrage I have shared with the universe via social media.

I have, however, been contemplating plays. There are things brewing…and I’m hoping to tap into them soon. I love plays. They’re like novels without the work. Dialogue is the candy of the novel, which explains my love of the play. There’s none of that pesky prose getting in the way…the space between the talking is non-existent. It’s rather blissful. It was W. Somerset Maugham who said,  “Thank God, I can look at a sunset now without having to think how to describe it,” when he moved from the laborious novel to the stage. I so totally agree!

I’m okay with dying during NaNo. Something is coming down the ‘pike. I’m going to be ready for it. Because, for me, the play’s the thing…

Stage_Layout_Plan
I am ready to fill this space in with story…

While you’re waiting for my next novel to release, or my next play, you can check out the novel that was my favourite to write (god…it’s so hard to say that with a degree of firmness…they’re all a thrill to write!) THE REASONS is available at KOBO only. You can grab it by clicking on the book cover below and heading on over to Kobo:

The+Reasons
The Reasons – Winner of the 2008 Muskoka Novel Marathon’s BEST NOVEL AWARD.

Here’s the book trailer for The Reasons. Nahko of Nahko & Medicine for the People was kind enough to allow me to use one of my favourite MFTP songs (GHOSTS EMBODIED) in this trailer:

Discover Medicine for the People too. If you haven’t yet, you have no idea the beauty you’re missing out on!

Or perhaps you just want to stay here on my site and read one of my 10-minute plays. My favourite is THE HISTORY OF US. The one that received the most traction is THE SPEECH, a comedy.

Enjoy.

Me? I’m just gonna sit here and await the next inspiration. My soon to be characters are chattering in the background. (-:

 

Categories
Driftwood Theatre Playwright Theatre Trafalgar 24 Writing Life

Leaving Driftwood Manor – A 10-Minute Trafalgar 24 Play…

This is the 10-Minute Play I wrote for the 2015 Trafalgar 24 Play Creation Festival – a fundraiser put on by DRIFTWOOD THEATRE.

Leaving Driftwood Manor was written on Thursday March 6th – and performed 6 times in front of a rotating audience of approximately 300 people on Friday March 7th. It was performed at Trafalgar Castle, in Whitby, Ontario.

This play is copyright protected. It can be used royalty free, with prior written permission. please contact me at kevintcraig @ hotmail.com

TITLE: LEAVING DRIFTWOOD MANOR

©2015

Trafalgar-24-header-2015-wide-fb-759x280

TITLE: Leaving Driftwood Manor

SYNOPSIS: Emmett knows he would be happier if he could just leave his home behind him.

CHARACTERS:

EMMETT ROBERTSON (Written for Shane Patrick McClurg for Driftwood Theatre’s Trafalgar24)
CARTER ROBERTSON (Written for Andy Pogson for Driftwood Theatre’s Trafalgar24)

DESCRIPTION: Emmett Robertson is finished with his home life. He’s ready to leave it all behind. If only he could.

SETTING – COMMON ROOM in a mansion

EMMETT [Standing at fireplace. Frustrated]: Father, father, father. Why? After all these years, you still lurk? [Waits a couple beats] I know you’re there. Leave me alone. Once and for all.

CARTER [Comes out from behind the wall]: That seems harsh, Em. How could you say something so—

EMMETT: It’s Emmett. I’ve told you. Numerous times. Not Em.

CARTER: Why are you so intolerant of me, Emmett? Haven’t I always had your best interests at heart? Don’t I cater to your every whim?

EMMETT: I can’t do this anymore. I want to leave this place. I need out of Driftwood Manor. I feel trapped. Smothered.

CARTER: I know, I know. No longer the little boy who ran these halls terrorizing the staff. No longer the boy who went hysterical with joy at the sound of my voice. I know, Em. [Stops himself] Emmett. You don’t need me anymore. I read you loud and—

EMMETT: That’s not true. I’ll always need you. But I need to have my life. I need to leave this old house and all the memories trapped inside it. I feel like the house itself is eating me alive.

CARTER: You always loved Driftwood. You wanted everything that went with it. You used to practice saying your name like an aristocrat because of this house. Emmett Forbes Robertson the third. Never mind there was never a first or a second. Or that Forbes is something you picked up out of thin air because you thought it had a nice ring to it. You were the Lord of the manor.

