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Playwright Vern Thiessen on THE WAY OF WATER

by Vern Thiessen, Playwright

This past December, it was my great privilege to work together with a group of playwrights at the Lark New Play Development Centre's winter retreat.  Within six sessions spread over a short period, each of us created a play and shared it with the others. The group was diverse and the work eclectic.  One of those plays was THE WAY OF WATER. Every week (and sometimes twice) I bore witness not only to Caridad's play being created, but also to a world unveiled, to lives unravelled, to secrets unearthed, to dreams broken, to change taking hold. Watching that play being born was - and remains - a profound theatre experience for me. Perhaps because of the time lag I experienced between scenes, I became obsessed with the play and its people. I thought about them, worried for them, dreamt about them and wondered what would happen to them between readings.  I am not a fan of serial television. I don't get "hooked" on shows as a rule. But Caridad's play lured and hooked me, like the fish the play's characters are so desperately trying to catch. And like the oil to those fish, I too became infected with something, not poison, but an outrage that I rarely feel in the theatre. LIke an Ibsen or Churchill play, THE WAY OF WATER asks difficult questions, not only of its characters, but of its audience. The questions still linger with me.  I will never look at a stream, a river, a lake, or an ocean the same way.

Vern Thiessen is one of Canada's most produced playwrights. His plays have been seen across Canada, the United States, Asia, the United Kingdon, the Middle East, and Europe. Website: