Erin Shields was our Playwright-in-Person at Theatre Ontario Festival 2017. She spoke about the staging of sex and violence, talking about the “contract of imagination” between performers and audience (“a space that should vibrate”) and the crucial role of audience imagining.
Readings from her work
- If We Were Birds – rape used as a weapon of war, inspired by Greek tragedy; in the scene the actors didn’t touch each other, the language depicted the rape
- Montparnasse – Exploring the ownership of the female form in art, wanted to own and recontextualize, live nudity
- Soliciting Temptation – Imagines a man with a child prostitute, doesn’t define the relationship, subverts our expectations
- Beautiful Man – Incessant images in television; reversed the gender roles: males as foils, females as central to narratives
Highlights of the Q&A
- She loves the canon, and wants to find ways to contextualize it for contemporary and inclusive values
- Discussed the use of trigger warnings
- Content is essential to form
- Even if a work is unpublished, don’t hesitate to reach out to the playwright for performance rights; too often in Canadian theatre, plays never get a second production
Playwright-in-Person brings a professional playwright to Festival communities for script readings, Q&A, and more. Playwright-in-Person is made possible through PlayConnect—a grant from the Playwrights Guild of Canada, funded by the Canada Council.