ESSAYS

THIS LITTLE LIGHT – personal writing, June 2021

“These days, I’m trying to think of hope as a sunbeam, not a lighthouse.  I used to hang my hopes on the future as a beacon, as a fixed point on the horizon. I don’t think that’s so helpful now.  Now I hang my hopes on writing postcards and the cookies turning out alright, on ‘maybe next year, but it’s nice to hear your voice’.”

WHAT WE MAY BE – personal writing, June 2021

“As I read it now, Ophelia descends into an associative free-fall as crystal clear as Hamlet’s antic machinations.  Grief transforms her, liberates her from the need of keeping together what has irreparably fallen apart.  She sees the naked emperor and smells what is rotten, and links ideas and songs like daisy chains to tell it as she senses it.  Being a woman, her ‘madness’ is mythologized; the most beautiful and flower-adorned of the Bard’s many dead heroines (though her iconic death takes place offstage and is merely relayed back to us).  But as usual, Horatio knows best – he warns of how Ophelia may spread “dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.”  One who cannot, will not pretend that all is well is most dangerous indeed. Clarity can be contagious.”

LITTLE PIECE – personal writing, September 2020

“When I finally make it to the ocean alone, I turn off my phone and plunge myself into the still-too-cold water. I swim, imagining the little drops of poison in my veins freezing and falling away. I lay back and look at the sun. When I get out of the water, there is a voicemail waiting for me telling me my surgery is in seven days.”

THE WICKED STAGE – personal writing, December 2019

“To me, the work of an actor hinges on the vulnerability of shared imagination, building worlds, investing in them, believing in them and making them manifest. Working in a way that is at once intensely personal and relentlessly public, we try to craft something that is both delicate and durable, repeatable and spontaneous, generous and restrained. It’s impossible. If you don’t love failure, it will eat you alive. If complacency comes easy to you, you’ve doomed yourself to a Sisyphean nightmare of pointless repetition.”

THE LOSING AND LOST – personal writing, July 2018

“Did you know there’s a ‘club’?  There’s a club.  They found me before I could recall whose battered membership card I have held for them on rough nights or intimate coffee dates.  Like battle-worn nurses in a triage ward, they stepped forward, hands on open wound, applying steady pressure and checking vitals.  I send texts.  “What’s happening to me?”  Mere minutes later they respond, always ready for the call: “You’ll see.”

AQUI, HOGAR, AND OTHER SIMPLE PALABRAS – personal writing, November 2017

As soon as my feet hit the ground in Mexico, I have a panic attack. Curled up on top of my suitcase in the bathroom of the baggage claim, gasping for air, it takes me a long time to realize the urgent female voices I hear are talking to me.

“Estas bien? Estas bien?”

SIMINOVITCH PROTEGEE PRIZE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH – November 2017

“Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.  I feel like a radio receiver that’s too sensitive to hear just one thing.  And these are noisy times.  Every time I sit down to write, I hear amongst the radio static, a million SOS calls.  The sounds of justice denied.  Of plastic in oceans.  Of gunshots and lies.

And although I feel like my work is my life, it also sometimes feels impossibly small.  My mind, my heart, feel impossibly tiny.  These days, it seems like nothing between the pads of my fingertips and a keyboard could create something louder than a whisper.

And then I come back to this word, that I heard Marcus say once about theatre.

Communion.”

THE INTERMISSION – personal writing, December 2016

“There’s a constellation of thumbprints on my heart.  One for every worry, big or small.  They show up, echoes in my subconscious magnified into devastating nightmares.”

EAST VAN LOVE SONG – personal writing, September 2016

“I’m at the age now where if I close my eyes, I can tell you what things used to be as easily as I can tell you what they are now. I remember the little Vietnamese bakery where my friend and I used to buy 69 cent spring rolls, burning our fingers and tongues to eat them before they soaked through the paper bag they were delivered in – gone. I remember playing foosball at Joe’s Café with my friend and our dads, screaming ourselves hoarse and getting calluses on our palms from the cracked handles of the table – still there. I remember the exact moment, as a young teenager, that I walked past Café Roma and realized the men were looking at me in that way – still there, but different than I remember. And even now, the smell of chlorine, chocolate milk, and white chocolate raspberry scones are inextricably linked by years of afternoons at the pool for swimming lessons followed by a trip to Uprising Bakery. I am becoming a regular again at that same pool, swimming laps under the watchful eye of the tiger mural, unchanged from when I learned to swim two decades ago.”

BRIEFING NOTES FOR HIRING COMMITTEES – spiderwebshow.ca, June 2016

“This may be just the first wave of some significant changeover in leadership. In the arts community, we talk about change a lot – and this is an opportunity for organizations to be transformed from the top down. Will some of these positions go to women and/or artists of colour and/or artists with disabilities?”

SWIMMING ALONE – personal writing, June 2014

“Every act is an act of courage.  You need your heart to push you on and  your brain to keep you safe.  One without the other, and you’ll drown for sure.”

THANK YOU FOR COMING – from this blog, reposted by DC Theatre Scene, April 2014

“It’s not as if we are not all always trying to be better at bringing in audiences. But if anything, writing this out is a way to purge my many long-held beliefs about audience services before I bid it adieu. But I can’t do something for 5 years without learning from it and wanting to share those things. So in brief, some thoughts.”

DEATH OF A GENIUS – personal writing, February 2014

“The impulse, being the thoughtful beings we are, is to make sense of the senseless.  To assign some kind of order, to find an answer to why these brilliant young people leave us so soon and so suddenly.  To answer the unanswerable.”

SELF-DETERMINATION AFTER THEATRE SCHOOL – spiderwebshow.ca, January 2014

“My biggest fear now is not a lack of work – it’s of losing the ability to create meaningful and rigorous art; It’s of having my creative impulse atrophied or distorted by the realities of pursing a professional career.”