Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mike Mason Nommed for Christy Award!

Huge congrats, Mike. It's a beautiful book. (There are other nomination categories, but it's Mr Mason we're excited about here at Soul Food, and his ground-breaking novel THE BLUE UMBRELLA...

2010 Christy Award Nominees & Keynote Speaker Announced

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The Christy Advisory Board is pleased to announce nominees in nine categories for the 2010 Christy Awards honoring Christian fiction. The Christy Awards will be conferred in advance of the International Christian Retailing Show at a ceremony at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel, Sat., June 26, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. Author and entrepreneur Lisa Samson, a two-time Christy Award winner and seven-time nominee, will present the keynote address.

Tickets to the event are $30. For more information about the awards reception and to make reservations (beginning Apr. 30), visit the Christy Award website.

YOUNG ADULT

Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma • Thomas Nelson

The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason • David C. Cook

North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Anniversary Rosedale!

Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotels has been a long-time partner of Pacific Theatre and a huge supporter of the arts in Vancouver. Without the ongoing support and encouragement from General Manager Jim Miller and the rest of the Rosedale staff over the years, it's hard to say where we would be as a company, so we are thrilled that they're celebrating their 15th anniversary.

Oh, and did you know that you can get a special discount on rooms at Rosedale? Just ask for the "friends of PT" rate when you book and not only will you get a deal, but a percentage of your order will be donated to us. It's wonderful support systems like this that make Rosedale on Robson a vital partner to Pacific Theatre.


Community Partnerships And A Stylish Renovation Mark the 15th Anniversary of Vancouver’s
Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel

Vancouver, BC – April 28, 2010

1995 was a great year for new landmarks in Vancouver, and the Rosedale On Robson Suite Hotel with its distinctive neon roof-top rose was at the centre of them all. The new neighbours - the coliseum-like Vancouver Public Library, the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts and GM Place Stadium brought a new sophistication to the city and a demand for an affordable hotel experience. Opened April 2, 1995, the Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel, located at 838 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, is proudly celebrating its 15th anniversary with new accommodation packages, a stylish renovation and a continuing dedication to pleasing guests and supporting the community.

General Manager James D. Miller is especially proud. “Our strength is in our service. We have 14 original employees still on staff – and I am one of them. In an industry with a high turnover, loyalty translates to a warmer welcome for guests and faster problem-solving. In fact, half our staff have been with the hotel for ten years or more.” He said “Our most challenging time was during the 2010 Winter Olympics. The thank-you letters I received afterwards from heads of delegations and corporate partners were a tremendous reward for our team”.

The all-suite hotel located at the corner of Hamilton and Robson Streets in the heart of downtown Vancouver’s sports and entertainment district is known for its spacious, comfortable and well-appointed suites, all of which are equipped with a kitchenette. There is a mature treed roof-top garden over the porte-cochere, which was one of the first to add to the greening of the neighbourhood. Every month, the Rosedale’s special event team puts together unique sports and entertainment packages guests can take advantage of.

The Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel has recently undergone a facelift inside and out. The fresh look includes new carpets, bedspreads, bedroom furniture, and flat screen tv’s. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the friendliness and hospitality of its staff.

The Rosedale is a founding partner of the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, and in 2007 was the recipient of The Globe and Mail Business For The Arts Awards “2007 Best Arts / Entrepreneur Partnership” as a result of their commitment to the arts through creative partnerships. The hotel also supports more than 17 organizations in the community, including ALS Society of BC, BC Lions Charity Golf Classic (Make-A-Wish Foundation), BC Lions Orange Helmet Awards, Chutzpah! Festival, DanceHouse, Jewish Book Festival, KidSport BC (Klicks For Kids), MusicFest Vancouver (formerly Festival Vancouver), Nancy Greene Corporate Challenge Ski Race, Pacific Theatre, Stand Up For Mental Health, The Word On The Street, Tony Proudfoot Fund, Vancouver Creative Music Institute (part of Vancouver International Jazz Festival), Vancouver East Cultural Centre, and The Variety Show Of Hearts Telethon.

Visit www.rosedaleonrobsoncom for an overview of the property.

Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel / 838 Hamilton @ Robson Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 6A2
Tel: 604-689-8033 / Fax: 604-689-4426 / www.rosedaleonrobson.com

REFUGE OF LIES | Acknowledgments

A pending visit today from the person who first commissioned me to develop Refuge Of Lies for production has me thinking of the many people along the way who kept the play growing. From the Acknowledgment page of the script...

