Director’s Note: Closer and Closer Apart

Apr 19, 2007

Sometimes plays take the long way home.
In 2000 Eugene Stickland sent me a copy of his one-act play Closer and Closer Apart after its inaugural production at Lunchbox Theatre in Calgary. As I was reading the play I had a strong feeling that Jim DeFelice should play the role of dad, of Joe Ballantyne. I gave Jim a copy of the play a few weeks later and he told me that he read it with his daughter Gwen.
I then tried to arrange for a way for the play to come to life here in Edmonton. Eugene and I discussed perhaps expanding it, but at that time Eugene felt that he had said what he needed and that to expand the play would not serve the play. We discussed creating a companion piece, we tried to have another playwright to write it.
In the meantime I directed three plays by Eugene here at Theatre Network. Then Eugene left his post of Playwright-in-Residence at Alberta Theatre Projects and he left playwrighting all together. He wrote a novel, he taught, he became a well-liked columnist at the Calgary Herald.
It was at this time last year (almost to the day when you read this) that Eugene decided to go back and write the full-length version of Closer and Closer Apart. I instantly jumped at the chance to work on the play and said I would do whatever I could to help the play.
And now one year later you have before you the world premiere of a play that speaks so softly and eloquently about family, loss and saying I LOVE YOU while you still have the chance. Say it to your parents, your children, your partner, and your friends because Joe is very very right to remind us all “there are no phones in heaven”. I dedicated this production to my grandmother Daisy Moss.