by admin on April 22, 2019

My political farce,WHISTLEBLOWERS, has been ‘in development,’ as they say in the trade, for over two years . It has been doing the rounds of theatre companies here in Canada and the UK and piling up the rejections. Too large a cast, they all say – good idea but we can’t afford to take a chance on an unknown playwright.

So I have been cudgeling by brain trying to see how I can bring it down to a more manageable number of characters. Say four or five, from the eighteen or so it has now. Even with doubling and tripling it still stays stubbornly at eight actors.

Periodically I make forays into it, cutting and slashing at scenes  and characters but only end up gutting it. So back it goes to lurk reproachfully on my laptop.

Meantime, another new play has pushed itself into the foreground, demanding attention. My play about the Canadian Group of Seven painter, Tom Thomson, is called THE PHOENIX FROM THE LAKE, and I have high hopes for it. Everyone who hears about it is intrigued, sight unseen. Tom Thomson is after all our most famous painter. A legendary figure. A tragic figure. Dead at 39, at the height of his powers, in circumstances variously attributed to drinking, fighting, foul play, suicide, accidental drowning, depression and a broken heart. Did I mention he was tall, dark and broodingly handsome?

I have been workshopping scenes from PHOENIX with Janet Munsil’s playwriting unit and am almost ready for a public  staged reading this summer or fall. My fellow workshop members have been both ruthless and supportive. Janet is quietly encouraging, offering suggestions and tips from her own career. She is currently juggling three of her own plays here in Victoria and Vancouver.

Meanwhile out in the wider world, the three famous whistleblowers I based my farce on, are once again in the news. Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning, is facing further charges and possible prison, after being pardoned by Obama for leaking US atrocities in Iraq.

Julian Assange, of Wikileaks fame, has been thrown forcibly out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been in asylum for several years. He now faces extradition to the US and probable life in prison for revealing all the nefarious activities of the CIA at home and abroad.

Edward Snowden,  enjoying a dubious asylum in Moscow, at Putin’s discretion, is currently chastising Canada for refusing refuge to his Chinese friends in Hong Kong. They are being persecuted for helping him escape the clutches of the Americans.

And last week, a scene from my play WHISTLEBLOWERS, had a rehearsed public reading and an encouraging reception at my local community centre, along with three other playwrights’ work.

As a result, I begin to see how I might yet re-work it to a more manageable size and still keep some of its sting. It will require painful cuts and loss of life –  as I attempt to implement that other show business adage – ‘kill your darlings.’

More of this anon…


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Penny Pitcher April 22, 2019 at 3:53 pm

Really interesting read, Terry.

janie morris April 22, 2019 at 4:52 pm

I attended and enjoyed the play reading evening. The scene from Whistle Blowers was presented with well defined characters therefore enabling intelligent readings by the talented actors.I appreciated the humour in the writing which helped convey the plays topic in an accessible way.
I would love to see a full production of this play.

Angela Henry April 23, 2019 at 8:59 pm

You are a prolific force Terry! Good on ya! Happy to help with staged readings.

admin April 29, 2019 at 12:47 am

Thanks, Angela. We’d like to do them on a regular basis,say monthly. Janet Munsil’s playwriting unit would all be interested. Perhaps the playwrights could take a turn organising one, finding the actors, etc. Maybe we could follow up on your offer.

admin April 29, 2019 at 12:52 am

Thanks, Janie. I appreciated your support and glad you like the play excerpt. Some more workshop readings will help me wrestle it into shape for a production, I hope.

admin April 29, 2019 at 12:55 am

Pleased you enjoyed it, Penny. Missed you at Heldor’s Scene & Heard event. Maybe you’ll read next time?

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