Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Speed of Ideas - Part 2

Saturday, July 23. I locked up the bike at the Court House Theatre and chatted with friends who had ventured to town to see Mr. Kushner including Andrea Scott (Who Knew Granny?); Robert Chafe (Tempting Providence); Aaron Willis and Julie Tepperman (Yichud); Barbara FIngerote (uber Toronto theatre fan) and Keira Loughren (New Play Development Coordinator, Stratford Festival).

Kushner was as intelligent, witty and passionate as one would expect and then some. On top of that he made his book signing a personal experience for everyone in line. Firstly, he didn’t sit at the table provided. There was no barrier between him and each person with whom he spoke. When he looked me right in my eye and told me it was nice to meet me, I believed him. I told him that what I loved about Angels in America was that he invited so many different people to be in it. He knew that what I meant was that he could have written exclusively from the Gay, Jewish, New York perspectives and that would have been fine but he included so much more. He asked me about my career and we talked about Jamaica. He said he would remember my name. It will be my goal to make sure that he doesn’t have to remember it; that it’ll just keep popping up because of my renewed zeal for writing, acting and promoting myself. He caught me so off guard that I didn’t get the chance to tell him that I was staying with the producer of the upcoming Toronto production of Caroline, or Change. Nor did I get to compliment him on his beautiful fountain pen. Philip, who appreciates and collects such things was very disappointed that I could tell him if it was a Waterman or Montblanc. Hey, I was meeting Tony Kushner. I’m lucky I didn’t pass out or say something stupid.

Lunch with Barbara FIngerote and her friend, Larry. Then ice cream and on to the Studio Theatre where Michael Healey talked about adapting On the Rocks (“I make sure to leave out the apostrophes just like Shaw did”) and John Murrell talked about his ongoing adaptation of Geneva (“I put in the apostrophes.”). Joanna Falck did a great job of keeping them on topic and fielding questions from the audience.

Later, Jackie Maxwell moderated the Reviving the Female Voice panel with Linda Griffiths, Ann-Marie MacDonald and Alisa Palmer. I was Chair of the Women’s Caucus of Playwrights Guild of Canada from 2006 – 10 so I was just the choir being preached to. But, I do give high praise to Jackie for uncovering so many lost or forgotten plays by women from Shaw’s time and commissioning current female playwrights to adapt older work such as Morwyn Brebner and the Lunch time hit The President (Molnar); Kevin Hanchard’s other play.

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