Thanks to Stuart Scadron Wattles for his commitment to this play from the start,
and to J.P. Allen (Ventana Press) for publishing the 1994 version script,
and for his advocacy on behalf of this play through the years.

Thanks to Lain Eng, The Creative Gifts Foundation,
Rory Holland, David Jennings, David McFadzean, and Steve and Chris Cragin Day,
for supporting the play's further development and its Off-Broadway premiere.

The playwright would like to acknowledge his appreciation for the dramatugical assistance of Stuart Scadron-Wattles, Wes Wikkerink and John Lazarus, and for the encouragement provided by the New Play Centre in Vancouver whose 24 Hour Playwriting Competition was the occasion of the first draft of this play (under the title "Flesh And Blood"). Gratitude, too, for the indispensible dramaturgy of Kathy Parsons, D.D. Kugler and Steve Day during the play's subsequent development process, 2008 – 2010.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

REFUGE OF LIES | Responses

Refuge of Lies is the kind of play that makes theatre exciting for me. It tells a great story, has strong characters struggling with profound life questions and has the power to engender intense discussions as well as individual explorations of one's personal sense of morality. Throw in a number of excellent performances and powerful staging under the direction of the playwright himself, and you have a riveting drama."
Gillian Lockitch, Review from the House

Wow. I'm still revisiting. Opening scene set such an authentic tone that I was IN the story the entire time. (I know this old Dutch couple.) Of course the questions of justice, mercy, forgiveness and truth keep my overactive mind busy chewing and pondering... Whew. I may have to see it again. Bravo.
audience member

Topical, relevant. Pacific Theatre should be commended for doing new work that tackles current issues. Something that is far too often missing from the Vancouver theatrical landscape. I would challenge the larger Vancouver theatre companies to do the same. We're a smart group. We can take it.
Sebastien Archibald, Plank Magazine

Wow. It was fantastic theatre. It's what theatre SHOULD be. It left both of us with lots of questions . . . thanks for yet another challenging and thoroughly enjoyable (though at time through some tears) experience.
audience member

Gushing or platitudes will not do. Thank you for taking the risks that you have in mounting this production. Gutsy. . . .
Well written. . . . Incredibly meaty parts. . . . Talk about intensity. Stirring, moving, challenging, complex, definitely leads to a good conversation in the lobby or during the ride home. We have already recommended it to friends. . . .
Rarely have I attended a play where there is spontaneous applause after the first act. Hands down, one of the most powerful PT productions. Up there with Espresso. . . .
audience member

Playwright Ron Reed tackles some tough questions in Pacific Theatre’s Refuge of Lies, providing a powerful framework for us to reach deep to find our own answers and the truth within.
Mark Robins, Gay Vancouver

Wonderful play. That's what theatre should be. Thought provoking. I was mesmerized. Excellent acting and direction telling such an important story. Thank you, thank you
audience member

We saw "Refuge of Lies" today and both of us thought it was outstanding! Thought-provoking doesn't begin to describe it -- it is one of the most gut-wrenching examinations of grace vs. justice that I have ever seen. As a drama of conscience I would rank it with the likes of "12 Angry Men" or "A Man for All Seasons". Truly, this is a play that deserves to be seen by audiences across North America. You must be very proud of it. And the production was outstanding as well, with great performances all around. Congratulations! We were profoundly moved by what we saw.
audience member

I just got off the phone with a lovely woman who subscribes with her friend under her friend's name, who had wonderful things to say about Refuge Of Lies. She went on emphatically to tell me how she was 'blown out of the water' by this show and wanted to throw bouquets and and a party for every person on that stage. She was thrilled by the show itself, and also commended us on what a high caliber of theatre she sees from here on a regular basis. . . .
report from the box office

Saw the show tonight - really, really engaging. lovely acting, cool writing, well directed, nearly started to cry before the lights even came down looking at the set. Really thought provoking piece - a great night out at the theatre. thanks!
audience member

I really enjoyed this play. In particular, I really liked the ultimate, over-arching questions Reed poses: What is forgiveness? Who grants forgiveness? And who is the ultimate judge? Man or God?
Michelle Kim, Miss 604

