Umbrella Talk with playwright David Copelin

Welcome to this week's Umbrella Talk with playwright David Copelin. David chats to us about being inspired by good wine, food and Stephen Lewis; fantasizing about revenge on stupid reviewers; and writing about Israel/Palestine in the future.

A little bit about David Copelin

David Copelin is a playwright, dramaturg and translator who works extensively in the professional theatres of both Canada and the United States. He is a graduate of Columbia University and the Yale School of Drama. As a dramaturg, David has worked at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His play Bella Donna (Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2006) won the New Play Award at the 2005 Toronto Fringe Festival and was subsequently staged at the RCA Theatre in St. John’s and at Toronto’s Berkeley Street Theatre. David’s translation of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi has been produced at the Shaw Festival and Yale Repertory Theatre. As the Ontario Arts Council’s Playwright-in-Residence at John Van Burek’s Pleiades Theatre, David translated German satirist Carl Sternheim’s B├╝rger Schippel. David is also the author of The Rabbi of Ragged Ass Road, Mind Over Matter, and A Clean Breast. He is currently writing two new plays, Winner Take Nothing and Hitler Goes to Heaven. David teaches scriptwriting at Brock University and through his own company, Some Strange Reason. An active member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and the Dramatists Guild of America, David is represented by Michael Petrasek at Kensington Literary in Toronto.

Umbrella Talk with David Copelin

What do you drink on opening night?
Champagne, if someone will buy it for me.

Who would direct the coolest production of one of your plays?
Julie Taymor

What scares you? What can't you write about?
Almost everything, at one time or another. So far, I can't write
about former lovers.

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

If someone was to write a play about your life, what genre would it be? (eg. comedy, tragedy, melodrama, horror)
All of the above, plus pastoral and farce.

How do you deal with praise? with criticism?
Theatre people tend to over-praise, so I take that into
account. As for criticism, it depends on whether the critic has any
useful insights. Some do. I often plot revenge on stupid reviewers, but
I have not acted on these fantasies. yet.

Where would you like your work to be produced?
Worldwide, with tours to the rest of the universe.

Where do you write? Pen or keyboard?
I write mostly in my home office, on a keyboard, but I sometimes rough things out with pen and paper.

What would you like academics to write about your work in 50 years?
That it's still producible.

What inspires you?
Good stories, good wine, good friends, and Stephen Lewis.

Thanks again for reading this week's Umbrella Talk. Next week we chat with Australian Canadian-based playwright Ben Noble. If you are a playwright whose work has been produced in Canada or elsewhere and want to talk with us, please drop us a line at