Umbrella Talk with playwright Daniel MacIvor

Welcome to this week's Umbrella Talk with playwright Daniel MacIvor, who just won the 2008 Siminovitch Prize. This week Daniel talks to us about nodding, smiling and saying thanks; which part of Stephen Harper's house he would like to see one of his plays produced; and the 47 things that inspire him, to name a few.

A little more about Daniel MacIvor

Daniel MacIvor has been making new theatre in Canada since 1986. For twenty years he was artistic director of da da kamera an international theatre touring company that he ran with Sherrie Johnson and which brought his work to Israel, Ireland, Norway, Australia, the UK and extensively throughout the US and Canada. He is the writer of "Marion Bridge" , "In On It", "Never Swim Alone" and many others. With director Daniel Brooks he created the solo plays "House", "Monster", "Here Lies Henry" and "Cul-de-sac". In 2006 Daniel received the Governor General's Award for his publication "I Still Love You: Five Plays". Last season his play "His Greatness" won the Jesse Award for Best New Play. Recently he directed his play "A Beautiful View" at the Studio Theatre in Washington DC and he is working on a trilogy of plays: "Confession" with Mulgrave Road Theatre, "Communion" with Tarragon Theatre and "Redemption" with the National Theatre School in Montreal . He is writer-in-residence at the Banff Playwrights Colony and the University of Guelph . Currently he is developing a new solo performance with Daniel Brooks called "This Is What Happens Next." Check out his weblog at

Umbrella Talk with Daniel MacIvor

What do you drink on opening night?

Water. Lots of it. Critics dehydrate me.

Who would direct the coolest production of one of your plays?
I'd love to see Morris Panych and Bryden MacDonald tag-team direct anything of mine. Or anything of anyone's. I don't know how the play would turn out but the rehearsal room would be a blast.

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

I am frightened by people who have contempt before investigation. I can't write about romantic love as a solution.

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

The politics of Politics.

If someone was to write a play about your life, what genre would it be? (eg. comedy, tragedy, melodrama, horror)
A verite comic-tragic magic-realistic fright-fest.

How do you deal with praise? With criticism?

Praise: Nod and smile and say thanks. Criticism: Nod and smile and say thanks.

Where would you like your work to be produced?
Stephen Harper's foyer.

Where do you write? Pen or keyboard?
Both. I start off in pen and transfer over to keyboard to finish and edit. In the first draft I make notes in pen on the hard copy and then go back to the keyboard. From 2nd draft on it's pretty much the keyboard.

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

MacIvor's work was part of the movement that led to a theatre being built in every neighborhood in the country."

What inspires you?
In no particular order: music, books, newspapers, blogs, overheard conversations in restaurants, cashiers, waiters,
shamen, killers, dentists, doctors, vets, dinner parties, fairytales, the Bible, hotel rooms, how people treat animals, mistakes, coincidences, bar fights, death, biology, birth, fanaticism, apathy, sugar, pipe fitters, bank tellers, greed, kindness, people's various concepts of "God", dreams, going to the gym, the faces of people on public transit, my family, misery, joy, autumn, teenagers, children over the age of 5, the elderly, people's search for romantic love, divorce, mid-level government workers, the search for meaning, my friends and being asked questions.

Thanks for reading this week's Umbrella Talk with Daniel
MacIvor. If you are a playwright who has been produced a number of times here in Canada or elsewhere and would like to talk to us, please send us an e-mail at


Anonymous said…
"MacIvor's work was part of the movement that led to a theatre being built in every neighborhood in the country."


Where do I sign up to help. :P