Just a note to let you know how much we appreciated Refuge of Lies. Exceptionally well written, directed and acted, and providing a lot of food for thought and discussion. Terence Kelly was outstanding.
I might add that the play had special significance in that my earliest memories (when I was barely 3) was of Nazi collaborators coming to our door in Holland to check whether we were hiding Jews, and my mother and me hiding in a corner in order to act as if we were not at home (while I didn’t realize it at the time, we were a “way station” for Jews moving from one location to another). So the Luitjens case both interested and disturbed me since it seemed to me that having some type of restorative justice “healing circle” would have been much more meaningful than extradition and a jail sentence.
Pacific Theatre is a unique and important cultural contribution to the Vancouver arts scene.
audience member

Stunning performances! The cast was amazing. The play was extraordinary, wonderful dialogue, great structure. On thinking on it overnight I realize that a super cast is essential to the play's performance, because there is so much skill and experience to bring so much of it off, for example the flashbacks, and as Terry calls it the "fugue" scene. Thanks so much for alerting me to this scary and touching event, which besides being dramatically interesting, also explored a deeply troubling issue. I have always sided on the "tracking down" team, but now I understand another point of view. Can one never being forgiven. . . . More questions than answers.
audience member

Refuge of Lies is compelling! I am so glad I saw it! I would like everyone to see it and continue to think about the content and discuss it. I keep wondering what my Jewish friends in New York would say if they could see it. . . .This play will stay with me.
audience member

It was so good. Tight - there was a wonderful flow scene to scene, even the movement between scenes either heightened or reduced the tension... Wonderful acting, great casting all around. Rudi was perfect.
The set worked -- brilliant.... I so loved all the ambiguity and your unwillingness to answer any of the questions or provide any rationalizations... This is an incredibly meaningful work with easy parallels to residential schools and the Catholic Priest issues.... Brilliant work, Bravo.
audience member

I love this play … intelligent and powerful. Congratulations.
audience member

There's so much I could say about Refuge of Lies! Brilliant acting, beautiful lighting, a set that made me want to get up and study every one of those faces ... And the writing is superb. Not a flat moment, every scene so well shaped, the dramatic arc flowing without interruption from first word to last ... However, the thing I will really remember about this play is how provocative it is. ...talked about it all the way home ... And we talked about it some more the next day. It really put a finger on some issues we needed to talk about, and our discussion lanced some boils. ... The play leaves the audience with this problem: As the play exposes festering wounds in our own souls (which it certainly must), how shall we respond? Where do we sit in regard to the will not/cannot question? Enter God's grace, with a deep invitation to repentance. Or dramatically speaking: catharsis. Which makes this play a true modern tragedy. Thanks for not taking the easy path.
audience member

The tension wasn't just palpable from the first moment, it was smellable and tastable. It would be so easy for this play to be a sort of Socratic dialogue made into pseudo-drama, but instead, the characters are fully enfleshed. We talked all the way home, and again this morning.
audience member

Howard Siegel delivers a subtly passionate performance as Simon Katzman, the guy who tracks Rudi down, and Anthony F. Ingram offers detailed and distinct portraits of two different pastors. Anna Hagan is effectively understated as Rudi’s wife, Netty, and Terence Kelly is always emotionally credible as Rudi. . . . Designer Lauchlin Johnston offers a handsome set . . . one element of which is unconditionally inspired.
Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

Thank you for such an incredibly beautiful show. I'm for sure going to see it again.
audience member

We saw Refuge of Lies on Friday and enjoyed the talk back afterwards. we also talked about it all day Saturday and all evening Saturday and am still thinking about it... now that's good theatre!! we LOVED the performance.
audience member

It was so so great to see Refuge of Lies. . . . I am planning on coming again because it touched me much more than I was expecting it to. So great. . . . your show got me excited about theatre again.
audience member

I wanted you to know that I saw Refuge of Lies on thurs. night and it was riveting. Really from the start to the end my mind never wandered once, (I have a hard time focusing) I was believing every moment I was watching. . . .
Superb acting, especially Rudi's character. . . . Quite close to home, my husband's family were friends and belonged to the same church as the Luitjen's, so it is giving us lot's to talk about. The play was so creative from the set to the dream/reality scenes. Really I should see it again....
Thanks for portraying these complicated issues with compassion and truth,
all the best,
audience member

Fabulous and thought provoking! Gritty, but an important story very well told (and directed)! The acting was wonderful as well.
audience member

Being at PT last night and seeing Refuge brought to life on the stage (brilliant stage set) opened up a deep place in me. Justice and mercy as opponents, playing out their relationship, with the sacramental elements of wine, bread, water present and the lemon twist of irony in the last line. . . . I was so proud to be there.
audience member

