Origins of The Thing
Updated: Jun 7
The Canadian Play Thing arose out of this "I've been thinking" post I made on facebook two weeks ago. I still think the best idea was using the picture of my maniac dog.
I'm a professional playwright and long-time former theatre festival producer, so I know, from both sides of the "gate," how challenging it can be to get play on stage.
For a while now I've been thinking about how to legitimize and elevate the reading of a play as a "real" performance of the work. Granted, a reading is not the same as a fully-realized production of a play in a theatre with set and costume design, sound and lights and direction and all the other work that goes on behind the scenes, but a play is written to be performed, and any time a play is read aloud, it's a performance.
I've found that audience members are genuinely interested in stripped-down, "acoustic" versions of dramatic texts, where the focus is not on the visual spectacle but on the playwright's ideas and impulses and the musicality of language. Does a reading always have to feel not quite complete? Granted, it takes a focused, committed audience to practice their imaginative skills and realise the visual story in their minds. But can't theatre also be this?
Maybe. As long as there are places in which we can gather together in one room to witness actors on the stage together, readings may always be seen as second bes ... hey... wait a second....
A week or two after my onling musing, The Canadian Play Thing has a facebook group with a couple hundred members, we've done four live readings online, and many more on the horizon.
How long will this last? Dunno. We have a website now, so it must be real. Let's just do it while it's fun and useful.