Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Umbrella Talk with Alistair Beaton


This is a first for our blog, a UK playwright! We've decided to open up the series to writers from the UK and the US, so feel free to contact us.

Alistair Beaton is the translator for the current Canadian Stage production of The Arsonists, playing at the Bluma Appel Theatre at the St Lawrence Centre for the Arts to rave reviews. Canadians don't know that he is one of the UK's top satirists and we're deeply honoured to have him on our blog.


A Little More About Alistair Beaton

Alistair Beaton is a political satirist whose work spans theatre, television, radio and publishing. Select theatre credits include Caledonia (Edinburgh International Festival 2010); King of Hearts (Hampstead Theatre 2007); and Feelgood (winner the Evening Standard Best Comedy Award in 2001). Beaton is fluent in German, Russian, French and English. He translated and adapted The Government Inspector from Russian for the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2005, which was remounted at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco in 2008. He has also written new English versions of Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and Jacques Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne. In 2007 Beaton translated Max Frisch’s The Arsonists, which premiered at London’s Royal Court Theatre. Beaton’s work for television has earned him honours such as a Broadcasting Press Guild Awards for Best Single Drama and nomination for a BAFTA in 2007. Additionally, Beaton has done work for radio and is a best-selling author.



What do you drink on opening night?
A glass of white wine while hiding during the interval - the interval being the most excruciating moment for the playwright. On occasion I have considered swapping the white wine for hemlock.

Who would direct the coolest production of one of your plays?
Morris Panych, of course. Should he be unavailable, I would have to fall back on Barack Obama, who must be longing for a change of job.

What scares you? What can't you write about?
Hmmm, how much time do you have? I find it hard creating positive characters, much prefer monsters of one kind or another, or at the very least, gravely flawed characters. I also find love hard to write about. God knows what that says about me.

What do you want to write about that you haven't yet?
The fucking bankers.

If someone was to write a play about your life, what genre would it be? (eg. comedy, tragedy, melodrama, horror)
Comedy tinged with horror.

How do you deal with praise? With criticism?
Praise? Can't get enough of the stuff. As for criticism, it's fine if a) it comes from soemone who knows what they're talking about and b) if it comes in time for me to do some fixing of the script.

Where would you like your work to be produced?
Well, just about everywhere. (I feel the person who framed these questions doesn't quite grasp the enormous size of the authorial ego).

Where do you write? Pen or keyboard?
Keyboard, except when writing lyrics, when I like to scrawl over multiple sheets of paper, covering the floor with first drafts.

What would you like academics to write about your work in 50 years?
Torn between saying 'anything at all would be fine' and 'God almighty, please let me not be written about by academics, what a fate.'

What inspires you?
I'm assuming I'm allowed at least one pompous answer, so here it is: the outrage I feel when I witness injustice and abuse of power.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Umbrella Talk with Chris Craddock



So here we are, the return of your favourite playwright interviews, Umbrella Talk! A reminder of the criteria: you must have had 2 plays professionally produced. By that we mean the pieces have moved outside of workshop/school and has appeared in front of a paying audience.We don't care where that audience was. We welcome playwrights from all over the world to answer our 10 questions.

I am delighted to kick things off with Chris Craddock. I first became aware of his work when I fell in love with Boy Groove. (The link is to an awesome mock music video for the band.in the play.) He also has an awesome twitter feed, @craddo.


A Little More About Chris Craddock

Chris is an Edmonton based Actor/Producer/Writer. His theatre work in Canada has been recognized with four Sterling Awards and two Dora Mavor Moore Awards, and his film Turnbuckle was nominated for two Ampia Awards.  He is the proud recipient of the Embridge Emerging Artist award, the Centennial Medal for his contribution to the Arts in Alberta, and the Alberta Book Award for his collection of plays for teens Naked at School. His musical BASH’d (co-written and performed with Nathan Cuckow) received a 2007 GLAAD media award.

Chris graduated from the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting Program in the spring of 1996 and since then he has worked on stages all across Canada.

Chris has created compelling and engaging works for a wide cross-section of audiences. His plays include: PornStar; 321…, Poptart; The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavenaugh, Indulgences; Faithless; DreamLife; SuperEd; The "Tranny" Trilogy; Wrecked; Do it Right; Making Out; Men are Stupid Women are Crazy; Ha;The Day Billy Lived (which was adapted to life on the Native Reserve in co-operation with Debajehmuhjig Theatre of Mantoulin Island); Moving Along (which was featured on Bravo’s Singular Series May, 2005); the fringe hit BoyGroove;  and an adaptation of the novel Summer of my Amazing Luck by Miriam Toews.

His plays have been included at the High Performance Rodeo, The Magnetic North Festival, Vancouver Comedy Festival, Edmonton Comedy Festival, SaskNative Theatre, International Fringe festivals in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Saskatoon, NYC, and Orlando.

Chris has recently returned from New York City, where he was performing Off-Broadway with his award winning musical BASH’d! He is the screenwriter for the feature film, “The Pharmacist/La Pharmacien”.  Chris was the 2010 Writer in Residence at the Edmonton Public Library.



What do you drink on opening night?
Beer. Maybe a crown and coke if I'm tired.

Who would direct the coolest production of one of your plays?
Robert Lepage is quite good, as I understand it. If he's not available, call Bradley Moss or Ron Jenkins.

What scares you? What can't you write about?
Lately I become scared that I could be a sincere target for rabid conservatives. Some subjects I think twice about on this level.

What do you want to write about that you haven't yet?
My son.

If someone was to write a play about your life, what genre would it be? (eg. comedy, tragedy, melodrama, horror)
90's drug comedy.

How do you deal with praise? With criticism?
Praise is easier, though can become sugary over time. Handling the reception of criticism has everything to do with how that criticism is delivered and from whom. I range from "totally cool" to "dick".

Where would you like your work to be produced?
Germany and Austria. those guys are crazy.

Where do you write? Pen or keyboard?
I've always been a computer guy. My first play was written on a Colecovision Adam. I like the functionality of being able to move text at will and so forth. Rap I have to scribble out for whatever reason.

What would you like academics to write about your work in 50 years?
I'd be honoured to be remembered at all. I don't know. I hope these probably never to exist academics say I kicked the ball of theatre forward into the new consciousness a little, was artistic and accessible, funny and honest.

What inspires you?
Anger. Wonder. My son.

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