1. The idea of the play stemmed from a post-it note on a garbage bag; can you elaborate on how you got from that moment to the story of the play? Why was that note of so much interest to you that it stemmed an entire story?
The garbage bag was in the hallway of a brand new building in which I'd recently bought an apartment and the post-it note said something like, "Could you please not leave your garbage out as it really smells," followed by a smiley face. I thought it was funny that the post-it note leaver would go to the trouble of writing that anonymous note instead of just knocking on the door of his/her neighbour. That got me thinking about what kind of people I live with and what effect condo-dwelling has on those who live there. I started asking myself questions about what kind of person leaves a garbage bag in a hallway, what kind of person leaves a post-it note, and who really, truly, knows their neighbours these days. Once I started answering those questions I could immediately see the potential humour - and darkness - in neighbourly relations gone awry. And so THIRD FLOOR was born.
2. You grew up in Toronto but now live in London; how do you think the theatre audiences, in the two cities, differ?
I think London audiences probably see more theatre and as a result have a richer vocabularly for understanding, appreciating and discussing work. But let's not forget that London is a much bigger city, with a much bigger population, and therefore has more theatre to see. I also think theatre is a vital part of London's cultural understanding of itself in a way that it will never be in Toronto - Shakespeare may be from Stratford-Upon-Avon but he went to London to work.
3. Why did you want this play to be produced at SummerWorks? What can the festival atmosphere at SummerWorks provide for your new play?
Having lived abroad for so many years, I wanted to re-introduce myself to Toronto's audiences and arts community. Since SummerWorks is a juried festival renowned for the quality of the work presented, it seemed like a fantastic forum in which to premiere my latest play. The energy and buzz of a festival like SummerWorks where the city's - and the country's - finest theatre artists are participating seemed like the perfect opporunity to meet people and to learn and share. It's also a little bit more intimate and perhaps less crazy than The Fringe...although I hope it's still going to be a good party!
4. THIRD FLOOR is going to be mounted in London's West End this coming fall; how does that experience differ from the present SW experience?
SummerWorks is a juried festival so we had to put together an application pack and wait to see if we'd been selected. Once we found out we were successful, it was then a matter of putting together our team - the venue and some of the marketing is provided by the festival, which is a great help. For London's West End the process was quite different. I organised a showcase reading of the play in January in an attempt to attract producers, which I eventually did. Working with the producer, then, we did a complicated dance with actors and theatres to try to lock down a production. The West End process was more protracted but it was also more hands-on; I had to do a lot of persuading, wheeling and dealing to get the thing off the ground. With SummerWorks, it was down to the jury to decide whether we were in or not.
5. What other SW play(s) are you looking forward to seeing?
There are so many shows that look great it's almost impossible to choose but here are two: 'Little One' by Hanna Moscovitch, because I've heard she's such an amazing talent and I've never seen any of her work and 'Exit, Pursued by a Bear' because their poster is amazing and the play sounds wonderful and nuts.