Peter is putting on a show. He’s a bit stressed. In the show, he will read from a manuscript. It’s a large manuscript, but don’t worry, he’s only going to read the parts about him, and there aren’t many. It’s a memoir written by someone who abandoned him twice—once as a baby and once when he was a young man of thirteen. This person has figured prominently in Peter’s life for over fifty years now, but judging by the memoir, he has not figured so much in theirs. So perhaps it’s going to be a very short show? Again, don’t worry, Peter has other skills which he will share. And if Peter can keep his cool, and if the people who work at the theatre can help him set everything up, and if the audience can just give him a little bit of their time and their attention and their silence, maybe he can tell everyone something about who we really are and who we are to others and who we might be to ourselves when we’re alone. And maybe that can make it all a little bit easier.
About the authors
Daniel MacIvor was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He is the author and director of numerous award-winning theatre productions including See Bob Run, Wild Abandon, 2-2-Tango, This Is A Play, The Soldier Dreams, You Are Here, How It Works, A Beautiful View, Communion, and Bingo! From 1987 to 2007 with Sherrie Johnson he ran da da kamera, a respected international touring company that brought his work to Australia, the UK and extensively throughout the US and Canada. With long time collaborator Daniel Brooks, he created the solo performances House, Here Lies Henry, Monster, Cul-de-sac and This Is What Happens Next. Daniel won a GLAAD Award and a Village Voice Obie Award in 2002 for his play In On It, which was presented at PS 122 in New York. In 2006, Daniel received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama for his collection of plays I Still Love You. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Siminovitch Prize in Theatre.
Daniel Brooks has worked as a director writer, actor, producer, and teacher. He is a mainstay of this countryâ??s theatre, working with a network of Ontario-based writers, playwrights, and directors who virtually define the current scene (Guillermo Verdecchia, Daniel MacIvor, and John Mighton among them). He has been co-director of the Augusta Company and da da kamera, and playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre. He is currently Artistic Director of Necessary Angel Theatre Company.
Among his works as a writer are The Return of Pokey Jones (Poor Alex Theatre, 1985), The Noam Chomsky Lectures (with Verdecchia, Great Canadian Theatre Company, 1992), The Lorca Play (with MacIvor, Theatre Centre, 1992), Here Lies Henry (with MacIvor, Buddies in Bad Times, 1996), and Insomnia (with Verdecchia, Theatre Centre, 1997).
He has also directed several works, notably MacIvorâ??s House (1992), Mightonâ??s Possible Worlds (1998), Faust (Tarragon Theatre, 1999), Soulpepperâ??s production of Becketâ??s Endgame (1999), and Mightonâ??s Half Life.
Daniel has won several awards, including the Chalmers (for Noam Chomsky, Here Lies Henry, House), the Dora Mavor Moore Award three times for directing, the Edinburgh Fringe First Award (Here Lies Henry); and has been nominated for the Governor Generalâ??s Literary Award (Noam Chomsky). In October 2000, he won the Capital Critics Circle Award for his direction of Possible Worlds. In October 2001, he received the first Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre.
Daniel has also worked in film, notably with Bruce McDonald (whose film Highway 61 was inspired by Pokey.)
His highly innovative work has travelled across Canada and around the world. He is married to Jennifer Ross. They have two daughters, and live in Toronto.
Excerpt: Let's Run Away (by (author) Daniel MacIvor; foreword by Daniel Brooks)
He stomps: Light shift.
He goes back to the manuscript.
Two years ago he sent me a message on his birthday.
It was long and rambling and I imagined written drunk or high.
At first it was all about how he followed me on social media long before I followed him back—
—and then it was about leftist concerns of the day, something called "police at pride" and something about Israel, and then it was about the end of the world, and then it was about an essay he once wrote about the kitchen table from Virginia Woolf , which he said was attached to the email, though it wasn't. And then it went nonsensically sideways and landed firmly in what looked like its point:
He was getting rid of the four books I'd sent,
the four books that he'd held on to for all these years.
And I thought.
Was it only four books? I checked my notes. Yes just four. I considered those difficult books. "Anatomy of Criticism"? I hadn't even read the Northrop Frye myself, I'd only included him because I'd met him a party that Fran Lebowitz held for James Brown at Florent's place in the meat packing district.
What the fuck does that even mean.
And written here is…
He shows us.
"Check with Fran."
I noted that the Woolf I sent him was an early edition.
So I wired Candace some money to make sure Peter got a good price for it.
That's the only time my name is written.
Though we never met again, I continue to monitor him and secretly support him from a trust, paying for his motel room, generally keeping him out of trouble.
In any event it is my hope that he will live out his days more comfortably than he began them.
Though that is entirely up to him.
And if all is lost, Sid Vicious' bass guitar must be worth a fortune by now.
That's all there is of me.
Everything's not in the manuscript though.
That she wrote me a seven word letter.
That she made me six cassette tapes.
Maybe because she thought those things were private. Were just for us.
She left me Sid Vicious' bass guitar.
And this. (the manuscript)
And one day this will get published, and then everyone will see that I'm not just some crazy old faggot with dirty fingernails, and all those fuckers can kiss my ass then.
No. I don't care.
Oh they really are dirty.
I was allowed to take three personal items. I took this ring—it belonged to her grandfather, her denim jacket, and her amber necklace.
He puts on the necklace.
And I took her cane. I stole that. But only because I thought I'm probably going to need it. Because my knee is fucked.
He goes to the window, walking with the cane.
“Equally amusing and disturbing.”
Martin Morrow, The Globe and Mail
“Profoundly unnerving, intriguing and affecting.”
José Teodoro, NOW Magazine