Skylar (working title) by Colleen Murphy

Skylar (working title) by Colleen Murphy

by Colleen Murphy

Skylar (working title) by Colleen Murphy

As part of Theatre Network’s 2021 Works in Progress Series

(Morris Foundation/Theatre Network Commission)

Live-streamed Sunday, March 28 at 2pm MT

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Missed it? Watch below.

Today 17-year-old Emma is setting up her high school science experiment using saliva from the family dog, Axel. Her half-brother, Danny, turns 25 today and when he gets home from work there’ll be a family party. Violet, Emma’s mom, is making a birthday cake but she’s mad because someone ate the jam she planned to use.  Danny and Emma’s father, Winston, just bought a brand new fan but it’s not working and the June heat wave is relentless.

The Blaze family is an ordinary working class family who are happy in their own dysfunctional way… but today things are set in motion that will blow a hole through all their lives.




Colleen Murphy was born in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, and raised in Northern Ontario. Her play PIG GIRL won the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama as well as the 2014 Carol Bolt Award. THE DECEMBER MAN / L’HOMME DE DÉCEMBRE won the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, the CAA/Carol Bolt Award and the Enbridge Playwrights Award.  Other plays THE BREATHING HOLE (shortlisted for the Susan Blackburn Prize, U.S.), BRIGHT BURNING, ARMSTRONG’S WAR, THE GOODNIGHT BIRD, BEATING HEART CADAVER (shortlisted for the 1999 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama), and THE PIPER.  Libretti include FANTASMA (c. Ian Cusson), OKSANA G., (c. Aaron Gervais) for Tapestry Opera, and MY MOUTH ON YOUR HEART, (c. August Murphy-King) for Toy Piano Composers and Bicycle Opera.  Colleen twice won prizes in the CBC Literary Competition.  She is also an award-winning filmmaker and her distinct films have played in festivals around the world. Colleen has been Writer-in-Residence at ten theatres and universities including the Lee Playwright-in-Residence at the U of A and Finborough Theatre in London UK. In 2017, Colleen was awarded a Canada Council New Chapter Grant to write a six-hour play GEOGRAPHY OF FIRE / LA FURIE ET SA GÉOGRAPHIE about The Battle on the Plains of Abraham in 1759, and in 2019 she received the Playwright Guild of Canada’s Lifetime Membership Award for her body of work.



Hunter Cardinal is a sakāwithiniwak (Woodland Cree) theatrical artist hailing from Sucker Creek Cree First Nation and currently based in Edmonton, Alberta. Holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Alberta, class of 2015, Hunter has performed across Canada and off-Broadway in New York. Recent stage credits include Titus Bouffonious (Theatre Network), Lake of the Strangers (Naheyawin and Fringe Theatre) and Hamlet (Freewill Shakespeare Festival). He is humbled by the steadfast support of his community, with notable achievements to date including the 2020 Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role in a Comedy for his work as Fink in Titus Bouffonious, the 2019 Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding New Play given to Lake of the Strangers, his first play co-written with his sister, and dubbed Edmonton’s Best Actor by Vue Weekly in 2018.



Helen Belay (she/her) is an actor and storyteller that has been playing with words and obsessed with all things beautiful since she was a wee babe in Bedford, England. A graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting program, her recent theatre credits include in Here There Be Night (Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre/Theatre Yes/Theatre Network/Catalyst Theatre/Northern Light Theatre), until the next breath (Catalyst Theatre/NAC), The Blue Hour (SkirtsAFire Festival), her Sterling-nominated turn in The Society of the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius (Theatre Network), Cinderella (Globe Theatre), Vidalia (Teatro La Quindicina), Concord Floral (Edmonton Fringe), Middletown, All For Love, Lenin’s Embalmers (Studio Theatre). She is currently one of Citadel Theatre’s Associate Artists.


Michelle Todd is pretty pleased to share space with these fine folks at Network and excited to test drive this family of Colleen’s . An Edmonton native, Michelle has been active in the arts community for over 25 years as an actor, writer, choreographer, director, facilitator, and producer. A graduate of MacEwan’s Theatre Arts program Michelle most recently performed with Catalyst, Saint Maggie Productions, Shadow Theatre, and Northern Light Theatre and was 2020’s recipient of Theatre Alberta’s Michelle Dias Community Award.



Kenneth T. Williams calls his professional path a “guidance counselor’s nightmare.” He’s been a soldier, bartender, rock musician, and door-to-door encyclopedia salesman. He took a playwriting class in university and immediately dropped his plans to go to law school. As a journalist, he was a member of the very first news team for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. He also managed to write a few plays. In Care, Café Daughter, Gordon Winter, Thunderstick, Bannock Republic, Street Corner Playwright, Suicide Notes and Three Little Birds have been produced across Canada. Paris SK was streamed live by the Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre. The Herd was recently presented as part of Tarragon Theatre’s Acoustic series. He lives in Edmonton with his partner, Dr. Melissa Stoops, with their cats, Augustus and Drusilla, and is an assistant professor in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta. He is a member of the George Gordon First Nation in the Treaty 4 territory.



Bradley is an MFA graduate in directing from the University Alberta. He joined Theatre Network in 1996 to create the multidisciplinary emerging artist festival – Nextfest. In 2014 Bradley accepted the dual role of Artistic & Executive Director for Theatre Network. Some recent productions include: BED AND BREAKFAST, THE EMPRESS & THE PRIME MINISTER, MINERVA – QUEEN OF THE HANDCUFFS, INFINITY, The Sterling Award Winning Production IRMA VOTH, BUST, GORDON, RED, THE LAST FIVE YEARS, ARMSTRONG’S WAR, the Governor General Nominated THE GRAVITATIONAL PULL OF BERNICE TRIMBLE, the Sterling Award Winning LITTLE ONE, DRIVING MISS DAISY, the Governor General Award Winning PIG GIRL, the Sterling Award Winning LET THE LIGHT OF DAY THROUGH, WHERE THE BLOOD MIXES, IN ON IT, MOVING ALONG, TWELFTH NIGHT, PUBLIC SPEAKING, DOG, THUNDERSTICK, BUDDY, ALIAS GODOT, MISERY, CLOSER AND CLOSER APART, the Sterling Award Winning SUMMER OF MY AMAZING LUCK, TRUE WEST, GIRL IN THE GOLDFISH BOWL, HOSANNA, MARION BRIDGE, A SKULL IN CONNEMARA, the Sterling Award Winning glam rock musical HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, and HIGH LIFE.