Nov 04

Examining the importance of Sequence

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

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Does the sequence of events matter? What is the importance of the order of events?

PlayWorks Ink is Alberta’s biennial theatre conference. A weekend of workshops, panel discussions, socials and the opportunity to bring in fresh new plays. Play readings included the winners of the 2011 Alberta Playwriting Competition, of which the winners were Arun Lakra (Grand Prize Winner) for his play Sequence, and Swallow A Bicycle Theatre (Discovery Prize) for Super Eight.

Sequence will be workshopped on Sunday, and Lakra is excited and terrified about it. “I was telling my wife the other day, I have two fears: [one is that] no one come to  the reading, and the other is that people actually come to the reading,” he says with a laugh. But he is hoping to be able to improve his play by seeing what an audience thinks about it, “[it’s] basically information gathering and find[ing] out what’s working, what’s not working.”

The play mostly derives from the fact that Lakra has little kids running around at home. “When you have little kids, you start to ask yourself some big questions, like why are we here, and most importantly, why do some people say Ernie and Bert and why do some people say Bert and Ernie?” Clearly a very pressing question. “In a sense what [the play] is about is, in our lives, in our universe, and also in our stories, does order matter? Does the sequence of something affect the outcome.” Sequence is full of different pieces, “it has to do with coincidence and luck and science and genetics and DNA and murder” Lakra says. Some pretty big concepts, all bleeding together in one play.

Sequence has been born ten years after Lakra’s first play Blind Spot, which Lakra calls a ‘learning experience’. So what has he been doing in the meantime? Lakra is a doctor by day, a writer by night, and also is a father to two young children. It’s a bit of a jump, going from medical practice to play writing but Lakra explained that he felt unbalanced. “In my med school years, the left side of my brain was becoming over saturated and I neglected any creative side,” he explains, “I’ve always had a bit of an interest in writing but at that time I just wanted to see if I [could] address that side of my brain.” Lakra does struggle keeping it all together sometimes, like all of us, “If we had a 36 hour days, I think I would be a lot happier, a lot better balanced.”

Pulled into a fantasy world, Lakra has trouble visualizing who exactly he would dream to have in his play. “Let’s go with Kevin Spacey,” he says. “Is naming Meryl Streep too clichéd?” he asks, and then adds “I haven’t actually thought about that, because I’m in my reality world.”

Sequence Public Reading will take place at the Engineered Air Theatre in the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts on Sunday at 2pm. Admission is by donation. More information here.
Lakra would both be terrified and elated if the public shows up.

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