Fall Writing Circle (2022)

As the air gets chilly and the leaves take their rest after a long summer of absorbing the sun’s rays kinda nonstop, I invite you to join me online on Tuesday evenings with your computer and the writing implement of your choice to throw down some words.

Back together with Frog in Hand (who are up to a wide array of things this fall, including a touring dance photography exhibit, a Worldbuilding for Choreographers class and a new class collab with onUP Productions called Dance on Film), Writing Circle is a weekly class to get you writing by exploring prompts and trying your hands at a variety of mediums.


About the Class

“This class is a must for anyone who fears the blank page (as I did).”

Writing Circle Participant

This 8-week writing class will be led by Andrew Gaboury from 7pm-9pm (EST) on Tuesdays, October 25th to December 13th.

The purpose of this course is simply to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys. You will embrace stream of consciousness and write with abandon to escape the clutches of your inner critic. You will acknowledge and discover your natural creativity. As you define a healthy writing practice, you will explore various writing forms to help widen your creative vision. This class will touch upon fiction, poetry and playwriting. As the course progresses there will be time set aside for sharing and feedback.

Each class will be a combination of writing prompts, a guided “lecture” facilitated by Andrew, group or solo writing time, and sharing circles.

What you will need:

+Zoom access & a webcam
+A Google account (the class work will be posted to a Google Classroom site)
+Writing implements
+Books (of any kind) close by
+Paper or a notebook or a napkin or the back of a receipt

Section 1: Fiction

Stream of consciousness, self-reflection, narrative styles, genre & world building.

Section 2: Poetry

Metaphor & the senses, free verse, beat & spoken word.

Section 3: Playwriting

Playwriting features, narrative structure, character voice & dialogue.

Testimonials from past participants!

“I would say that the Circle helped me to put a pen to a page in all the best ways. With so many different mediums of writing to discover, the 8 weeks provided me the accountability to write! And write some more! That can be the hardest part but with other writers to inspire me, I learned how to develop a consistent writing practice.”

“Andrew made it totally comfortable and easy to engage at any level. Strongly recommend.”

“Writing circle is a great opportunity to develop your creative writing and to gain feedback from others on your work.”

Sign up through the class page on Eventbrite.

dossier: Andrew Young and Shayne Monaghan for MONDAY NIGHT OF NEW WORKS

Welcome back! After a short break, the dossier series is back up and running, starting with an exciting event indeed.

What Andrew and Shayne do with their Monday Night of New Works is an absolutely indispensable commodity. Usually falling on an “every-six-weeks” kind of schedule, Monday Night of New Works (which oddly finds itself on a Tuesday this month) does the impossible by creating an open, round-table-minus-the-table atmosphere more than welcoming to those stumbling in off the streets. It is a place to bring a script and know that everyone sitting in the circle is completely open for whatever is thrown at them; it is a place to go knowing that everyone present is an actor, a playwright, a producer, a general enthusiast of theatre ready to read, hear and talk about your piece, if you want them to. There is no screening process. An email, saying you’d like to have something read is enough to guarantee space (unless they have received too many – and even then they’ll tell you to bring something anyway, because, really, who knows what’ll happen?).

Andrew and Shayne do a lovely job of making the space comfortable. As soon as you walk in you’ll be introduced to everyone there and yet to come. They usually have coffee, water and some sort of candy. The city is all the more richer for having an event so open and warm as this one. I’ve been lucky to have one of my troublesome scripts read at the last instalment, and am grateful for what I received.

That said, let’s meet the boys.

Here’s dossier #9:

Andrew Young Shayne Monaghan

Who are we talking with?

Andrew Young [above], Co-founder of Monday Night of New Works, Actor, Puppeteer, Artistic Director of My Brother the Changeling.

Shayne Monaghan [below], Co-founder of Monday Night of New Works, Actor, Playwright, Educator, Artistic Director of ChickenWing Theatre. 

What draws you to theatre?

Andrew: The direct connection with the audience, the instant reaction you are able to hear. The fact that anything can go wrong at any moment and you have to be able to adapt, rediscovering the character show after show. Everything is in flux, hopefully within the set blocking.

Shayne: A show? Well mostly I hear good reviews and do my past to see what I can. Theatre as a career? I love the adrenaline you feel when on stage. My high school made me fall in love with theatre. I was luckily enough to be part of a touring ensemble of His, Tom Slater’s, original production of “…A Permanent Solution.” and before every show he would say today you’re going to change some ones life. That gave me goosebumps.

What is the earliest memory you have of wanting, or needing to do this?

