“Tragedy springs from outrage; it protest at the conditions of life.”
–George Steiner, The Death of Tragedy
Green College’s 19th Writer in Residence, Colleen Murphy, introduces herself and talks about what it means to be a playwright. She will touch on the construction of character, on tragic form, and on how she tries to provide audiences an emotional experience in the theatre. She will also read passages from some of her works, including Down In Adoration Falling, The December Man / L’homme de décembre, Armstrong’s War, The Geography of Fire / La Furie et sa géographie, Pig Girl, The Breathing Hole, and possibly excerpts from a new play. Colleen will host and present three other public events during her residency this term, on February 15, March 2 and March 28.
Colleen Murphy is a two-time recipient of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, and the Carol Bolt Award for Outstanding Play, for Pig Girl in 2016, and The December Man / L'homme de décembre in 2007. Other plays include The Society For The Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius (winner of six Jessie Richardson Awards including Outstanding Production and three Elizabeth Sterling Awards including Outstanding Production), The Breathing Hole (shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, U.S., and the Carol Bolt Award), Armstrong's War, The Goodnight Bird, The Piper and Beating Heart Cadaver (shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama). Libretti include Fantasma, with composer Ian Cusson, for the Canadian Opera Company, Oksana G., with composer Aaron Gervais, for Tapestry Opera, and My Mouth On Your Heart, with composer August Murphy-King, for Toy Piano Composers and Bicycle Opera. Colleen is also an award-winning filmmaker and her films have played in festivals around the world.
She has been Playwright-in-Residence at Finborough Theatre in London UK; Necessary Angel Theatre and Factory Theatre in Toronto, and at the University of Regina. She’s been the Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence at McMaster University; Writer-in-Residence at the University of Guelph; Edna Staebler Laurier Writer-in-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University; Lee Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Alberta, and Writer-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick. She teaches at playwriting at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
“Characters are, perhaps, those parts of shadow or independent vitality within the psyche which the poet cannot integrate to his own person. They are cancers of the imagination insisting on their right to live outside the organism from which they are engendered (how long could a man endure with an Oedipus or a Lear locked inside him?) But whatever their relationship to the source of invention, dramatic personages assume their own integral being.”
--George Steiner, The Death of Tragedy
CANCERS OF THE IMAGINATION is the title given to Colleen Murphy's residency at Green College. From mid-January through mid-April, 2023, she will curate and host a series of three public events presenting guest writers who will read from their work and take part in discussions about how and why they create the characters and stories that they create.
For more information on Colleen Murphy, and on her residency, visit our Invited Residencies page.