Where do you live?
Where are you from? Hometown?
Halifax, Nova Scotia.
When did you start writing?
I wrote a murder mystery about cats when I was in grade 4. It was a hit.
Why did you start writing?
I started writing during university because I was lonely. Writing about other people who were lonely made me feel saner, and more connected to the world in a way.
What inspired this play?
A woman named Alice, who I cared for in my extremely brief stint in the health care field, inspired this play. Alice was fierce, trying with all her might to understand where she was and who she was. If she had been complacent, her life in the nursing home would have been so much easier, but she was a fighter. I admired that, though it was also terribly sad. She stayed on my mind, and then later, when I learned more about early-onset Alzheimer’s, the title “Mabel’s Last Performance” sprang into my head. And so it began!
Do you have a day-job? What do you do other than writing?
During the day I am a community developer with a housing agency for people with mental illness.
What time of day do you write best?
If I start writing in the early morning, I tend to hit my stride at 10am. Sometimes, kinda, maybe. I wish there was a simple formula…
Where do you write? (coffee shops, home etc.?)
Home most of the time, coffee shops when I’m starting to lose my sanity and motivation!
How long did it take you to write this play?
I started writing “Mabel’s Last Performance” in a playwriting class with Kit Brennan in the winter of 2009, and I officially stopped working on it summer 2011.
What do you like best about writing for theatre compared to other mediums?
Theatre writing seems more immediate. I love how novels can delve into a character’s psyche, but theatre is interesting because you can’t see a character’s innermost motivations, you can only see what they do. I find that really stimulating. I also love how it then requires a team effort to bring it to life; the writer lays down a solid foundation, the actors embody it and add complexity, directors conduct it, designers riff off of it, stage managers keep everyone breathing, audience members gather in a physical space together to experience it, etc. It can be such an amazing thing to be a part of.