Last night the Arts and Letters Awards were held in St. John’s. I was not feeling well enough to go, which is fairly fitting, considering my winning play in the Dramatic Script category, White or Red, is largely centred around the experience of chronic illness. Today feels like a very good time to announce that the script is available for purchase online through the Playwright’s Guild of Canada, and that it’s currently unproduced, making it your next world premiere…?
In White or Red, three writers, one female and two male, of different types and levels of ability, are forced to form a community and rely on each other to survive. Leah is in her thirties, bisexual, and Canadian. She is coming to terms with a chronic, invisible illness that has ravaged her life. She's signed up for a writing retreat in rural Sicily, and arrives to find she is the only participant. Her host, Turner, is a gay, unwittingly misogynist ex-pat American writer in his 60’s, who was once famous. Tony is a straight, unwittingly misogynist Italian writer in his 50’s who becomes entangled with them both. A hideous crime forces them to rely on each other in ways they could never have imagined, as they are threatened with death if they leave the confines of Turner’s farm. Faced with remaking a world for themselves, the line between real and surreal becomes increasingly blurred as the play continues. Hunger, ecstatic visions, bondage, withdrawal, marionette shows, healing ceremonies, collective drug trips and the makings of a new goddess cult blend together as the three fall further away from normalcy. White or Red is either a relentlessly dark comedy or a demented tragedy, taking on big themes such as systemic misogyny and violence against women, homophobia, monosexism, trans- and genderqueerphobia, national identity, organized crime, PTSD, communication across language, old and new technologies, chronic illness, kink, mythology, revolution, and the creation of community out of sheer need to survive.