Dear Cast and Crew of “Refuge of Lies”
I attended last night’s preview performance of the show and want to tell you how much I enjoyed the experience.
It’s a gorgeously conceived and carefully crafted play, and the performances were very strong. Mr. Kelly was particularly affecting while managing to avoid being ingratiating or self-pitying – in fact, my heart broke for Werner as his sense of his own goodness was thrown suddenly into chaos.
After the play my friend and I had a spirited debate about the rightness of persecuting those who have done serious wrongs in the past – Mr. Reed’s play raised interesting questions and resisted the temptation to put forward simple answers. Thank you to all involved for an enjoyable and stimulating evening at the theatre!
Warm regards and congratulations
audience member

Terry and Anna,
thank you for such a meaty evening of theatre!! We saw the show tonight (which was astonishingly well polished for a preview, with many perfect moments) and it was such a pleasure to see you both working (playing) together... a very thought provoking script ... lots of levels & Ron , being an actor, has a real nose for the theatrical... I love paradox - it was delicious & I was totally involved...
So bravo! and I know you will have a successful run.... we were debating large themes in the car....
much love and thanks again for your beautiful work . . .
audience member

New Lights!!!

After years of working with old lighting instruments and a dimmer system that, shall we say, barely functioned, we've got new lights! Thanks to the Government of Canada (Canadian Heritage: Cultural Spaces Canada) and Incarnation Foundation for the funding.

Technicians Linsy Rotar & Jess Howell are really excited about the lights!

Monday, April 26, 2010

REFUGE OF LIES Debate


A debate is raging over at Plank Magazine in the comments section of their review of REFUGE OF LIES. Have a look at a rare and detailed conversation primarily between an audience member and actor Anthony F. Ingram on the story of the play. In theatre we rarely get to engage so closely with our audience as has happened with this play, and I don't know about you, but I'm getting excited about it!

ADDITION: More comment-section conversations happening over at The Georgia Straight's review.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Drummer Needed for GODSPELL

Dancing goats and sheep are all well and good, but how can they dance without a beat? Our upcoming production of GODSPELL needs a drummer! Any budding musicians out there looking for an opportunity to work on the Pacific Theatre stage, this could be your chance. It is a volunteer position, but offers the opportunity to work in our emerging artist showcase alongside Nelson Boschman (The Nelson Boschman Trio, CHRISTMAS PRESENCE) and Sarah Rodgers (JESUS, MY BOY, BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR, and countless more).

If you're interested please email Nelson at nelsonboschman (at) gmail (dot) com.

Apr 24 | ARTISAN U. Presents: How to Watch Improv Comedy


HOW TO WATCH IMPROV COMEDY
A Benefit for UGM Sponsored by Artisan Vancouver Church
Saturday, April 24 | Doors 6, show 6:30
Alice MacKay Room, VPL Central Branch | 350 West Georgia St
ages 8 and up (but they'll let Frank in anyhow)

Tickets $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Available online

Featuring the comic stylings of:

Mike deBoer
Frank Nickel
and their funny friends

Mike and Frank know what they’re doing most of the time. The rest of the time they make stuff up. In the dog-eat-dog world of improv comedy, they have worked with The Panic Squad, Bust A Gut and Pacific Theatre. They specialize in comedy that is both clean and funny.

PLUS the musical stylings of:

Nelson Boschman - piano
Becca Robertson - double bass
Kenton Wiens - drums

Just like the actors, whenever this exciting jazz ensemble doesn’t know what to play, they're usually able to scrape together a few notes that sound OK. They will be featured before and after the show, during intermission, as well as IN the show itself!

This is a benefit event for Union Gospel Mission. All net proceeds will go towards UGM’s mission to eradicate homelessness in Metro Vancouver. Give the gift of laughter to your friends and loved ones while serving your community through a great organization with a near 70-year history.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Video Interview: Kerri Norris on REFUGE OF LIES

The latest video interview with the REFUGE OF LIES cast featuring Kerri Norris! You may have seen Kerri in one of our emerging artist showcases (most recently YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU), or reciting the Bard in Queen's Park every summer with her theatre company Shadows and Dreams.

