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A very helpful bouquet

June 5, 2018

Well, it’s been nearly a week since I learnt that An Unhelpful Complication made it to the finals of the Canadian National Playwriting competition. No one has turned up at the door with a bottle of champagne (prosecco would have been fine) and no congratulatory flowers have been delivered.

So today (on the day when my accomplishment was highlighted in the local paper) I decided I was just going to have to buy my own bouquet. (And, thanks to my pal Peter, I could spend the money without feeling guilty.)

helpful bouquet

And don’t they look lovely?


Yesterday my friend Garry (the one who suggested entering my one-act in the competition) sent me a link to The Risk Theatre Modern Tragedy Competition. A brand new play writing competition. With a prize of $8000! Woo hoo!

And what exactly is the premise of risk theatre? According to the website:

There’s an undercurrent of popular interest in risk and uncertainty that theatre can capitalize on. Consider artificial intelligence, gene editing, leveraged investments,  and North Korea, for example. We gamble with the world not knowing how the unintended consequences will play out. Because we act on an unprecedented global scale, now, more than ever, we have a moral imperative to understand risk. What is risk? What can go wrong? The best place to explore risk is on the tragic stage. This belief informs risk theatre, which is based on the following premises:

  1. Tragedy consists of a gambling act in which protagonists wager all-in.
  2. By wagering all-in, protagonists expose themselves to unexpected and catastrophic low-probability, high-consequence events.
  3. As the dramatization of a gambling act, the emotional reaction of risk theatre is anticipation and apprehension: anticipation for what the protagonist wagers and apprehension for the price the protagonist, the protagonist’s friends and family, and the community must pay.

Well, my goodness.

I suppose, in its way, An Unhelpful Complication fits this description. Jack took a large calculated risk in Central America years before and Maggie is taking a huge risk in confronting this dangerous man.

Unfortunately I can’t enter it because (a) plays which have been entered in other competitions will not be accepted and (b) all entries must be one or two acts running from 90 to 120 minutes, which An Unhelpful Complication certainly does not.

No major gamble in That’s Nice either. And it’s also too short.

Hmm. This seems to require writing a whole new play. Yikes! Well, even thinking about it will have to wait a while. Four performances of Psychopathia Sexualis loom in a fortnight and I still haven’t completely nailed my lines.

Psychopathia Sexualis

In the meantime plot suggestions welcome.


From → Plays

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