Three on the Boards

Three on the Boards



About the book

Three on the Boards features full-length and one-act scripts for three actors by Canadian playwrights from across the country. Included are: Curtsy by Brian Drader, In the Yichud Room by Joel Fishbane, Suicide Notes by Kenneth T. Williams, Canada House by J. Karol Korczynski, Starter Home by Katherine Koller, Three Dogs Barking by Frank Barry, and Purity Test by Scott Sharplin.

About the authors

Drader, Brian

Brian Drader is an actor, writer, dramaturg and artistic administrator. His plays have been produced in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Awards for his writing include the Herman Voaden National Playwriting Award for The Norbals, and the Philadelphia Brick Playhouse New Play Award for Prok. Prok was also nominated for the 2003 Governor General’s award, the McNally Robinson Book of the Year, and won the Lambda Literary Award for Drama (USA). His play Liar was a finalist in the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation Playwriting Competition, New York, and premiered at Prairie Theatre Exchange in February of 2004. The Norbals, Prok and Liar are all published by Scirocco Drama. His short film Iris and Nathan won the National Screen Institute Drama Prize. A feature film, The Return of the Fabulous Seven, is in development with Markham Street Films, and another feature, Please Mr. Please, is in development with Full Stop Films in Toronto. His most recent play, Curtsy, was part of the On the Verge series at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival and published by Signature editions. Brian has also acted in over seventy professional theatre productions across Canada, as well as numerous films, television projects, and radio dramas. He is presently the Director of Playwriting for the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal.

Barry, Frank

Frank Barry was born in St. John's, Newfoundland and began working in theatre in 1977. He co-founded the award-winning theatre company Shelia's Brush and has toured extensively on the Island and the mainland. He is the author of numerous plays and screenplays and has appeared on the national television show "Gullages." He recently won The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Competition for his screenplay Kimono. He lives and works with his love Rhonda in Old St. John's and is working on a new play for his Wreckhouse production company.

Fishbane, Joel

Joel Fishbane is the Artistic Director of Pumpking Theatre. He sometimes plays the clarinet.

Korczynski, Karol

Karol Korczynski drifted as an itinerant general labourer from Inuvik to Istanbul before writing Canada House during the winter of 2002. Its thematic sequel, Canada Steel, was staged at Toronto's Tarragon Theatre in February 2008. Korczynski has also written a one-act play titled Hoozgow and is completing a novella, Tales From the Business Cycle, based on a rather unfortunate residency on Vancouver's notorious Skid Row some years ago. Ironically, Korczynski now works for a bank.

Koller, Katherine

Katherine Koller lives in Edmonton, Alberta, and writes for radio, stage and screen. Her first plays were produced at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, and her plays for CBC Radio include Cowboy Boots and a Corsage and Magpie. In 2007, Walterdale Playhouse in Edmonton and Alumnae Theatre in Toronto produced Perdu and Intimacy, Inc. Koller is currently in Workshop West Theatre's Playwrights' Unit, working on a new play called Lily of the Prairie, which is about the power of one in cataclysmic times.

Williams, Kenneth T.

Kenneth T. Williams is a Cree playwright and journalist whose plays Thundersticks, Suicide Notes and AWOL have been produced across Canada. He has two feature-length screenplays in development, Café Daughter and The Red Majesty. He resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Sharplin, Scott

Scott Sharplin is an Edmonton-based playwright, director, and educator. His scripts have been produced by Calgary's Lunchbox Theatre and Shakespeare Company, as well as Edmonton's Theatre Network, Sound & Fury Theatre, Theatre Squared, and Walterdale Playhouse. Previous publications include "Burnt Remains," in the anthology Staging Alternative Albertas (Playwrights Canada Press, 2002). He is the former Artistic Director of Walterdale Playhouse, and has served as Alberta Playwrights' Network's Vice-President North. Sharplin teaches English, Drama and Creative Writing at Grant MacEwan College.

About the editor

Editor Kit Brennan is an award-winning playwright whose work has been seen across the country. She is a faculty member at Concordia University’s Theatre Department in Montreal, where she coordinates the undergraduate playwriting specialization.


Three people or objects placed at equidistance form a triangle, which is a sharp-cornered, spiky sort of a shape. They don't roll well, they're not curvy. They give off pointed vibes. So, I discovered, do recent Canadian plays for three actors—at least, the ones that I was drawn to for this collection.

Seven plays of various lengths, by writers living in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto, Montreal and St. John's, form a darkly and mainly urban picture of Canada in the first decade of this new century and millennium. Some of their themes are not for the faint of heart. Love is variously celebrated and thrown away—as is tolerance, as is hope. There's a lot of substance abuse, as well as other kinds of abuse; many of the characters are running as hard as they can away from themselves. At the same time, they can be endearing, caustic and often extremely funny, because they are very human. Three of the plays have a writer (poet, novelist, screenwriter, journalist) as a character, and—especially when considered together—these dramas question what it's like trying to live, stay sane and document the world we've inherited (and created) at this poised, imminent heartbeat in time. Even the two gentler, shorter comedies have dark edges: a young woman mourned by a grieving father, an affection-starved, spooky landlady. In plays for three actors, it seems everyone is fighting their own battle in a sharp-cornered ring, which flings them together and then apart. Oddly, taken as a whole, they become almost uplifting.

The playwrights range from established voices, whose work you may have encountered before, to emerging writers of various ages. Their backgrounds, too, are widely differing and contribute to the ways in which they tell their characters' stories. For each, three actors are required to work in a vibrant ensemble, with all corners fully inhabited.

With these seven plays, I hope the anthology also demonstrates the ever-evolving nature of new writig for the theatre, which is acutely aware of the speed with which we now process image, sound, and even time and space. Scenes and characters morph seamlessly, borrowing from new techniques of film as well as the ancient craft of oral storytelling, while remaining true to the necessities and immediacy of theatre.

I thank the writers whose work appears here, as well as the many other playwrights who submitted their scripts. I hope this collection may spark further productions, and perhaps a few heated discussions about our future, our country, and our theatre.

—Kit Brennan, editor

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