Campbell Webster, the producer of “Anne and Gilbert: The Musical” and one of the first participants of the NTS playwriting program, turned around in his seat just before curtain on the final performance and said, “Have you ever heard of Ibsen’s trolls?”
Apparently Henrik Ibsen, who was one of the most disciplined of playwrights when it came to writing habits (three hours in the morning, lunch, walk, more hours) had a strategy for dealing with reluctance, fatigue and boredom. He had three miniature trolls in his desk drawer. When his energies slackened, he brought out the biggest one. It scowled at him for lassitude. If that didn’t work, he brought out a smaller one, which had a more gruesome expression. “Get back to work”, it menaced. If that failed, he brought out the smallest troll—the most fearsome of all. I find the best troll is a deadline but I love the idea that the monsters get scarier when they get smaller.
This afternoon, I meet with Laurie Steven, AD and Jan Irwin, Dramaturge of Odyssey Theatre to discuss the first draft of “Lysistrata and the Temple of Gaia”. Presenting a first draft is like walking naked through Dundas Square in January. Some elements are brave, some ill advised and the whole thing is probably too long.
Later, I will be meeting Jill Lloyd-Jones and Debbie Nyman at the CODE Conference in Ottawa. We are proud to be launching “Truth in Play”, our scene book for high school drama students and their teachers.
There will be celebrations with libations. Trolls are not invited.