Compiled by Anne Mooney, Community Theatre Coordinator
Playwright-in-Person has been part of Theatre Ontario Festival for over fifteen years, sponsored by Playwrights Canada Press. Our Playwright-in-Person for 2012 was Daniel Brooks.
- Daniel Brooks, a self-described “professional schmuck” and “theatre creator” began the afternoon with a play reading where he presented pieces from three plays – House and Here Lies Henry both by Daniel MacIvor and directed by Daniel Brooks, and The Good Life written by Daniel Brooks
- After the readings, the workshop became a QandA discussing the many different aspects of the playwriting process and the innumerable ways that plays can be written
- A key point of the discussion was how writing for the theatre is a form of improvisation. There is a performance aspect to writing. Every time he writes a play, he does it in a different way, suiting the writing to the purpose
- He also is a strong believer in the collaborative nature of writing for the theatre. He believes that having writers hear their work uses different parts of their brains and will inform their writing
- Daniel gets his inspiration for writing by watching people; an example he used was watching the body language of people at a city council meeting: have a source for your inspiration
- "Actors witness.”
- About the process of writing he said: just write. Put it down on paper and don’t self-censor, play with it. Get others to work/read the work for you and then PLAY. The point is to WORK.
- He also is a strong believer in Set Designers, feeling that good set designers are almost dramaturges and just one stroke short of being directors. Set designers are vital to the play creation process and must be fully involved—space is not separate from anything else in the process.
- Two final thoughts for the captive audience were, when he gets stuck he always remembers “what we’re doing is making it up as we go along” and “theatre is a social art form.”