From a media release:
Under the Influence
Since our award-winning production of The Turn of the Screw we've been busy with a new commission and preparing for a production next fall.
Last November, DVxT commissioned John Murrell to write a new play for actors Brian Dennehy, Daniela Vlaskalic and Bruce Godfree.
Under the Influence (working title) is a story about border-crossings of every kind: generational, emotional, political, aesthetic. Three characters who stand on either side of these borders fight about literature, nationality, sex, the future of the world, youth versus age and life versus death while they unwillingly and sometimes agonizingly reveal long-kept secrets about their own feelings, their own histories, their own contradictions.
Envisioning the project, Brian took the lead by talking about how he was always trying to talk to his Canadian colleagues and friends about the Canadian-American question and could never seem to get into the heart of it. We mused that possibly Canadians were too self-effacing and polite to actually get to the truth of it with our American friends, but that indeed, it was a discussion worth having; and worth having onstage.
Brian and Daniela talked about two characters - an older, cynical, fading writer and a younger, shrewd, hungry professor - and the kind of circumstances that would bring them together theatrically. John percolated, filling out narrative, structure and character development and Dennehy's "Niall" and Vlaskalic's "Giovanna" were born: two characters who stand on either sides of national, political, professional and generational borders.
Early in our discussions, John added a third character, a professional and personal companion to "Giovanna", and a foil to "Niall", who would bring the British perspective into play. Bruce Godfree has joined our team to complete the cast.
We will be workshopping the first draft later this summer in Stratford, Ontario.