Courting, the little play that could

So I was googling myself the other day…(I admit I do this more than I should, but this time, I had a reason! I wanted to see if this blog would show up; alas, it does, so you’ll be getting a slightly more politic version of my life, but it’s not that different, really.) Among the things I stumbled upon was this review of Brave New Play Rites, with a specific mention of my play, Courting. For those who might be interested:

University of Toronto Quarterly, Volume 77, Number 1, Winter 2008

Letters in Canada 2006: Drama, by Nancy Copeland

Pg. 94

The second anthology, Brave New Play Rites, edited by Bryan Wade,

collects twenty-five short plays to celebrate the twenty-year history of

the annual festival of work written by students of UBC’s Creative

Writing Program. The selected playwrights range from novices to

authors who have gone on to establish themselves as writers, among

them Aaron Bushkowsky, Kevin Chong, and Corrina Hodgson.

The anthology not only samples the history of the festival, it is a

compendium of experiments with the twenty-minute play. The monologues,

of which there are four, are predictably the most successful:

a great deal can be revealed about a character within this format.

However, writing effective multi-character comedies and dramas

within the constraints of the form is more challenging: the situations

can seem contrived and the plotting forced, and as Wade notes in his

introduction, drama is ‘more problematic’ than comedy within ‘a twenty

minute timeframe.’ Yet two plays set in restaurants show the potential for

both comedy and drama within this format. Dan Hershfield’s Courting

(2004) amusingly conflates dating and legal proceedings as a pair of

waiters and a chef take on the roles of lawyers and judge to adjudicate

the relationship between a couple on a dinner date. In Tim Kennaley’s

Reunion (2002), on the other hand, a disturbing sense of uncertainty

and menace develops as an apparent stranger is gradually coerced

into accepting the identity foisted upon him by two friends. Again it

is predictable that plays like these, which are unified in time as well

as place, are more likely to succeed, but Hodgson’s Recess (2002),

which shows the relationships that develop among three troubled

students at a private girls’ school in twelve brief, economical scenes

set over the course of the academic year, demonstrates how rich the form

can be in the hands of a skilful playwright.

Alas, I think the best sentence for publicity purposes isn’t in readily quotable form, but still, always nice to be singled out from an anthology.

Also, a production coming up in Sudbury, at Playfest, running January 22nd to 25th. Go for the big nickel, stay for Courting!

Hopefully, I’ll write something else that’s good at some point, because as of now, in terms of accomplishments, Courting is kicking the crap out of everything else I’ve written. (They teach it in colleges, they do!) That said, I’m pretty proud of it, so Godspeed, little play!

Thanks for indulging my pride, everyone!

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