Director’s Note: True West

Feb 09, 2006

It was in 1985 when I saw the video of John Malkovich and Gary Sinise in the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of TRUE WEST. I was blown away that you could do that in the theatre and I immediately read all of Sam Shepard’s plays. It was a turning point in a young man’s life.
It was two summers ago that David McNally and I were teaching acting and directing workshops in Regina and we ran into Lorne Cardinal. We started with some dinner and soon it turned into a night of drinking and laughing that went into the wee wee hours of the morning and we all said ‘we have to do a play together’.
It was last season that I completed my dream of directing HOSANNA, because in Quebec in the 1980’s Michel Tremblay’s plays were banned from being done in English. At that same moment in time another young theatre artist (Jeff Page) was in theatre school at the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, when Sam Shepard banned all productions of his plays in New Mexico because he was living there at the time and saw a bad production.
As well, I have been a huge fan and have yearned to work with Maralyn Ryan for years now.
Finally, it was last spring when a play that was supposed to be produced this season was just not ready and I had to find another play – fast. I asked myself a very important question – one that I often tend to forget to ask myself – what do you want to do? And a very small voice inside (like a child’s) said TRUE WEST.
And now you have it fully realised before you.
I usually attempt to give you some inner thoughts on the plays that we do here, but this time out I thought it was more appropriate to share with you the six degrees of how the idea of a production comes together.
And that sometimes it takes years for plays and players to come together. Even when they have been there the whole time quietly waiting for you to approach.