REFUGE OF LIES Set Model







Apr 27: Luci Shaw, Village Books, Bellingham

Village Books, Bellingham

We already told you about Luci's latest volume of poetry, Harvesting Fog. The new news is that she'll be reading from said volume at everybody's favourite bookstore, Village Books, in the historic Fairhaven district of Bellingham on Tuesday April 27 at 7pm. Go early to visit everybody's favourite eatery, The Colophon Cafe - and bring me back some peanut soup, and a honkin' big slice of peanut butter pie. Soul Food indeed.

Monday, April 05, 2010

REFUGE OF LIES and C.C. Humphreys


One curious backstage note.

Chris Humphreys has come by rehearsals to take a look at some of the blocking in the play. Chris played Henry VIII and Cromwell in A Man For All Seasons a couple years back - suitably, as he's a noted historical novelist whose book include the story of "The French Executioner" who King Henry hired to kill Anne Boleyn.

Though we didn't know each other at the time, it turns out that Chris and I spent a night together almost 20 years ago, locked up in a room on Granville Island, slaving away over keyboards. Both of us took part in the first "24 Hour Playwriting Competition" hosted by the New Play Centre in spring 1992. Chris's play, A Cage Without Bars, won the competition and had a production the following year at the New Play Festival. Among the cast, Howard Siegel, who plays Simon Katzmann in Refuge Of Lies. A few years later the play went on in London at one of the best Fringe venues - the Finborough - after what Chris describes as "a hefty rewrite."

I got a runner-up prize for my play Flesh And Blood in that same event, and my prize was some dramaturgy by John Lazarus. That manuscript got sent off to Theatre & Company in Kitchener Ontario, and Artistic Director Stuart Scadron-Wattles commissioned me to develop the play for a 1994 premiere there, under the title Refuge Of Lies.

All of this brings to mind another possible Siegel synchronicity. Howard also directed the premiere of Jericho Pier, for which Evergreen Theatre got Jessie noms in 1996. And something tells me John Keith may have written the first draft of that play for the NPC's 24-Hour Competition. I wonder...

Sunday, April 04, 2010

REFUGE OF LIES Research

Refuge Of Lies is not the story of Jacob Luitjens. But it was his case which triggered the writing of the play.


Saturday, April 03, 2010

April 3 & 4: Falling Out: Hard Feelings in Mixed Mediums

A little piece of shameless self-promotion here (because all those posts I do about PT's work aren't shameless self-promotion but shameless workplace promotion...) My side-project company, Xua Xua Productions is co-hosting a two-night performance piece: FALLING OUT: HARD FEELINGS IN MIXED MEDIUMS. It's similar in format to THE PASSION PROJECT with the audience on their feet milling around and the multimedia performance action happening all around them. I'll be doing choreography and dancing in this one!

FALLING OUT
hard feelings in mixed mediums


A live performance experience on the theme of departures. Letters, poems and monologues set against an evolving backdrop of film, music and dance. Contributions from the audience via text messaging. A unique and spontaneous theatre event over two nights.

Directed and conceived by Josh McNorton
Co-directed by Dani Bryant
Music by persono trio (Shawn Cole, Michelle Faehrmann, Josh McNorton)
Choreography by Andrea Loewen
Production Design by Noel Planet

Performances by Veronica Campbell, Andrea Loewen, Katie Miller, Nick Poisson, Nevada Yates Robart, Jason Yau

APRIL 3 & 4
9pm

The Beaumont Studios
316 West 5th, Vancouver

Opening night party featuring DJ Revise
Original artwork by
Jeff Denomme of Haunted Zoo

$6 advance, $8 door

Purchase tickets in advance at www.joshmcnorton.com


Apr 22 | Father Daughter Reunion, by Sean Devine

Sean is married to Alexa Devine, known to PT audiences for her Jessie-nommed performance in GRACE, and slated to play Emily Morrison in...


play reading
Father Daughter Reunion
by Sean Devine

April 22 | 8pm | Playwrights Theatre Centre, Granville Island

Playreading of "Father Daughter Reunion" by Sean Devine, the new play Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Theatre is developing (in partnership with Pacific Theatre and Playwrights Theatre Centre) for a 2011 production.

"Father Daughter Reunion" is based on real events that took place in Washington DC in 1965, when a Quaker named Norman Morrison set himself on fire below the Pentagon window of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to protest the escalating Vietnam War. Morrison did this with his one-year old daughter in his arms, who miraculously escaped unharmed. Following Morrison's and McNamara's lives leading up to the event, the play also involves fictional encounters between the now grown-up daughter and McNamara when she comes to confront him in the aftermath of 9/11, as well as with her long-dead father, in a conversation that spans a lost generation."

