About the Author

Chris Craddock

Chris Craddock
Chris Craddock is an Edmonton-based actor, producer and writer. His theatre work has been recognized with four Sterling Awards and two Dora Mavor Moore Awards, and his film Turnbuckle was nominated for two Ampia Awards. He is the proud recipient of the Enbridge Emerging Artist award, the Centennial Medal for his contribution to the Arts in Alberta and the Alberta Book Award for his collection of plays for teens, Naked at School. Craddock graduated from the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting Program in 1996 and since then he has worked on stages all across Canada.
Nathan Cuckow
Nathan Cuckow is an award-winning actor, producer, playwright and a co-artistic director of Edmonton’s critically acclaimed theatre company Kill Your Television. Born and raised in Calgary, Cuckow moved to New York City at the age of nineteen and studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Upon graduating, he worked as an administrator in the Education Outreach program for Tony Randall’s National Actors Theatre for the Broadway production of The Sunshine Boys. Cuckow returned to Canada in 1998 and has since then called Edmonton home. In 2007 he received, with Chris Craddock, the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding New York Theater (BASH’d).

Books by this Author


tagged : gay & lesbian
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Naked at School

Naked at School

Three Plays for Teens
tagged : canadian
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Summer of My Amazing Luck

Lights up on Lucy and Lish in the van. Lish sits on the right side of the table, arms out, steering, a plunger sitting on the table, acting as the stick shift. Lucy sits in the passenger seat. She regards the audience.

LUCY: You probably think you're in a theatre right now, but you're not. You're in a van. You're in a van with two women and five kids. The van is in terrible shape, but it's going from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Denver, Colorado. How we got here is a long story. But isn't that what road trips are for? This story is full of kids, so I might as well start like thisŠ

Once upon a time...

Lucy leaves the van and moves downstage. Lish exits.

... there was a little girl named Lucy. And when you're a little girl, you have all these dreams about how life is going to go, and it's easy to believe it, because nothing has happened to you yet. But it isn't long before stuff starts to happen, and happen, until it seems like life can only go a few ways, and all you can do is hope that one of them is good. You hope that things kind of assemble themselves, and that your life is fun and funny and lucky and good.

Mom and Dad appear behind the scrim. They pose as if for a family portrait.

One of the big things that happened to me, is that my Mom died, and I didn't grieve right. It made me have a void inside, and then I was promiscuous. If I had grieved right, my doctor said, if I had grieved right, I wouldn't've been sneaking out all the time to fill up my "void," and I wouldn't've been promiscuous. Being promiscuous means I had sex with all these guys, and then I got pregnant. I was really scared, being only seventeen at the time, with a dead Mom that I was grieving for all wrong ­

Mom and Dad regard each other as Mom disappears behind the scrim.

LUCY: — and a Dad who wasn't grieving all that good either.

Dad bows his head as the lights go out.

LUCY: I got pregnant, and then I had a son.

Lucy moves to her stroller and bends down to look at Dill.

LUCY: A beautiful son named Dill, who I love more than anything. See, Dill was the other big thing that happened to me, and then it was super clear what I had to do. I had to be the best Mom an 18 year old with a grade ten education can be. And I know there are women out there, who can work a full time job and raise their kids super well and keep a tidy house besides. I would love to be like that, like one of those formidable women, but I'm not, and I know that. I have a son, who I love, and he needs stuff. He needs a home with a crib and strained peas and a mobile that spins around and makes him smarter. He needs stuff and so do I. I thought I was totally screwed. But I wasn't. See, lucky for me, I live in Canada.

A gobo of the Canadian flag appears on the scrim. Lucy regards it with a double thumbs up.

LUCY: The best country in the world, a generous, bear hug of a country, where it's okay to be French, and we even save some of our left-over land for the Indians. Canada's not gonna let a baby starve, just because his Grandmother died and his Mother didn't grieve right. They got a net for people that fall down, sort of like a circus. A social safety net. And that's where I ended up, feeling just like a trapeze artist that falls.

A trapeze artist balances on the centre upstage stepladder, behind the scrim. She loses her balance and falls, only to be caught by the WELFARE GUY.

CANADA: Whoa! Canada's gotcha!

LUCY: That's where I am right now. In the social safety net of Canada. In the welfare office.

