Story and photos by Ted Simpson
Wayne Current and Sterling Lynch have been working together on theatrical projects as far back as their days at Connaught Public School on Gladstone Avenue. “The first play I was ever involved in was at Connaught,” says Lynch. Current has maintained a lifelong residency in Hintonburg, putting him among the ranks of those who lived here before it was cool.
Now, the theatrical duo have brought a new writing concept to their latest production that is a first for Ottawa.
Lynch, 38, the playwright, used a Google Doc to write the script for Never Fall in Love with a Writer and used Google’s public sharing features to allow anyone online to view the document as he worked.
“While I actually wrote the play from start to finish we invited people to come and watch. As far as we know it’s a first for Ottawa,” says Lynch.
The Google application allowed Lynch to crowd source ideas, comments and edits in real time.
“I would get up before work and say, ‘Hey, I’m writing this play if you wanna watch’,” says Lynch.
Lynch received feedback from a number of local enthusiasts, including one idea that became a plot point, “The fact that the main character still has a memento from an old lover was also inspired by a comment from one of the readers of the work in progress,” he says.
Most writers – myself included – would cringe at the thought of an unedited work being available to the public eye, but not Lynch who thrives on the creative feedback. “It’s a benefit to get feedback from people, not a fear,” he says
The finished play is a dramatic story of a granddaughter who learns of one of her grandmother’s past lovers.
Never Fall in Love with a Writer stars Jennifer Capogreco, 26, as the solitary actor in a one woman show. Capogreco has the challenge of playing four different characters – two women and two men – in the show.
Current, 39, the Director, has been working on ways to make sure each character is unique and distinguishable for the audience.
“Throughout the next few rehearsals we are going to be working on three main things,” said Current. “The first is pacing and pitch, each character is going to have distinct voice with a speed to it and an octave to it. The next thing we are working on is movement, and the third is motivations and intentions, so we are going to understand how these characters are thinking.”
The creative process continues to be documented in a series of Youtube videos and blog posts, “So far the feedback has been positive, I think this is going to bring in a lot of people who aren’t theatre people, you can read the script before you see the play, you can watch the videos, you can see if you like the play,” says Current.
The play will be premiering at this year’s Fringe Festival in Ottawa (June 20-30, ottawafringe.com) and the pair are hoping that the unique approach to creation will help with promotion, “With Fringe there are so many shows, so you need to find a way to stand out and this is one of the ways that we are standing out – engaging audiences months before the play comes out,” says Current.
Beyond the local premier, there is a great opportunity to branch out with the performance, given the versatility of having only one performer, “The advantage of that is [the play] becomes very tourable. If the show does well we are looking at touring it in another year,” says Current.