“Raw, gritty and real, Smokescreen provides a thought provoking look inside one of today’s hottest hot topics. Honest, funny and sometimes shockingly blunt, this show is a great show for anyone who ever used, refused, thought about or been touched by marijuana.”
-Laura Ruddock, Winnipeg SUN
One act drama.
Smokescreen is an exploration of values and of truth and denial between a father and son with the adolescent drug culture as a backdrop. The story centres on a savvy, charismatic but troubled young man named Trent Dolin. Trent has been convicted of trafficking marijuana and as the play begins, he arrives for an appointment with Rayzee deGruiter, a newly minted youth care worker assigned to ‘easy cases’. Trent is anything but. He views marijuana use as an innocuous, innocent, peace promoting pastime demonized by a corrupt world. He views his trafficking as more of a public service than a crime. Rayzee slowly strips away the layers of justification that support and mythologize adolescent marijuana use. For Jeff, this means a roller coaster of denial, self-pity, rage and attempts to control. At the moment of breakthrough, their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Trent’s father who ratchets the conflict up to a new level. Rayzee must broker a deal between these two warring factions that tests all her skill and patience so that Trent can envision a new paradigm for his drug behaviour.
HOW TO GET A COPY
“Very intelligent and authentic…”
– Wolfgang Hohmann, Fuldaer Zeitung, Berlin. April 22, 2010.
As a playwright, the impetus to write Smokescreen came from watching my nephew, son and daughter go through the ‘marijuana years.’ What I experienced was that my children viewed marijuana as next to harmless. They were not alarmed at daily use, day time use, using alone or using during school hours. This was not surprising because Canadian teenagers smoke more weed than their peers in 35 other countries surveyed. While their risk perceptions around drugs like crack and ecstasy are going up, their risk perceptions around marijuana was going down. After all, it’s just herb, right? I always thought so. My generation popularized marijuana, but as a father I found myself in the uncomfortable position of arguing with the rationalizations I had helped to create. But I had no choice. I felt the drug was subtly affecting my children’s mood and behaviour in ways that they were unaware. I felt I was losing them, not just to adolescence, but to a drug. I wanted them to stop. The conflict between their attitudes and my own forms the emotional core of the play.
But marijuana is much more than just a drug. It has political, economic and cultural ramifications that connect teenagers to an adult world which they see, accurately, is confused. As a writer from that world, I knew my audience was going to be deeply suspicious of a ‘drug play’. They have all experienced doom and gloom, ‘reefer madness’ style warnings which they have discovered are exaggerated. Once that happens, all drug messages, reasonable or not, become bogus. That is why Trent is so articulate and so defiant. It’s why he never gives in. The audience alone is left to be judge and jury.
Teenagers want to know if Trent’s story is true. I tell them it’s not true but it is profoundly real. I hope you find it so.
-David S. Craig
Smokescreen by David S. Craig premiered in February of 2005 in Toronto. The play was produced by Roseneath Theatre, directed by Ed Roy and designed by Andjelija Djuric. The cast included Andrew Craig as Trent, Keira Loughran as Rayzee and Stewart Arnott as Jeff.
In February, 2006 Roseneath Theatre re-mounted the play for performances at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre in Toronto, Youtheatre in Montreal and the Kravis Centre in West Palm Beach (the American premiere) as well as high school performances in northern Ontario.
At the same time, The Manitoba Theatre for Young People in Winnipeg produced their own production which toured Manitoba for ten weeks. In the same season the play was produced by Theatre New Brunswick.
In September of 2006, the play premiered at the Nephesh Theatre in Tel Aviv, Israel. The play was translated into Hebrew and directed by Howard Rypp.
On October 24th, 2007 the play premiered at Sehremini College, Istanbul in a production by the TND Group Theatre directed and translated into Turkish by Tülin Ceylan.
On November 10, 2007 the play premiered Germany at Theater Vorpommern in Greifswald/ Stralsund under the title “Big Deal?”. The play was translated into German by Anke Ehlers.
On February 13th, 2008 the play opened at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto in a double bill produced by Obsidian Theatre, Roseneath Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille.
On October 24th, 2008 the play was produced by Concrete Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta directed by Caroline Howarth.
On March 22, 2009 the play premiered in a French language version translated by Lisa L’Heureux in a production by Théâtre Sixiemme (Vancouver, British Columbia) directed by Rachel Peake.
In Spring 2010, the play was produced by The Grips Theatre in Berlin, as well as six other German Theatres.
Coming in 2012, the play will be remounted by Concrete Theatre in Edmonton.