EMMETT: That was before I realized there could be life beyond these walls. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” You used to quote that all the time, didn’t you? Well, I’m ready. To give up my childish ways.

CARTER: Am I one of those childish ways? Because, for me, there is no life beyond these walls. My God, Em. Why now?

EMMETT: It’s been ten years.

CARTER: No. That’s not possible. It couldn’t be.

EMMETT: You abandoned our family that day. Just like that. You can try to be the superhero father figure all you want. It will never change the outcome. You checked out. One day there, the next day gone.

CARTER: Emmett, please. I never once left your side. Haven’t I always been here for you? Haven’t I spoiled you your entire life?

EMMETT: It’s not the same. And you know it. You can’t leave this house. It wears you like… like you wear it. You’re one. And you’re trapping me here with you.

CARTER: Leave, then. If that’s what you need to do. Who am I to stop you?

EMMETT [Shakes his head. Discouraged]: You just don’t get it. You ruined my mother. Destroyed her life. All the good you do in the world will never change that fact. She’s destroyed. I want to get her out of here. I will find a way to get her to leave here.

CARTER: Em, you can’t. You must make her stay. We must convince her it’s the only way we can still be togeth—

EMMETT: No. Dad. It’s my decision. If you were really around—around all the time—you would know she’s incapable of making decisions. She’s practically incapable of getting out of bed in the morning.

CARTER: If she would just see me, it would be different.

EMMETT: She’s never going to see you. Don’t you get it? She’s done.

CARTER: What if I was the one to leave? Would that convince her to stay? Convince you it would be okay for her to stay?

EMMETT: We both know that won’t happen. That can’t happen.

CARTER: This house has been in our family for five generations. Driftwood Manor is part of who we are.

EMMETT: That’s the problem. It possesses us. But there’s life outside these walls. And, unlike you, I want to find it.

CARTER: I didn’t mean to, Emmett. I swear to God and all things holy and hellish. I did not mean for it to happen. If I could turn back time, I would. Oh God, Em. There are so many things I would do differently. Please believe me.

EMMETT: Dad, please. I don’t want to blame you. I know it wasn’t your fault. You can’t be held responsible for the outcome. But it’s still there. It’s as final now as it was then. I need to get her out.

CARTER: Please. Your mother loves this house.

EMMETT: My mother has been virtually catatonic for ten years. Ten years. You don’t know anything about her. You only have to listen, to hear her crying. She never stops.

CARTER: I know I love her. And I know that when we took over this house from your grandfather, we had the world in our grasp. Your mother was the happiest soul on earth. We had so many plans.

EMMETT: And every single one of those plans came to nothing. This house hasn’t changed a bit since you got your hands on it. Strike that. It’s fallen into ruin. It went from being the most beautiful home in the city, to being something Miss Havisham wouldn’t be caught dead in.

CARTER: Don’t say that. It’s still as beautiful as it was the day—

EMMETT: And speaking of Miss Havisham, that’s exactly who Mom has become. Only, her knight in shining armour actually married her. He gave her a son. He showed her happiness before he ripped it all away.

CARTER: Please, Em. You’re tearing my heart out. I can’t bear to hear these things.

EMMETT: You need to hear these things. You need to listen to her wails as they fill up the night. You gave her everything she could ever dream of and then you systematically tore it all away from her. There is nothing left of my mother.

CARTER: If I could take it all—

EMMETT: Back, you would. I know. I know. I know. But you can’t.

CARTER: If you get her out of this house, I won’t see her anymore. Is that what you want? If you get out… I won’t see you.

EMMETT: Maybe I shouldn’t see you anymore, father. Maybe neither of us should. Maybe it would be healthier for us if we didn’t.

CARTER: I couldn’t bear it.

EMMETT: It’s always about you, though, isn’t it? You can’t bear it. Maybe there are other people in the world who can’t bear things, father. Maybe my mother can’t bear it.

CARTER: I’m sorry, Em. I’m so sorry.

EMMETT: I want to get her out. I want to get myself out of here. Before I become—

CARTER: Me. I know. I know. Before you become me.

EMMETT: Yes. That much, you understand. I’d do it to save her. And to save myself. If I only knew how. Why?!

CARTER: With no regard for me, you would do it.

EMMETT: Don’t talk to me about regard. Don’t. Even. Attempt it.

CARTER: I would have done anything to prevent it. Anything.

EMMETT: And yet, you did nothing.

CARTER: You were so young.

