Today I want to share a Write and Win entry from Stephanie Webster of Listowel District Secondary School. She talks about her experiences directing the first production of Lindsay’s Tuna Fish Eulogy several years before Theatrefolk existed! She also shares a moving story about her school’s production of Stroke Static.
My Theatrefolk experience actually began long before Theatrefolk began! I was in my third year of my undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University when I was introduced to a play by a new playwright, that would forever change my view of theatre.
The ladder format script of ‘Tuna Fish Eulogy by Lindsay Price fell into my hands during a class preparation for a New Play Festival. It was an odd, abstract piece – unlike anything I’d ever read before – and I was immediately drawn to it. I directed the debut of this piece and tried my best to do justice to the script that year. I was happy with the results, but I knew once that experience was done, I was not ‘done’ with that play. I would seek it out again at some point. That point occurred 8 years later when I was a high school drama teacher looking for my first official Sears Drama Festival entry. I knew it had to be Tuna Fish Eulogy. I searched it on the Internet and lo and behold, Lindsay Price was running her own script company!
We touched base here and I ordered the script and performed it in a much more professionally polished fashion. We took home a total of 7 awards from both the District and Regional levels of Sears that year. The play inspired many of the students involved, so much so that one of them wrote his own ladder play that won several Sears awards a few years later.
I continued to perform and order plays from Theatrefolk during my years at this high school. The pinnacle of my relationship with Theatrefolk so far was an accidental stumbling across the brilliant Stroke Static. I selected this piece the year my grandfather was suffering from dementia. He died a few months before the show went up, but my efforts were with him in mind. Our performance of Stroke Static also marked the first year that our high school, Listowel District Secondary School, was invited to go on to the Sears Drama Festival Provincial Showcase. The experience was thrilling and emotions were high. My lead performer had lost his brother in Afghanistan before the Showcase production, but he persevered and did the show in spite of his difficult circumstances. My cast and crew also got the pleasure of meeting Lindsay Price at the showcase and it meant so much to everyone that she was in attendance and able to spend her time with us on that day.
Theatrefolk has become a permanent fixture in my rotation of high school class plays, projects and contest submissions. I hope to continue to have a long and wonderfully theatrical relationship with Lindsay and her company. Thank you so much for all that you offer.