As part of Cancers of the Imagination—Colleen Murphy’s investigation into the creation of characters in her work—acclaimed author and theatre artist Carmen Aguirre and award-winning director and dramaturge Stephen Drover will join her to discuss and debate the trend of playwrights writing only what they know. Does this trend discourage playwrights from writing from the wild places in their imagination and making shit up?
There will also be a short reading of Growing Up Dead, the play Colleen has been writing during her residency at Green College.
Carmen Aguirre is an award-winning theatre artist and author, an Electric Company Theatre Core Artist and Artistic Associate of New Play Development at The Stratford Festival. She has written and co-written over twenty-five plays, including the #1international bestseller Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (2012 CBC Canada Reads winner), and its bestselling sequel, Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution. She is developing an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea at Bard on the Beach, adapting Moliere’s The Learned Ladies, commissioned by Factory Theatre, adapting Linebaugh and Rediker’s The Many-Headed Hydra for The Stratford Festival, writing Fire Never Dies: The Tina Modotti Project for Electric Company and the short audio play Rolling Hills Green Pastures for Sunny Drake Productions and Why Not Theatre. She has over eighty film, television and stage acting credits, and over twenty theatre directing credits. Carmen is a 2020 Siminovitch Prize finalist, and a graduate of Studio 58.
Stephen Drover is a dramaturge and director who is originally from Newfoundland and who gratefully resides on the lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. He is a four-time recipient of a Jessie Richardson Award for directing, has been the Associate Director at Theatre Newfoundland Labrador, the Artistic Director at Rumble Theatre and currently oversees New Works and Professional Engagement at the Arts Club where he develops and dramaturgs new plays. He holds an MFA in Directing from UBC and an MA in Theatre and Dramaturgy from the University of Ottawa. Up next, Stephen will dramaturg Bard on the Beach’s production of Julius Caesar. Dramaturgy projects have included Redbone Coonhound and Blackfly (both by Amy Lee Lavoie and Omari Newton), The Cull by Michele Riml and Michael St. John Smith, Forgiveness and Indian Arm (both by Hiro Kanagawa), and – very fondly – The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius by Colleen Murphy.
“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.