"In The Land Of Believers," by Gina Welch


In the Land of Believers
by Gina Welch (Metropolitan; $25)
New Yorker, Apr 5 2010

When Welch, a Berkeley native who grew up “thinking I was born an atheist the way some people are born Italian,” moved to Virginia for graduate school, she was forced to confront her inherent fear of Evangelicals. The best way to conquer her anxiety, she decided, was to go undercover as a member of Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church, where, though remaining steadfast in her unbelief, she comes to feel moved by many of the rituals and sentiments, and to form intimacies within the church. Unlike human love, she realizes, God love is a “Mobius strip . . . calm and complete, unflinching in the face of anything you could reveal about yourself. Who wouldn’t want that?

Friday, April 02, 2010

REFUGE OF LIES dramaturgical questions

When REFUGE was in rehearsals for a production in 2001, the director sent a few questions about the piece. In case it's of interest...

How did you come up with the name of the play?

The play was originally titled "Flesh And Blood," because of the communion element in the story, the emphasis on family connections, and because of the one Jewish school of thought that says you can only be forgiven by the person who's been wronged, "or by their flesh and blood."

But a local playwright and theatre critic had a play out at that time also called Flesh And Blood, so we figured it would be best to change the title. I had about three days to find a new one, started looking through Shakespeare and the Bible for cool-sounding pertinent quotes, and when I found the passage in Isaiah I was very taken with the resonances not only with deception and retribution, but also the connection with the "hiding place" involved in the play, and therefore other well-known Dutch holocaust stories such as "The Hiding Place" and "The Diary Of Anne Frank." And certainly the complex idea of our sins being "hid in Christ."

The structure is unusual. Can you comment on that?

I got the idea of the Jewish man's initial mysterious appearance (the incident of stopping at the stoplight / seeing the man at the bus stop) when I had exactly that experience while preparing to write the play. (I was in something of an altered state after viewing an extraordinary production of A LIE OF THE MIND at the Vancouver Playhouse). So I played the story through, alternating between escalating scenes with this mysterious man and scenes without him, only coming to realize in the course of writing that his presence related the increasing threat experienced by Rudi from "the real world," as the accusations and court case materialize. The more extreme "dream occurrances" weren't really pre-planned, but came out during the writing of the first draft during a 24-hour playwriting competition at what was then called The New Play Centre in Vancouver: I think I was practically in a dream state myself while writing them, no exaggeration. I would fall asleep sitting at the computer, and wake up to find three pages of "j" or "x" or... Or the climactic scene of the play.

A couple years ago I watched Peter Weir's THE LAST WAVE, which I'd seen 20 or 25 years ago and which made a huge impact on me at the time, though I could remember few details – another "altered state" theatrical experience. Revisiting the film some years after completing the initial version of REFUGE OF LIES, I was astonished to see the escalating appearances of the aboriginal man outside the house, at the door, inside the house, etc., and to re-encounter the idea of "dream time." I had completely forgotten about both aspects of the film, but clearly see how they worked themselves into my play.

I wove in the Paraguay flashback scenes and some present-time Simon scenes in the next phase of script development, when Stuart Scadron-Wattles commissioned the piece for its premiere at Theatre & Company in Kitchener, Ontario – a really fine production that featured Ted Follows in the role of Rudi. Revisiting the play now, for the Firebones production in New York, I fleshed out the role of Rachel with Libby Skala in mind.

What character or cultural background creates the language style?

When I moved from Calgary to Vancouver in 1978 I found myself in a community church founded by a bunch of people who had left the Mennonite denomination to start their own little fellowship in a college cafeteria. So I kind of picked up their culture by osmosis – foods, scraps of Low German, all those Wiebes and Reimers and Neufelds. I'd also known some Dutch people here and there, so there's a blending of the two cultures, as there would be in Rudi's marriage. Since initially creating the play, my family and I have ended up at a Mennonite Brethren church – it's not just the pacifism: damn, those Mennonites can make music! – and I've been able to nuance some of the details in my revisions for this production.

Also in those ensuing years, I got to know a couple who are subscribers to Pacific Theatre (my company in Vancouver), and when I began this round of rewrites it dawned on me that they may have known Jacob Luitjens, whose case precipitated the writing of my play. It turns out that in fact they'd served on the ministerial team at the church where he was a member. I invited them to the round-table development readings this spring, and their comments further informed several details.