Monday, October 24, 2011

Between us playwrights...

Kenneth T. Williams

Kenneth T. Williams is a terribly interesting man.  Over the past two weeks I’ve watched him eat, drink, make merry with his fellow artists in the Stratford Shakespearean Festival’s 2011 playwrights retreat.  And the wheels were always turning.  The man is a storehouse of trivia, data and stories – oh the stories.  Did you know, for example, that there is a species of ants that survives by enslaving other ants, even enlisting beetles which they ride like cows?  Or that String Theory, some kind of sub-atomic science marvel which I have not yet begun to grasp, has already given way to the more advanced M Theory?  Or that one of Canada’s top minds on the matter is Dene scholar Percy Paul?

During the course of the residency, a number of artists gathered for what I will affectionately call You’re Welcome, That’s Enough Now Day, where each artist shared a poem.  Yes, he writes poetry, too.  Ken’s reflective contribution came from his 2008 play, Suicide Notes (published in the Signature Editions anthology Three On The Boards), and is well worth the read.  

There is something about a playwright’s process that turns all of these little things into a greater understanding of universal order, of human nature.   This is evident in the latest draft of his new play, Deserters, which was winner of the 10 Days of Madness festival's 24-hour playwriting competition in 2009.  Ken has gone to task in Stratford, turning out a full and compelling examination of motivations and rationales around conflict.  Director/dramaturg Tara Beagan and our fabulous cast joined him there on October 18 for the first day of workshop, and now the whole gang is in house, preparing for Saturday's public reading.  You should come!


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