profile & blog
Profile

Education

Royal Conservatory, Windsor, ON
Artist-Educator Foundations Certificate

Western University, London, ON
Not-For-Profit Management Post Degree Certificate

Gotham Writers, NY, NY
Playwriting Intensive; Playwriting 1; Playwriting 2

Institute of Children's Literature, West Redding, CT
Writing for Children & Teenagers

Heritage College, London, ON

BRE Degree: Youth
Gerry Benn Award for Christian Education


Centennial College of AA&T, Toronto, ON

Aircraft Maintenance Technician

Trinity Western College, Langley, BC

Associate in Arts Degree: Aviation Minor
Licence/Ratings: Commercial Pilot, Night, Multi Engine Land/Sea

Blog on Writing

The Gift Exchange from Reuntied Shorts
June 19, 2022


The Gift Exchange is the second of six plays in Reunited Shorts. I don’t remember exactly where the idea came from, but the play revolves around the translucent vinyl record version of Pink Floyd's, The Wall with references to the line, If you don't eat your meat, how can you have any pudding from the song, Another Brick in the Wall. And that ladies and gentlemen, is the foundation to a short play.

I always felt the original script lacked until the two actors that staged it as part of Reunited Shorts at the Fringe Festival blew it out of the water so much, that it was the reviewer’s favorite. They did such a fantastic job of it, I discovered it’s potential.

The play was a finalist in four play festivals and produced in two others before being staged at the London Fringe, later in the garage of Garage Theatre Canada during the pandemic. It was also part of the FringeNorth Digital Fringe Festival in 2021.

One of the festivals was a conference for Georgia lawyers, because the play was a comedy about a lawyer and a client with a ridiculous case. The gig paid nicely.

It’s a fun play to watch and is available to view at Garage Theatre.

Table for Two Rendezvous from Reunited Shorts
May 10, 2022


This short play lands third in the line up of short plays about reunions. When I was at University in British Columbia, I started using the catch phrase, hold on to your face, although I'm not sure why, other than I thought it was cool (emphasis on "I thought"). Many years later, I had forgotten the original source of that phrase, until one day, I listened to an old favorite song by the Canadian band, Trooper, You Look So Good. The track opens with a band member saying, "Hold on to your face" and then the R&R song takes off straight uphill from there.

The idea for Table for Two Rendezvous came from that song, and my life long interests in theatre and aviation. The original script with the title, The Circle of Life Can Make One Dizzy, was first produced by n.u.f.a.n. Theatre in Chicago in 2011 and later by a company in Luxembourg in 2012. I've changed many play titles before and this one needed a change, so I restructured a couple of lines from the song that ended up being, Table for Two Rendezvous.

I later sent an email to Trooper and mentioned that my play was inspired by their song and would be on stage in an upcoming festival. They thought that was cool and yet bizarre, and referred to it in their online blog at the time. It's a fun short play that has a great monologue for the female role half way through.

Last Dance from Reunited Shorts
May 4, 2022


In the collection, Reunited Shorts, that contains 6 short plays about reunions, the final play is Last Dance, another one of my favorites, that was also popular in festivals. The play wasn't always called, Last Dance. I was told by a festival producer who staged it, that the previous title which included the word "posthumous," gave away the delayed reveal that the characters were no longer alive. Great advice that helped me find what I think is now the perfect title.

Long before writing this short play, I came across the name, John Gillespie Magee Jr., who was a pilot officer of the Royal Canadian Airforce during WW2. His story was so intriguing and interesting, that I wrote his name down, hoping that one day I might fit this character into a play. That paper sat in a file folder until one day many years later, I came up with an idea and wrote Last Dance.

John was born in China to an American father and British mother. In 1939, the US hadn't joined the war, so John chose to cross into Canada and join the RCAF to fly in Britain. John was also famous for having written the famous poem, High Flight.

The play takes place on a dance floor in the afterlife. John meets a girl who was also a writer and victim of the war.

At the end of the play, the girl remains a stranger to him, but the audience finds out who she is when she says to John, "I'm Anne. Anne Frank."

In the first draft, I only wrote, "I'm Anne," assuming that with all of the previous clues, it would be obvious to the audience that she was Anne "Frank." I had submitted the play to a local contest but it was not selected. I assumed that maybe the readers didn't know who she was. So in the next draft, I wrote, "I'm Anne. Anne Frank." This time, it was selected by one of my favorite short play festivals, the Toronto InspiraTO (the largest of its kind in Canada). It went on to be staged in several other festivals. So I further assumed that her last name was necessary.

In later performances and readings, I heard that some people were disappointed that I put her last name in the line because they thought it was obvious who she was, and almost an insult to their intelligence.

The play was later developed into a 2-hour musical, with the same reveal at the end of Anne's identity.

After many read throughs, productions of both the short and the 2-hour show, I have made the discovery that, on average, 50% of the audience figures out that it is Anne Frank before she tells us, and 50% are pleasantly surprised when she says, "I'm Anne. Anne Frank."

It's always a delicate balance knowing how much information to tell an audience in a play script. But because all audience members are unique, there's not always the perfect solution.

