2013 and beyond
Dave continued work this year on a new play about the death penalty, Twelve Hours. The opening portion of Twelve Hours (entitled His Last Supper) premiered at Forward Theatre, Madison, Wisconsin, in November 2012 and then was remounted in February, 2013. The artistic team was Michael Herold (LEWIS), Annelise Dickinson (Director) and Jennifer Uphoff (Artistic Director, Forward Theatre.)
Michael Herold in 'His Last Supper'. Photo by Ross Zentner.
Dave was also pleased to hear that American Detour is one of two finalists in a new play contest at American Blues Theatre (Chicago), chosen from 1000 scripts. In addition, two short pieces, Bert, One Year Later and The Exam were published by ArtAge in Portland Oregon and are now being produced widely. Four other short works have been published by One Act Play Depot, with the title Mothers and Daughters.
Over the summer of 2013, Dave collaborated again with Herb Jung and a collective of Ontario artists. They presented a mixed discipline show, Beauty in the Eye, in Port Hope in August. The environmental show used the beautiful downtown of Port Hope as its canvas and Dave got to realize a lifelong dream of acting as traffic warden - stopping the busy traffic on Walton Street in order to enable playgoers to move from scene to scene. Great feelings of power that a playwright seldom experiences... The Etobicoke Centre for the Arts picked up the show in September, and the play returned to Port Hope in summer, 2014.
And, to keep Dave off the evening streets, he served both as a DORA juror seeing even more plays than normal in the 2012-13 theatre season, and is back as a jury chair for the 2013-14-15 seasons. It's a gift; Toronto's theatre scene is active and diverse and the issue is never "what" to see - but "how much".
In 2014 Dave continued work on another new drama, Canadian Rajah, about the life of Esca Brooke Daykin. Although by rights he should have been the third rajah of Sarawak, Esca Brooke was exiled to Canada, where he adapted and began a new life, far from the bizarre family that had rejected him. In an exciting development, Dave has made contact with Esca's heirs in Canada, who are helping him with characterizations and further inside details of this incredible story.
2014 also included the world premiere of Twelve Hours in Columbus, Ohio to rave reviews, and the play was named one of the "Top Productions" of the year in Columbus. Three remounts of Test Drive took place over the ensuing summer months.
2015 found Dave still working on Canadian Rajah, with an (optimistic) completion date of early summer. He then turned his attention to A Splinter in the Heart, an adaptation of Al Purdy's novel, a commission with the Festival Players of Prince Edward County. A coming of age novel, Purdy's book also details one of Canada's little-known disasters, the massive explosion of a munitions factory in Trenton, Ontario, in 1918. A number of other works were produced across the country, including a new presentation of Urban Nun by Sarasvati Productions in Winnipeg and a number of short works in the United States. An audio drama, Good Things Come, was selected as one of five productions for featured Listening Sessions at the 'Hear Now' festival of audio drama in Kansas City, MO in June, 2015. It was subsequently picked up by NPR for broadcast. A new production ofMidnight Madness is took over downtown Port Hope in November, in four "pop-up" site specific productions, produced by the Walton Street Arts Project.
2016: The production pace is keeping up in 2016, with shows being produced in festivals in New York and Chicago in January and February, and in Los Angeles in March. In January, the print version of Twelve Hours was published by Scirocco and Urban Nun is being published in the spring as part of a Red Bull Theatre collection. Dave and his frequent partner in crime, Glenda MacFarlane, are leading a Jane's Walk on May 7 - called "Making A Scene in the Annex". It's a tour of playwright's homes - with bite-sized performances of the plays they wrote in them.
A highlight on the horizon is a Toronto Fringe production of Into, which was picked in the Fringe lottery after four consecutive years of losing out in that most randomly democratic of programming processes. The venue will be the Tarragon Theatre and production dates are June 29-July 10. Also in the summer: Dave's adaptation of the Al Purdy novel A Splinter in my Heart will hit the big tent in Prince Edward County, at the Festival Players venue at Rosehall Run winery. Production dates are August 3-21.
In the fall: A reading at the Wesleyville Arts Centre will showcase Dave's new play, Canadian Rajah, featuring two great actors: Chick Reid and Richard Lee. Then it's off to the Catskills, for the premiere of Freddy and the Ignormus at the 30th anniversary convention of Friends of Freddy, which Dave co-founded in 1986 or thereabouts. And the year ends with a November revival of Two Ships Passing in Port Hope, a production of the Walton Street Arts Project and Ontario Street Theatre.
The cover of Twelve Hours, published in January, 2016.
Over the years, Dave's work has been presented in every Canadian province, two of the three territories (come on, Nunavut!), at least 30 states south of the border and a dozen countries on four continents. Dave's manuscripts and papers can be accessed at the Trent University Archives in Peterborough, Ontario.