Playwright’s Note: Buddy

May 07, 2009

In the creation of Buddy, I have had the pleasure of working with artists who allowed me to take a giant step in terms of the themes I write about. Just by being involved, they have influenced the work. Their talents have added immeasurably to this play, and whatever credit comes my way must be shared equally with them.
Discovering new modes of collaboration is one of the things that makes an artist look at his/her work with fresh eyes. As soon as you add another vision to the process, the product expands to allow another point of view into the work.
It has been, at every step, a project that explored themes of masculinity. How these themes were explored, however, has shifted with every re-write. The journey has been an exhilarating and exhausting one, as lives and experiences were explored and mined for meaning.
There is a brief period in a man’s life when he faces a world of possibilities. The edge of manhood poses many choices, all of which have gigantic ramifications down the road. The choice is not whether or not to be a man, but rather, what kind of man to be.   The desire for the adventure of adulthood is matched by a longing to have things remain the way they are when you’re a teenager – flying down the road in your car, tasting freedom but knowing little of the responsibilities of the life ahead.
It is a time many cling to for as long as possible… and no wonder. It’s the end of boyhood.
Buddy is about that last gasp of boyhood: stuck between two realities, not belonging to either. The people around you become a sign of what you’re trying to leave behind, or what you’re clinging to. You want to shake off their perceptions, and reinvent yourself – or you want to hold on to the image you have created, fearing what will remain if it shatters.
Small-town Canada is one of the last bastions of the classic western white male. The old codes still exist, the ancient battles are still fought. The rules are still the rules, and there are those who fight to keep it the way it has always been. It’s the image of the rebel, the maverick – and yet the ones who rebel against it are the real mavericks. They pay the price for not belonging. And if they survive, they are the ones who are best equipped to move forward.
Buddy represents that same sense of departure and nostalgia within the journey that is my writing career. Earlier this year, I was lucky to revisit my very first play for the final time. To be able to follow up that experience with my newest artistic venture within the same season is a thrilling opportunity. I can feel the new themes resonating, and I can feel a new style emerging. The two pieces contrast and compliment each other.
Buddy was developed during my stint as Playwright In Residence at Theatre Network. I would also like to express my gratitude to The Edmonton Arts Council, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and The Canada Council for the Arts for their generous support during the development of this project, as well as the University of Alberta’s 10 Days of Madness playwriting competition for the opportunity to create the initial draft of this play.
Also, I would like to say a special thank you to Bradley Moss, whose imagination and vision have been essential to this project.