The highlights in brief:
• I am now the Playwright-in-Residence at the Gateway Theatre, thanks to the generous support of the Arts Council of the City of Richmond.
• I also began my three-year commitment to the Playwrights Theatre Centre's Associates programme... or more accurately, we all began our three-year commitment to each other. I am already at work on the initial research for our project, Salesman in China, with my co-writer Jovanni Sy and our extremely generous dramaturg Kathleen Flaherty. This has so far included a lightning-fast trip to Boston, an upcoming one to Toronto, and a June trip to Beijing... all of which I will be blogging about when I get back in July.
• Pi Theatre had a jam-packed and enthusiastically-received reading of The Paradise Arms (my translation of Olivier Sylvestre's Governor-General's Award-nominated play, La Beauté du monde), which was developed with the help of Playwrights Workshop Montreal's Glassco Translation Residency in Tadoussac.
• Schoolhouse continues to be a favourite with schools and theatres across Canada, having racked up dozens of productions since 2006. I love it that so many young people are tackling this challenging story, and was delighted to learn that Edmonton's MCS Theatre was nominated for 14 Cappie Awards for their recent production. I wish them all the luck at the ceremony on June 11.
* The cast of Théâtre la Seizième's Bonjour, là, Bonjour has been nominated for a Jessie Award (for Best Ensemble) as has our director Gilles Poulin-Denis. My director Sarah Rodgers and cast-mate Sarah May Redmond were also nominated, for And Bella Sang With Us. The Jessies, which honour the best of Vancouver theatre, will be handed out on June 26.
One final note about The Paradise Arms. It was my great joy to introduce Olivier, as well as his work, to Vancouver this month (and I'm so happy that they really seemed to really hit it off!) Olivier's original title, La Beauté du monde, literally translates as "the beauty of the world", a French expression immortalized in a Diane Dufresne song that warns the human race not to destroy it. In Olivier's autobiographical yet highly theatrical story, the title is both ironic and aspirational: imagine a modern young man's journal of existential crisis thrown in a Vitamix with the works of Arcade Fire, Rimbaud, and the Coen Brothers. In this play, we are imprisoned with the hero – also named Olivier – in a strange, dark basement, groping uncertainly towards the light. That resonates deeply with me right now... as does Olivier's eventual embrace of life and the possibility of love, in defiance of all that frightens and divides us.