The Playwright

This was posted in the comments on the last entry:
Since your mandate is to help playwrights develop new markets, is the playwright involved in the rehearsal process at all? Can you go to him/her as a resourse? Would you want to?
So I figured this is as good a time as any to talk about Adam Burgess, who wrote this show. One of our actors knows him from Edmonton but he and I have never met (Adam lives in Montreal). We have talked over the phone and have exchanged many emails. This is an unusual situation in that Adam is in Europe and will miss the run. He had already booked his trip when I approached him about getting the rights to the play.

However in this case he is a definite resource. In rehearsal today a couple of questions came up about punctuation and an odd word that I've written him about. He and I wrote back and forth making changes to the text before he left. It's really the best of both worlds in that he's available for us to ask questions for clarification, yet I don't have to worry about him in the rehearsal hall. The script has been produced before so he doesn't need to be there. It's a first for him and he told me he likes it.

Generally after the first production the playwright is not there in rehearsal. And since our whole thing is to help get the scripts the second, third and fourth productions, there isn't the interaction that you would find with a new piece. But both Adam and Anton Piatigorsky (and no, we're not related), who wrote The Kabbalistic Psychoanalysis of Adam R Tzaddik that I did in the Adelaide Fringe, have been really open to answering my questions and going along with my ideas.

I never wanted one big umbrella to be a development company. I know a lot of people who are much better at that kind of thing than I am. But we did want to do a show in SummerWorks, which is a development festival. That's why this show is a co-production with actwright theatre. Adam has never been produced in Toronto, so it fits obu's mandate, and he's studying acting at the National Theatre School, which is a fit with actwright.

This really is obu's baby though and it's been interesting doing the development thing. It's helped that Adam had written this a few years ago and moved on so he's not really attached to it the way you are to a newborn. We've had some debates but things never got heated and I'm really happy with what we've got now.

Well, except for some very odd punctuation. But that's another post.