EMMETT: I was.

CARTER: You still are. You talk as though you’re old now.

EMMETT: This house takes the best of what we are and it swallows it whole. I can’t let it take Mom down any further. I want her to have a chance before it’s too late. She’s going to wither away and die in this house.

CARTER [Looking off into space, ignoring Emmett]: If you can’t make your own beautiful son a paperweight and have him ground you to the earth like a string on a balloon, what else is there? I was desperate to be rescued. And you were so precious, Em. So precious. I thought having you in my life would somehow rescue me.

EMMETT: Dad, stop. I can’t hear anymore.

CARTER: You can’t want to take her away from me.

EMMETT: I never like telling you this next part. Because I love you so much. But you always forget it. You never want to hear it.

CARTER: I don’t know what you mean.

EMMETT: Yes you do. You put it out of your mind intentionally to stop the pain.

CARTER: I never meant for it to happen. If I could take it back, I would.

EMMETT: You took me with you, Daddy.

CARTER: No. Stop talking, Em. Please. Stop talking. I can’t bear to hear it.

EMMETT: I can’t bear it, either, Father.

CARTER: I don’t want to know.

EMMETT: But you have to. I don’t have a chance in hell of getting out of this house, and you know it. And neither do I have a hope in getting her to leave. As much as I’m desperate to get her out.

CARTER: The house will rescue us.

EMMETT: No, dammit. It didn’t rescue us then, and it sure as hell can’t rescue us now.

CARTER: Then you will let her stay?

EMMETT: Did you not just hear what I said? I can’t save her. And yet, can you hear her crying? She has no one. No one, Father!

CARTER: I can’t bear it.

EMMETT: In all the world. No one.

CARTER: She loved having all this. Us. Driftwood Manor. Her life. Her family.

EMMETT: And now she’s stuck with it. With only a house. With nobody to help her out of it. Trapped.

CARTER: No. I won’t hear it.

EMMETT: You know the truth, Dad. You lurk around corners waiting for me to talk to you. But you never hear what I have to tell you.

CARTER: We can all be happy again. We can save your mother together.

EMMETT: She is beyond being saved, Dad. You took away the only thing that mattered to her. The day you killed us, you sealed her fate.

CARTER: No, Em. No. I can’t bear it. No. It can’t be true. No.

EMMETT: And ours. [Exits.]

END PLAY

If you choose to use this play, please email me to let me know where you are in the world. (-:

If you’re in Ontario, don’t forget to check out Driftwood Theatre this summer in a park near you! They bring HAMLET to Ontario parks this year! Look for the Bard’s Bus! Click the image below to learn all the details!

Bard's Bus Tour does HAMLET!
Bard’s Bus Tour does HAMLET!
Categories
Driftwood Driftwood Theatre Kevin Craig Ontario Play Play Festivals Playwright Playwriting Playwriting Festivals Theatre Trafalgar 24 Trafalgar Castle Trafalgar24 Whitby

Trafalgar 24 – Playwriting Most Frenetic (With Driftwood Theatre!)

Driftwood Theatre is…ahem…drifting into Whitby, Ontario once again! And guess what?!

I GET TO PLAY!

The play’s the thing. And with Trafalgar 24, that statement is never more real. Because with Trafalgar 24…6 plays are the thing.

Trafalgar-24-header-2015-wide-fb-759x280

I look forward to this weekend all year long. And I hope and I pray and I pray and I hope that I will have the opportunity to be a part of this most amazing of events.

The extraordinary Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario. Currently an all-girls boarding school...
The extraordinary Trafalgar Castle in Whitby, Ontario. Currently an all-girls boarding school…

Deets:

24 ARTISTS. 24 HOURS. 6 NEW PLAYS.

From the Driftwood Theatre Website:

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.

This is THE must see GTA event of the year. Trust me. You do NOT want to miss it.

6th Time’s The Charm (All Six Times Are the Charm!)

