Included are: Curtsy by Brian Drader, In the Yichud Room by Joel Fishbane, Suicide Notes by Kenneth T. Williams, Canada House by J. Karol Korczynski, Starter Home by Katherine Koller, Three Dogs Barking by Frank Barry, and Purity Test by Scott Sharplin. In plays for three actors, everyone is fighting their own battle in a sharp-cornered ring, which flings them together and then apart. These seven plays from writers across the country paint a dark and mainly urban picture of Canada in the first decade of this new millennium. Love is variously celebrated and thrown away; as is tolerance, as is hope. Many of the characters are running as hard as they can away from themselves. At the same time, they are endearing, caustic, funny, and very human.
Three people or objects placed at equidistance form a triangle, which is a sharp-cornered, spiky sort of a shape. They don't roll well, they're not curvy. They give off pointed vibes. So, I discovered, do recent Canadian plays for three actors—at least, the ones that I was drawn to for this collection.Seven plays of various lengths, by writers living in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto, Montreal and St. John's, form a darkly and mainly urban picture of Canada in the first decade of this new century and millennium. Some of their themes are not for the faint of heart. Love is variously celebrated and thrown away—as is tolerance, as is hope. There's a lot of substance abuse, as well as other kinds of abuse; many of the characters are running as hard as they can away from themselves. At the same time, they can be endearing, caustic and often extremely funny, because they are very human. Three of the plays have a writer (poet, novelist, screenwriter, journalist) as a character, and—especially when considered together—these dramas question what it's like trying to live, stay sane and document the world we've inherited (and created) at this poised, imminent heartbeat in time. Even the two gentler, shorter comedies have dark edges: a young woman mourned by a grieving father, an affection-starved, spooky landlady. In plays for three actors, it seems everyone is fighting their own battle in a sharp-cornered ring, which flings them together and then apart. Oddly, taken as a whole, they become almost uplifting.The playwrights range from established voices, whose work you may have encountered before, to emerging writers of various ages. Their backgrounds, too, are widely differing and contribute to the ways in which they tell their characters' stories. For each, three actors are required to work in a vibrant ensemble, with all corners fully inhabited.With these seven plays, I hope the anthology also demonstrates the ever-evolving nature of new writig for the theatre, which is acutely aware of the speed with which we now process image, sound, and even time and space. Scenes and characters morph seamlessly, borrowing from new techniques of film as well as the ancient craft of oral storytelling, while remaining true to the necessities and immediacy of theatre.I thank the writers whose work appears here, as well as the many other playwrights who submitted their scripts. I hope this collection may spark further productions, and perhaps a few heated discussions about our future, our country, and our theatre.—Kit Brennan, editor