Playwriting

Taking A Risk

It can be the hardest thing to do sometimes. Take a risk. Jump into the unknown. It’s so much easier to play it safe. To do something where the response can be gauged ahead of time. It makes sense. You know what’s coming. And yet…..what kind of life would that be?

In the video below you’ll meet the cast (and student writer) of Thread. They’re taking a pretty huge theatrical risk. They’re preparing to put on an unknown, just written, absurd piece for competition. They have no idea what their audience response will be. They’re going to be adjudicated and they have no idea how that will go. They’re getting ready to jump into the unknown.

Postscript

Thread won best experimental play at festival. And the playwright, Ron, won the George Bernard Shaw most promising student award. Congratulations!

Transcript

Lindsay: Hello, this is Lindsay, and I am sitting here looking at the cast of Thread. Is that correct, Ron? It’s Thread and not Threads, right?

Ron: Yeah.

Lindsay: Thread at Larissey Court Secondary. So everybody say hello.

Everybody: Hi!

Lindsay: And we are here today because here in our blog we like to do things where we share with our audience when somebody’s doing something different and when somebody’s doing something unique and something that we could all like learn from. So what these guys are doing is they are preparing a one-act for the Sears Drama Festival, correct? And not only are they preparing it, but it is a student-written piece written by Ron. Wave your hand, Ron. And they’re also doing something which is a little bit unusual. I think it would be fair to say that Thread is not a kitchen sink play, correct?

Ron: There is no kitchen sink.

Lindsay: Okay, so here’s the first thing about Thread, is that it’s not really something that can be explained in a little bit, right? It’s about a dysfunctional family.

Ron: Yes.

Lindsay: Right?

Ron: They’re trying to keep their lives together as best they can with all this chaos going on in their house, in their living room and…

Lindsay: So what was your first—so this is a bit of a risk, right? It’s not something that you know your audience is going to…you don’t know what your audience is going to react to this, right?

Ron: Yeah.

Lindsay: So what was your first impression when you read the play? What was your first impression?

Female 1: Well, I thought it was funny, but at the same time I was kind of scared because when we do it, every time there’s a different amount of laughter. Sometimes there’s not a lot, sometimes there is, and it just depends on who the audience is.

Lindsay: Right.

Female 1: So from the first read-through it was like, you think it’s funny but the person next to you might not.

Male 1: Well. I’m hoping everything goes well. I’m hoping that Thread works out and…because it’s interesting. Like she says, it’s different every time, and we’re hoping that everything works out for the best.

Lindsay: Have you ever been in a play like this?

Male 2: No.

Lindsay: Do you guys think you’re taking a risk? Yeah?

Male 1: Sure.

Lindsay: Yes?

Female 2: Yes.

[Laughter]

Lindsay: What’s it like? Like what’s that like?

Female 2: [Laughs]

[Laughter]

Female 1: Like the first part when the lights come out, that’ll be like so scary, but in a good way.

Lindsay: It’s good to be scared…like scary in a good way is…it’s good not to know, although it is scary not to know, right?

[Laughter]

Lindsay: Right? Thank you very much, guys. Bye. Break a leg! Break a leg tonight.

So that’s something that’s…I think that is…we don’t always know what’s in us, right? It’s easy to do the play that is very traditional, and it’s easy to do…you know what to expect. Something like this, you don’t know what to expect. And Ron, why did this kind of play speak to you when you wrote it?

Ron: I don’t know. I was kind of scrambling for ideas and, well, let me see here. I figured it would be like the most fun thing to write. Like I didn’t want to write something that would like bore everyone and that I’d get like a boring response out of like…I wanted something that would shock and kind of like thought-provoke. [Laughs]

Lindsay: Yeah.

Ron: Yeah.

Lindsay: So is that what your hope is for the audience response tonight, that they will be shocked and thought-provoked?

Ron: Yeah, most definitely. Yeah.

Lindsay: Yeah.

About the author

Lindsay Price