A recording of this play can be seen here. It was produced and recorded in a single car garage during the pandemic. The actress really dressed the part almost too well and, in this case, may even give away her identity all the more. Regardless, these two are sensational in my opinion.

delilah. from Reunited Shorts
April 18, 2022


The short play delilah., is a favorite in which its popularity took me by surprise. Horse Trade Theatre Company with Rising Sun Performance Company in NYC first selected it and 13 others from 450 entries for a public reading on March 29, 2011 at St. Mark's Theatre. Audiences and the theatre ensemble voted it and four others as the best five short plays to be performed as part of their Cravings One Act Series, July 7-23, 2011 at the Red Room Theatre, NYC. The play featured actress Tedra Millan, who later went on to appear in Noel Coward's, Present Laughter on Broadway in 2017, earning 3 Tony Award nominations, where Kevin Klein won for Best Actor.

The short play was later produced at the London One Act Festival (2011), InspiraTO Festival (2011), BoxFest Detroit (2011), Acme Theatre (2012), Blue Slipper Theatre (2012) and was short listed for the Minnesota Shorts Festival (2012).

Supported by the Ontario Arts Council, the play was developed to a 60 minute script and staged at the 2012 London Fringe Festival where it received outstanding reviews. It was further developed to a 2-Act play and was produced independently in 2013. The same year, the full length won a playwriting contest in NYC, and in 2014, scenes from the script received a public reading before an audience at a Surrey, UK theatre.

Reviewer Jamie-Lee Wilson said the full length touched on "issues of child abuse and neglect, the meaning of "family," coming of age ..., the right to live and right to die as one chooses ... in this sensitive, heart-warming, and often humorous story."

The theme of the 10-minute play was primarily about passive euthanasia. It affected a variety of audience members in different ways. After the performance of the 2-act show, two audience members approached me to tell me how the characters in the play were exactly them. Everyone has their own story and I'm moved when a play makes some sort of worthwhile connection.

Plays and their performances can either hit or miss with various people. At the one act festival, the adjudicator evaluated the play and production with the audience present. She announced publicly, "when I read the play, I didn't even like it." Fair enough, but the play went on to win the festival "People's Choice Award" selected by the audience. Two extreme opposite opinions from the same performance.

10 years after it was first read before a live audience in NYC, Nyack High School in NY staged Reunited Shorts during the pandemic (with masks), and presented an outstanding performance of delilah with student actors Lula Talenfeld and Tatum Hopkins.

You, Me. Me, You. from Reunited Shorts
April 13, 2022

Reunited Shorts is a collection of 6 short plays about reunions and was published in 2020 by Dramatic Publishing in Illinois. Each of the six plays were written at different times and each have had from 2-7 productions in festivals in Canada, US or Europe.

They say, write about what you know. This time, in the short play, You, Me. Me, You. I wrote about something I knew very little about. I learned a lot about the subject, and at the same time, I discovered that I knew so much less than I thought I knew.

You, Me. Me, You. is the one play of the collection that has had the most traction and yet has also been the most avoided. It has been popular but has also caused some friction along the way.

The premiere production was staged by a company in Kentucky in 2015. The theatre company's mission is to produce plays using all black artists. 2015 was their first festival, and all the plays that were submitted from around the world were written by white playwrights. Apart from not getting any plays written by black writers, the idea of restricting the call for plays was innocently overlooked. Unfortunately, when the local theatre community found out, there was understandably some backlash. There were attempted boycotts against the festival, and unhappy people on both sides. I understand why, but the bumpy outcome was the result of an unexpected and innocent oversight. Needless to say, the festival made changes for the second year.

Two festivals that planned to stage the play felt that the roles required specific actors and had to cancel because they couldn't find the actors they wanted.

Because the topic is strangely somewhat controversial, the more conservative groups either received some heat over performing it, or avoided the play and just put on five of the six. Despite that, it has still been the most produced of the six.

In 2021, a student at the University of Rome was assigned to translate it into Italian as part of her program. In 2022, it was translated into Spanish and produced at a festival in Los Angeles.

You, Me. Me, You. is the fourth short script in the collection, Reunited Shorts and is available from Dramatic Publishing.

Not a Blogger
April 10, 2022

I used to claim that I was not a blog reader, until I discovered how much web content was actually blog material. And when someone used to say, they're starting a blog, I'd take a look at my watch (because I don't wear one) and guess how long their great new adventure was going to last. And one out of every one times, it didn't.

I still would not consider myself a blogger, because I would never want to have commit to something like that and leave myself open for failure. Yet, the most unusual thing is, is that one of my many side gigs ... is writing blogs for a web design company across the border. And for someone who doesn't write blogs, since May 2021, I have written more than 150 blogs (in reality, pages of web content). And they're about the most unusual and unexpected topics that I've ever researched and written about. The great thing about it is, i) I get to write, ii) I get paid to write, iii) I've learned a huge amount about things I never would have otherwise. Triple word score!

And so I am writing this, not because I am going to be a blogger, but because there was this box with blank space that screamed to be filled with words. So I did.

If you've read all of this, congratulations, you're clearly a blog reader. Although, I don't consider this a blog.