Umbrella Talk with playwright Brendan Gall

Welcome to this week’s Umbrella Talk with playwright Brendan Gall. Brendan talks about acknowledging all praise as being 100% true; avoiding ideas & feelings and religion; and being inspired by deadlines.

First, more about Brendan Gall

A graduate of George Brown Theatre School, Brendan has written three plays: Panhandled (UnSpun Theatre), A Quiet Place (Single Threat – 2007/08 Dora nomination: Outstanding New Play), and Alias Godot (Tarragon Theatre – 2007/08 Dora nomination: Outstanding New Play). An earlier version of Alias Godot was translated into Italian and performed in Florence as part of Teatro Della Limonaia’s 2006 Intercity Festival and subsequently remounted the following year as part of their 20th anniversary retrospective. A new production of Alias Godot will open at Edmonton’s Theatre Network at the end of September. Brendan has also collaborated on the collective creations Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and Don’t Wake Me (with UnSpun Theatre), I Keep Dropping Sh*t and Dedicated to the Revolutions (with Small Wooden Shoe), contributed pieces to Convergence Theatre’s multi-playwright environmental shows The Gladstone Variations and AutoShow, and written the feature film Dakota (distributed by Mongrel Media). Brendan is currently a Playwright-in-Residence at Tarragon Theatre where he is trying to write two new plays for them. In addition, he is also working on an adaptation of The Seagull for his own company, Single Threat, co-writing a new screenplay with Dakota director Matthew Atkinson, contributing a short-piece to UnSpun’s The Red Room, and will be collaborating with Brendan Healy on a one-man show for Crow’s Theatre. Brendan is also an actor.

Umbrella Talk with Brendan Gall

What do you drink on opening night?

A) I resent the insinuation that all writers drink excessively on opening night.
B) Absinthe & Red Bull

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

The COOLEST? Probably James Dean. Or that camel with the sunglasses that sells cigarettes in American magazine ads...

What scares you? What can't you write about?

Ideas & Feelings. They are the Children & Animals of the page; I avoid both religiously. Oh, also Religion.

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

Well, they say there are really only three stories in the world: Man against Nature, Man against Machine, and Man against Man. I'm thinking of trying to combine them all into one story, and then do something at the end that no one's ever done before. So I have this idea about this guy who fights a horse. Then in the second act he fights a robot. Then in the third act he fights another guy. THEN in the FOURTH act (a bit unorthodox, I know) he fights a GHOST. Boom! Brand new story: Man against Ghost.

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

Probably a spaghetti western; although a lot of my life appears as though it took place in Montana, it actually occurred in Italy.

How do you deal with praise? With criticism?

I acknowledge all praise as being 100% true and wield it as proof of my overall worth. I disregard all criticisms as unfounded lies and petty jealousy.

Where would you like your work to be produced?

In my brain, initially. Anywhere else and technically it's plagiarism.

Where do you write? Pen or keyboard?

At a little out-of-the-way cafe I know in Paris in the 1920's, using the same voice-recognition software Dan Brown used to write The DaVinci Code.

What would you like academics to write about your work in 50 years?

"50 years ago today it was discovered that Brendan Gall's work cures cancer and stops the aging process. The following day Brendan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and became a billionaire. Later that year he went on to invent the perpetual motion machine and beat a cheetah in a footrace."

What inspires you?


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