A: To perform? For me, I think I was 14 or 15, I think on a school trip to see a play. I grew up in a rural area so once a year my high school packed up a bus full of kids and made our way to the city for the day and see two shows. On the trip I saw a one-woman play called “the shape of a Girl” by Joan MacLeod. It a fairly dark story but the way it was simply one girl talking about these experiences I was enthralled by the storytelling of the show. Since then I said that’s what I want to do, tell stories.

S: It was December of 2010, and Andrew and I were sitting in our living room and, after reading our own shows for the Nth time we said to each other, “Lets invite people from school and class to come over and we can get them to do a play reading for us, and we can invite others to bring work too! We can make a night of it.”

Why Monday Night of New Works?

A: After being out of Humber for a few months, Shayne and I had gotten a few people together to read our scripts. We were sitting at the pub talking about said scripts that we were developing , or trying to write an ending to rather. Shayne and I had both read numerous drafts, new scenes over and over and found it really refreshing to hear new voices in our plays. In school we were lucky to have a playwriting class where we would bring in something and it would be read in front of the class. It was great hearing different voices week to week each with different interpretations of the characters. We said wouldn’t it be great if we could get a network of people to do the same thing on a regular basis and just keep developing these new works. Giving ourselves imposed deadlines in the process.

S: We wanted to hold it on a Monday because most theatres are dark on Mondays so we were trying to optimize our intake. Plus what else is there to do on a Monday?

What can we expect from Monday Night of New Works? (is there a mandate for what you host, what’s the layout of the event?)

A: It’s an open forum to talk about play- or screen-writing. A place to experiment with an idea and hear something off the page. A place so that you can stop forcing your roommates or friends to read your play over and over again.

S: What Andrew said, plus somewhere for fresh eyes, ears and opinions. Our slogan is: Nothing too Rough, Nothing too Short.

What is your favourite memory from a past Monday Night of New Works?

A: It’s anytime I hear a script that is brought back for a second or third time and I get to hear how it has changed and/or grown since. Or seeing something that I heard pieces of or maybe even first draft that has developed and since been mounted as a full production. Seeing it up on stage is such a great experience.

S: My favorite memory has to be our first time in the fringe creation lab when a gentleman came with a script he was developing for a community project, and we found out he came from Barrie. I was flabbergasted that we drew some one from there. Also, a friend of Andrew’s comes from Windsor. Just the dedication that people have and the repeat attendees astonishes me.

Describe Monday Night of New Works in three adjectives or a phrase.

1) Nothing too Rough, Nothing too Short

2) Social

3) Community

Do you have anything you want to share with us? A story? A photo? A song? A video?

A: Our Next Monday Night of New Works is held at the Fringe Creation Lab on March 26th (on the Tuesday[!!!]) at 7:00pm. Come Check it out if you would like to see what we are about.

During New Works we make a point of holding a brief talking point called “Shameless Self Promotion.” This is were anyone who is working on anything has the opportunity to plug anything they are working on, developing or have an idea they want to work on without trying to sound too pushy about it. In that vein we are going to continue with this Idea.

I am currently working on a show with Theatre Lab that is going up in a double bill in the Factory theatre studio space. The show is called, “To the Last Cry”. It opens March 20th and plays till the 24th with shows at 8:00pm with a 2:00pm show on the 24th as well. It’s a double bill show, so there’s Theatre Lab’s show and another put on by Pandemic theatre called “Tjorvi ” the same night. More details at http://theatrelab.ca/

S: What I would like to share is that we try to support all the shows that come through, and the more that come, and the more people support us, the more I feel we can do. Monday Night of New Works has helped in the Launch of several successful shows. Brandon Crone’s “Turtleneck,” (2013), Alex Daults “The Campbell House Story” (2012), Victoria Velenosi “Princess of Porn” (Fringe 2012), Micheal Atlin “Zugzwang” (SummerWorks 2011), as well is this upcoming Fringe’s “The 8th Day” by Shayne Monaghan, ChickenWing Theatre.

Also Check out New Works at http://mondaynightofnewworks.wordpress.com/

Or find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MondayNightOfNewWorks

Or on twitter @MondayNewWorks

mnnw poster

dossier: Brandon Crone for TURTLENECK and SAFEWORD

Today’s dossier is exciting to me because it is the first to profile a Toronto playwright. I’ve met Brandon at a few events and his charisma and general excitement for anything theatre is awfully infectious. I have no doubt you’ll be able to get a glimpse of this below.

