In 2008 I added a second show to our annual summer production called the Spotlight Series. The idea for this addition actually came from my final year at the University of Victoria and their Phoenix Season of shows. The previous year, while I took the year off to gallivant around the world, the Phoenix changed their season structure to include something called the Spotlight on Alumni. The year I was away TJ Dawe performed his one-man show “The Slipknot” and the year I came back Meg Roe performed “The Fever” by Wallace Shawn.
It blew me away. Maybe because I had just been travelling and consequently felt or experienced some of what the narrator of “The Fever” expresses. Maybe because Meg Roe is a brilliant actress who captivated me and made me feel what she was feeling. Maybe a little of both. Regardless it was a play that would (and will) always stay with me. So when I had the opportunity to produce it with another young actress I jumped on the chance because it would be both a great challenge and opportunity for her to shine; thus, the Twenty-Something Spotlight Series was born.
The idea behind the series is that we feature one local emerging artist and give them the opportunity to shine. The first year Kirsten Kilburn (who just recently performed the role of Candy in “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love”) performed the role of the Narrator in “The Fever”. This past year Fay Nass, a young director who just graduated from the University of Victoria and who was the Assistant Director on our production of “SubUrbia”, directed “Anne Frank Is In My Dreams” for our second Spotlight production.
And, now we arrive at our upcoming season of shows. While I was trying to figure out what to do for this year I thought to myself: the 1st Year we put an actor in the spotlight and the 2nd year a director so what about if this year we put a playwright in the spotlight?! So I put out a posting, received a lot of submissions and through a selection process that included me and other theatre professionals we chose “Prodigals”, a new play by Sean Minogue.
There are many reasons I decided to go with a playwright, and a brand new play, but mostly because I believe it is so important to support the growth of Canadian, and more specifically Vancouver-based, playwrights who will give us plays that reflect the way we, the "twenty-something" demographic, experience our city, country and world.
At this point we have done two table readings as well as multiple meetings between myself, the playwright and the director/dramaturge. The play has come leaps and bounds from it’s original 30 pages (now at 66) and this weekend we head into a 3-day workshop where we are all excited to see it go to yet another level.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Maybe I’ll even get Sean or Peter Boychuk (director/dramaturge) to guest post about it…