There is a theme to this particular Trafalgar 24 and my involvement in it. It takes place MARCH 6th, there are 6 playwrights and this will be my 6th kick at the Trafalgar24 can! 666 –  I can’t even put into words how honoured I am to be chosen as playwright this many times. I live for this event. Let’s see if I can recall all the rooms I have written in thus far…

  • 2009 – The creepy cold dark hallway in the castle basement where the screeching pipes and spiders kept me company. I wrote a comedy about 2 bumbling women lost in the castle and out of their minds with fear and worry. It bordered on slapstick. I had fun. The play was titled PANIC IN THE BASEMENT
  • 2010 – There are two rooms in the front hallway of the main floor with pianos in them. One has two pianos and one has one piano. The lovely and infallible Lucy Brennan was in the room with one piano. She had ONE actor and wrote a stunning soliloquy based on the true history of Trafalgar Castle that the actor pulled off flawlessly. I was in the room down the hall with two pianos. For the life of me, I cannot remember which of these rooms is called the Piano Room, but I think it was mine? I remember there being some confusion at the time too. I wrote a comedy about an overbearing insane maniacal megalomaniac. The play was titled MAID OF HONOUR
  • 2011 – I got a room with an actual stage this time around. What fun I had with this one! It was in the Assembly Hall/Cafeteria…the main room where the wine and cheese and auction and announcements for Trafalgar24 takes place. I wrote a comedy about a woman terrified of public speaking and the man who tries to coach her at becoming a better speaker. The play was titled THE SPEECH
  • 2012 – The Lab! I got people to come up to the lab, to see what was on the slab…as it were. The play was in the hallway leading to the in-house cathedral in the castle. Don’t look at me like that! Every castle needs a cathedral, buddy. The laboratory is a science room for the all-girls school, when it’s in session. Despite the myriad of props in the room, I went with character driven plot. I wrote a comedy about a woman on the precipice of new age wisdom and insanity, and her pessimistic Doubting-Thomas friend. The play was titled ACRONYMS FOR HAPPINESS
  • 2014 – I returned to the castle in March of 2014 to attempt my first dramatic play. And I had the LIBRARY! I always wanted the library. (-: I had Christopher Kelk, too. A legend. An exquisite actor, I feared pulling his name as much as I envied the playwrights who had. I couldn’t imagine being tasked with putting words into Christopher Kelk’s mouth. I felt like I had made it to the show! Not to mention the amazing and equally intimidating Adriano Sobretodo Jr., who was to play alongside Kelk. I knew I had to try my hand at drama. I wrote a play about dementia, and how if effects its sufferers and those who love them. The play was titled THE HISTORY OF US.
The grand entrance hall leading to the staircase to the 2nd story of the castle...
The grand entrance hall leading to the staircase to the 2nd story of the castle…

There you have it. The history of my time at the castle thus far. I have no idea what will happen this year. Zero. Nada. Zip. I go in on a hope and a prayer. Once the 6 playwrights report to Driftwood Theatre’s Artistic Director, D. Jeremy Smith, we will be given the room in which our plays are to be written and performed, as well as head-shots of our assigned actors. That’s it. Then the locking up will ensue. We will be sent to our rooms and we will each have 8 hours to write and polish our respective plays. Anything can happen! In a castle that is as haunted as it is creepy and beautiful…usually anything does happen. But we don’t speak of the things that occur on the Thursday nights in Trafalgar Castle. That’s playwright confidentiality. Just picture us as the elves to the actor/director combos who will enter the castle on the Friday morning as the shoemakers. They will take our words and make them into life.

Standing guard in the main foyer of Trafalgar Castle, Whitby, Ontario...
Standing guard in the main foyer of Trafalgar Castle, Whitby, Ontario…

That’s where you come in. But you must act fast! This event, naturally, sells out every year. It’s magic to witness. And a shame to miss. So pick up your tickets today! ONLINE TICKET PURCHASING – GO TO TRAFALGAR SITE LINKED HERE AND CLICK ON THE BUY TICKETS BUTTON.

If you are attending the WCDR (Writers Community of Durham Region) February Roundtable Meeting at the Ajax Convention Centre, please know that my fellow Trafalgar 24 playwright RUTH E. WALKER will be there and have tickets available for purchase.

Trafalgar 24 Play Creation Festival is a fundraising event for Driftwood Theatre. Driftwood brings theatre to parks all summer long with their BARD’S BUS tour…an Ontario staple. From Driftwood’s site:

As Driftwood Theatre’s signature gala event of the season, TRAFALGAR 24 raises over $20,000 annually in support of bringing the magic of accessible, live theatre home to audiences across Ontario.

March 6, 2015 | Trafalgar Castle | 401 Richmond Street, Whitby, Ontario.

Categories
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

Categories
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.