That said, here’s dossier #4:

Brandon Crone

Who are we talking with?

The self-proclaimed enfant-terrible of Toronto independent theatre. The title is a little premature but here’s hoping it’ll stick. You’re speaking with Brandon Crone, Artistic Director of safeword.

Turtleneck is your first play. What drew you to playwriting?

The whole thing sort of happened unexpectedly. I never thought I would be a writer. When I was studying theatre in school, I was surrounded by playwrights who were constantly working on new material and I generally concluded that in order to be a playwright, it was required that you possess a natural skill with language and that was something I would never be able to attain to. I was always very good at structure but hopelessly inarticulate. It wasn’t until I started reading Harold Pinter for the first time that I suddenly realized that I could potentially use this impediment to my advantage when crafting a play. The way he uses language as a cover or a code to illuminate the true desires of his characters made me realize that most people aren’t actually that particularly lyrical or articulate in their daily interactions with other people. It’s what’s going on underneath those commonplace phrases or jumbled sentences that’s most exciting to me and more true to life in any case. I attended a bi-monthly, play-reading group that was created by two friends of mine, Andrew Young and Shayne Monaghan called Monday Night New Works, where people could bring in new work to share and discuss with fellow writers. After that, I told them I would write something and bring it in to be read at the next session. During that month and the half, I wrote Turtleneck start to finish and it hasn’t changed much since then.

What is you earliest memory of wanting, or needing to do theatre?

Since birth I guess. I’ve been doing it for long as I can remember. When I was growing up, my Mom ran her own daycare in our basement so I was always surrounded by other kids at a young age. She would read us stories, fairy tales, nursery rhymes and when we went on to the park, she recalls me directing all the other children in visionary re-enactments of the stories. There are also very embarrassing photos of me wearing a dress when I single-handedly directed and choreographed a production of The Nutcracker with my Grade Two class in the playground and presented it to the school’s faculty and students unannounced. It’s never been something I’ve had to think about because that need has always been inside me and I’ve always pursued it. I’ve been very fortunate to know from an early age what I wanted to do in life.

Turtleneck only has 30 seats per showing. Was this a conscious choice, or just a side effect of the venue?

A little of both. The initial idea was to do a small, intimate production but choosing to have specifically 30 seats was influenced by the size and capacity of our venue. However, having rehearsed in the space while experiencing the show from the viewpoint of the audience makes me realize that it has definitely worked out in our favour. Everyone is in such close proximity to the action that it’s hard not to feel like you’re a part of the play. It really creates an encompassing effect that perfectly lends itself to the overall theme of the show.

What has been your favourite memory from writing and/or directing Turtleneck?

What I’ve enjoyed most is the conversations I’ve had upon sharing it with other people. Turtleneck is an experience. You either come out of it deeply moved, deeply offended or in a strange limbo of moral ambiguity so for me what’s most important about this project is being able to create a forum of meaningful discussion and reflection about important issues, feelings and experiences. I’ve been living in the Turtleneck bubble for the past few months now as we ready ourselves for the production and in a way I really don’t want it to end. I wish we could just keep meeting together in rehearsals to work on the material, talk about it and explore the infinite ways the text can be interpreted. But now the time is fast approaching for us to share the fine work everyone’s put into this show with our audiences. I think that’s what I’m most looking forward. How are people going to react to this crazy play?!

Describe Turtleneck in three adjectives or phrases.

Carnal – The play is very driven by sexual desire in all its different lights. But whether it be sensual, tender, rapturous, forceful, aggressive, pathetic, mournful or just plain repulsive, it all derives from our base, primal instincts.

Side-splitting – Did I mention it’s a comedy? There are certain moments in the show where I can always guarantee without fail that I will be curled up in a ball on the floor crying my eyes out with laughter.

Haunting – When all is said and done, the play just stays with you. It’s designed in a way that allows the audience to draw their own conclusions and try to piece together the rubble for themselves.

Do you have anything you’d like to share with us? A story? A picture? A video? A song?

Yes, here’s the link to our show trailer:

Turtleneck is happening from Feb 7th-17th at hub14 (14 Markham St., just West of Queen and Bathurst). Tickets are only $15. Since seating is limited, it’s best to book online ahead of time at http://www.secureaseat.com/turtleneck to ensure you’ll get a spot.

Shows are on Thurs, Fri, Sat evenings at 8pm and Sat and Sun matinees at 2pm.

It’s gonna be a fantastic production and I hope everyone will try their best to come out to experience the ride.

For more info on safeword, “Like” our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/safewordtheatre