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Things That Go Bump

from foreword by Kit Brennan

Things that Go Bump, Volume 2 : Plays for Young Audiences is a collection of recent Canadian plays for elementary school age audiences; it is a companion volume to Things that Go Bump, Volume 1: Plays for Young Adults.

These six plays are road and audience-tested, seasoned by professional and touring productions covering most of Canada’s provinces and into the United States. Through humour and great characters, the scripts explore large issues with an entertaining verve.

Three of the plays (Lig & Bittle, Bluenose and Under the Big Top) employ the art of clowningâ��in various ingenious manifestationsâ��to explore large themes of longing and belonging. Two of the plays (The Secret Life of the Octopus and The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavanaugh) take place in the child’s real-life world of school and home, but follow them beyond and into the world of imagination and exploration. A Giraffe in Paris is based on a real event in the early nineteenth century, and whisks the audience into a travel adventure. Cast size for the plays varies from two to four actors.

The playwrights reside in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver; as well as writing for young audiences, they also write for film and television, they are directors and actors, they teach at universities and other professional training schools. The theatre companies which workshopped, commissioned and/or produced and toured the plays are based across Canada; these fine companies include Black Theatre Workshop (Montreal), Carousel Players (St. Catharines), Citadel Theatre (Edmonton), Concrete Theatre (Edmonton), Geordie Productions (Montreal), National Arts Centre (Ottawa), Neptune Theatre (Halifax), Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon), Quest Theatre (Calgary), Roseneath Theatre (Toronto), and Theatre New Brunswick (Fredericton).

Everyone involved in theatre for young audiences will speak of the wonderful sense of fun it generatesâ��and also of the exciting honesty of the audience. If they love it, they’ll tell you so; if they’re bored, you’ll know it. I asked each writer to talk about their experience writing this play, why and how it came about, what happened in the play’s evolution, and how it has been received by the young people for whom it was created. These notes by the writers can be found at the end of each script.

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Two Hands Clapping

rom Foreword

This collection came about out of curiosity and necessity. Curiosity: what's new across the country, how are others tackling the challenges and thrills of the form? Necessity: I teach a course at Concordia University called The Two-Hander, which (as you may suspect) is about writing a play for two actors. Many of the students who take this course have never written a play before, although the majority of them are studying theatre. They come to the course interested in finding out what it is like to create characters, tell a good story, and have their words come to life through the bodies of actors. They discover that first heart-stopping moment when their interior ideas become externalized and revealed through words, actions and events that they've sweated over and committed to paper, and on into the visceral immediacy of an audience's reaction to those very personal, and now public, ideas. That terrifying, exciting experience is a rich eye-opener for anyone who wants to make theatre, in any capacity, a part of their life.

For this book, I wanted a cross-country representation of previously unpublished scripts which included up and coming as well as established writers. A balanced mix of men and women — this in role distribution as much as in the writers themselves. I wanted full-length plays, and plays that are suited for festival or fringe time frames (thirty minutes to an hour). For teaching purposes, I needed a volume that was modestly priced with a healthy selection of scripts of varied styles, themes, and structures. Comedies as well as dramas. Social satire, fantasy, myth, storytelling. Different models of development and of production. Writers employing various angles or techniques: continuous action, intercutting of time and/or characters, actors portraying more than one character, historical events or persons as starting point or inspiration, clown, movement and dance.

Following each script, the writers talk about the work. I opened this up with a series of common questions, followed by a few more specific to the particulars of each play. They write about the initial spark of their idea, about particular structural choices such as how time works, how offstage characters function, if there's a time-lock or driving circumstance propelling the action, when and if it bends naturalism. Some of the writers are also actors, and they talk about writing work for themselves to perform. Two of the plays have been co-written — which is an interesting sidebar in itself, in a book of two-handers — so these writers discuss the process of writing with another person.

The obvious benefit of a play for two actors is that everyone is looking for a good one. They're rare gems, and highly producible. They're satisfying for audiences because you still retain the rich back and forth, the electricity, between actors. And they can be a wonderful journey for the actors because of the density of character arcs, the intensity of the experience.

I hope this collection may fill a gap, spark further productions, inspire writers, actors, designers, educators, producers and other theatre aficionados.

—Kit Brennan, editor

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