Categories
Festival of Authors InspiraTO Festival Kevin Craig Ontario Writers' Conference Playwright The Reasons Theatre Writing Life

The Progression of a Play, a Conference and a Novel

I know my 3rd novel just released under a week ago! I know I should be promoting it like crazy. I feel guilty for not doing more. But I have my reasons.

Yesterday was the last day for registrations for the 2013 Ontario Writers’ Conference. I’m the registrations coordinator. I spent most of my ‘free’ time copy/pasting info to create attendance sheets for all the workshops, master classes, etc. AND last night I attended the first rehearsal for my 2013 InspiraTO Festival play, PERFECT TIMING. The play is being directed by Kim Sprenger. I won’t announce the actors yet, as I’m not sure that’s appropriate.

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I venerate actors so much it’s ridiculous. I can’t help it. Having said that, I don’t think I venerate actors enough. After a short greeting at the rehearsal last night, the two actors for my play began a run-through of the lines and it was brilliant. I am always amazed by the way actors can immediately interpret a role. They were both just SO perfect. The female character is extremely off-the-wall and out there. If you’ve seen any of my previous 5 plays, this won’t come as much of a surprise to you. (-: But last night, watching the ‘sedate’ male character come to life on the stage…I realized just how much talent is involved in bringing every nuance of a character to the role. My droll little character got a serious injection of hilarious in the more than capable hands of _____________. (Really…once I know it’s okay, I will definitely let you know who the performers are.)

As the night progressed, each actor added little bits of stage business that infused the play with life. And the director seemed to know each infinitesimal moment that something could be tweaked just right. She’d say, “maybe you could just…” and sure enough, it would be the PERFECT addition.

I honestly don’t know how they do it.

I felt like an idiot just sitting there and laughing. I arrived with the notion that the writer is the bottom of the totem, that I should be seen but not heard. Apart from the laughter, I think I did a pretty good job. I was observer. And I was in awe of all three of those present. I could tell that PERFECT TIMING was in perfect hands. These 3 are going to knock it OUT OF THE PARK! Brilliant people!

Enough of plays! I feel a plug for my novel is now in order. Speaking of brilliant, I was blessed to have an exceptional editor for my 3rd novel, THE REASONS. Helen Hardt was a complete blessing during the editorial process. Like Kim Sprenger knew just how to tweak my play, Helen Hardt knew just how to tweak my novel. I suppose that’s what an editor is, really…the director of the book. Anyway, I am extremely pleased about THE REASONS. It’s been getting some excellent feedback this week. The 5-stars are appearing! It’s such a quirky book, I was afraid what would happen to it once it saw the light of day. It’s dual narrated, and one of the narrators just happens to be certifiably insane. I took chances with this one. I’m beginning to hear that they have paid off!

If you click on the book cover below, you will be taken to my AMAZON page, where all three of my books will be listed. If you purchase The Reasons, you will be saving me from my guilt! I should be promoting this more…my publisher, MUSA PUBLISHING, is fantastic. They deserve my full attention and I certainly wish I could give it to them. (You can also purchase the book directly from the publisher…at this time it seems to be the first book listed on their home page, in the FEATURED BOOKS section.)

17661733

So with registrations closed for the 5th ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE, we are on the home stretch. The conference is, at the time of this writing, eight days away! Friday night’s FESTIVAL OF AUTHORS will be a splashy gala with wonderful authors reading and entertaining. The amazing TED BARRIS will be interviewing the readers this year. Festival attendants are in for a great surprise. Ted’s a fascinating interviewer…highly respected! If you’re not registered for Saturday‘s conference, you CANNOT come. Sorry. You missed the deadline. The good news is, tickets are available at the door for the Festival of Authors! ($20 each)

festival-banner

I think it’s okay to mention here that this will be my last year on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Writers’ Conference. Having served on the board since its inception, the conference is–and will always be–a passion of mine. I just felt it was time to move on for now. A great board is one that changes. I will definitely be attending the conference next year…as a registrant. I’m looking forward to it…seeing the conference from the other side. (-: Speaking of board changes, I have put my hat in the ring to serve–once again–on the Board of Directors for the WRITERS COMMUNITY OF DURHAM REGION. This community is another passion of mine. With any luck, I will get a board position. It’s time for change–for me. I felt the perfect transition from serving on the OWC board would be to serve on the WCDR board. Wish me luck!

This concludes my regularly scheduled convoluted post about all the things going on in my writing life!

Categories
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.

 

Categories
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