Friday, July 17, 2015

I Interview Playwrights Part 762: Kevin Kerr

Kevin Kerr

Hometown: Kamloops, BC

Current Town: Victoria, BC

Q:  Tell me about Unity (1918).

A:  Unity is set at the tail end of WWI in a small town on the Canadian parries in the weeks around the outbreak of the Spanish Flu -- an influenza pandemic that traveled around the globe in a matter of months and killed an estimated 20 - 50 million people. Canada had particularly high casualties in the war, but the flu killed more Canadians over the course of several weeks than died in four years of fighting. But that's only the backdrop. The play itself explores the infectious nature of fear, our ongoing fascination with the idea of the end of times. It's a coming of age tale told from the vantage point of a young woman contending with a rapidly changing world. It's love, sex, and death at the edge of the apocalypse.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  I'm in rehearsals for a piece called The Night's Mare -- an outdoor spectacle about a community haunted by the ghosts of a eyeless horse and her rider whose world is turned upside down when a power couple from Hollywood show up to research a possible movie and have in tow their precocious nine-year old. The child is left in the care of a local 18 year old girl who is drawn into the haunted forest by the kid and into the heart of her darkest fears. A long night's journey into day. It's a family friendly comic thriller.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  My ideal would be that every play produced itself changes one thing (or more) about theatre... that is to say that theatre would be recognized as responsive, immediate, ever-changing, shape shifting. That every play is about two things: it's about the thing its about, but its also a manifest -- the playwrights vision of what theatre can become.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Caryl Churchill, Robert Lepage, Shakespeare and every kid currently in theatre school

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Physical, spectacular, athletic. Theatre with more questions than answers.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  Find your collaborators, don't think of playwriting as a solo act.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Unity (1918) receives its NY premiere with Project: Theater at The Gene Frankel Theatre August 6 -23.
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