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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 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