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

Perfect Timing – A 10-Minute Play – 2013 InspiraTO Festival

So, I have been given permission to share photos taken at the 2013 InspiraTO Festival at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto. After the InspiraTO wraps, I’ll post pics from a few shows. For today, it’s just going to be a few stills from my own play. PERFECT TIMING is my InspiraTO play that takes place inside the theatre, on the main stage.

inspiraTO theatre festival 2013 –
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Perfect Timing by Kevin Craig
Dramaturge / MC Thompson
Director / Kim Sprenger
Cast / Liam Doherty (Carl)
Cast / Jennifer Gillespie (Melissa)
photography by Ismail Atiev
to attend please visit:
INSPIRATO FESTIVAL

(BUT HURRY! It ends on Saturday June 8th, 2013!)

'My' actors! Jennifer Gillespie & Liam Doherty!
‘My’ actors! Jennifer Gillespie & Liam Doherty!

The actors for Perfect Timing were so much fun! I went to 2 rehearsals at Kim Sprenger’s place and watch as Jennifer, Liam and Kim brought the play to life in the comfort of Kim’s living room. All I had to do at rehearsals was sit back and laugh. The 3 formed a cohesive unit. They seemed to know exactly what they were going to do and when they were going to do it. I enjoyed watching as they each had their A-ha! moments that brought exquisite little details of business into the body of the play. Believe me when I say this, A PLAY IS A COLLABORATION CREATED BY ALL INVOLVED IN ITS MAKING. I wrote the script, the dramaturg made it shine, the director and actors added the business that made it sail. I am so pleased with what my collaborators created. The finished piece makes them all shine. (-:

jDlOmOF7bdmGNdnm3jNhsxXtHDTZxJBjIJWF-ayF_CgBoth of the actors had their own special attributes. Jennifer, shown above fanning herself, instinctively knew that physical comedy was called for with her character. And she rocked it.

rDCm4vNnuMagtfb1h6DMRXW5wDghWdBnWT3pNTdaxlYHere’s Jennifer Gillespie (Melissa), giving Liam Doherty (Carl) what for! Liam’s dry delivery was the perfect offset for Jennifer’s physical comedy. He nailed his lines. Watching the rehearsal’s in Kim’s living room, I’d be laughing as Jennifer flew across the ‘stage’ at Liam…and I’d barely catch my breath when Liam would drop a line with his signature drollness…and I’d lose it again. I could not have asked for better actors.

Thanks to Dominik Loncar & Lumir Hladik of the InspiraTO Festival—for providing me with such a great atmosphere of mentorship. And thanks to my dramaturg, MC Thompson for taking the time to ask ALL the right questions and make ALL the right suggestions. Thanks to Kim Sprenger for her vision as director of Perfect Timing. And many thanks to Jennifer Gillespie & Liam Doherty for more than bringing Melissa & Carl to life!

Oh Canada, our home and native land…

(I wrote a post for ALL THE WRITE NOTES today…feel free to swing by and check out the blog!)

Toronto Playwright Debut Approaches!

As May begins to wind down, I realize I am mere days away from my Toronto debut as a playwright. This makes me both anxious and excited. I was born in Toronto. In my head, it is still my city. Though I have been in the suburbs for far longer than I ever actually lived in the city, it seems you can take the boy out of the city but you cannot take the city out of the boy. I still identify as a Torontonian. Yet, with all my wild and crazy writing accomplishments in the past 10 years, none have been Toronto-centric. Until now!

I have 2 plays being produced in the upcoming 8th Annual InspiraTO Festival at the Alumnae Theatre. Well, actually only one is AT the theatre. On the mainstage, as part of the YELLOWSHOW in the festival. The second play is actually in a hair salon in the neighbourhood surrounding the theatre. How cool is that?! It’s reminiscent of my Trafalgar24 play experiences…where the plays take place in different rooms of a 19th century castle in Whitby, Ontario (yes, out here in the suburbs of Toronto!). There are 4 site-specific plays in this year’s InspiraTO Festival. They take place in; an alleyway, a lounge, a furniture store and a hair salon. Mine is called Walk-Ins Welcome. These plays are organized as the WHITESHOW. The audience gathers at the Alumnae Theatre box office and is escorted throughout the neighbourhood to the various plays. Sounds like a blast and I can’t wait to see this show!

My first InspiraTO play is titled PERFECT TIMING and it will take place at the theatre itself.

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I got into this festival as one of its MENTORSHIP recipients. This gave me access to seeing every step of the play creation experience. I’ve been to a workshop, I worked with a dramaturg and I’ve been to rehearsals. It’s been a wonderful experience. And I was lucky enough to squeak that second play (Walk-Ins Welcome) into the festival at the 11th hour when a call for the hair salon play went out to the playwrights involved.

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We’ll see how this goes. I’ve never seen my work on such big a stage. I’m as excited as I am nervous. The best part is that these plays take place in my hometown! Can’t wait.

THE FESTIVAL TAKES PLACE MAY 30th – JUNE 8th

FOR INFORMATION AND TICKETS CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE INSPIRATO WEBSITE!

Hope to see you there!

Don’t forget! Buy any of my 3 novels during the remainder of May, 2013 and all royalties are donated to Male Survivor’s Weekend of Recovery Scholarship Fund!

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.)

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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!

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