Meet Our Playwrights
ABOUT THE TEAM
We are beyond elated to present our eight Vancouver-based playwrights this year, whose plays were anonymously selected by our curators from a high volume of submissions. Every night (and matinee) we will celebrate the world premiere of their spectacular 10 minute plays anew. We want to thank our playwrights for courageously sharing their voices in our community and for working so hard with our dramaturgs to fine-tune their scripts.
To Our Playwrights: We are in reverence not only of your writing, but also of your diligence, kindness and spirit. Our festival comes from Shakespeare’s quote: “To be or not to be?” We choose “Or”. Your plays demonstrate the extraordinary nature of human beings: their capacity to love, to feel and to seek alternate ways to live (a.k.a to seek out THE OR). We are so grateful to each of you for being a part of the Festival this year. You are the foundation of it all. Thank you for inspiring us with your stories. We love you. – Or Festival Team
Alyssa Hirose Zahida Rahemtulla Sally Stubbs Nikki Chohan Madison Isolina Julian Legere C.P. Boyko Mary LittleJohn ***
ZAHIDA RAHEMTULLA Playwright of “Gramophone” Zahida Rahemtulla is an emerging writer of fiction and theatre. Her first play, The Wrong Bashir, is in development with Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre and the Playwrights Theatre Centre. She was a 2019 resident in the Arts Club Emerging Playwrights’ Unit, where she wrote her second play, The Frontliners. Zahida is a graduate of the SFU Writer’s Studio and has been a resident at the Banff Centre in Alberta and Millay Colony for the Arts in New York. She’s also at work on a collection of short fiction and humour novel for kids. GRAMOPHONE Riaz is getting his father high for the first time, and together they discuss super-fruits, Karachi, the Beatles, and chemotherapy. A heartwarming play about family, mortality, and music in a time of emotional strain. *The playwright wishes to acknowledge the support of Carmen Aguirre, the Wet Ink Collective, Ignite!, and the Or Festival in the development of Gramophone*. Nikki Chohan
NIKKI CHOHAN Playwright of “Hot Garbage” Nikki Chohan comes from a background of improv and acting. She lived in Toronto for a bit running through the six with her woes and then brought her woes to a rainy Vancouver a couple of years ago. She’s studied and continues to study at multiple studios including Second City Toronto, Armstrong Acting Studios and currently Railtown Actors Studio. This is her first ever play she’s written and is beyond excited and equally terrified to see something she’s written come to life. She hopes you enjoy all the wonderful shows! HOT GARBAGE Hot Garbage is about two lonely neighbours who struggle to have any real connections in their day to day life, until they have an unexpected moment in their hallway. C.P. Boyko
C.P. BOYKO Playwright of “Bad News” C.P. Boyko is the author of four collections of fiction, and of one ten-minute play. BAD NEWS A patient awaits news from their doctor; when it comes, it goes from bad to worse. Julian Legere
JULIAN LEGERE Playwright of “F.A.G.S (Fathers Against Gay Sex)” Born and raised on unceded Coast Salish/Qaqayt territory, Julian Legere (he/his) is a bi/queer writer, performer, producer, administrator, and educator who has been making theatre for 15 years. His particular focus is on intersectional social commentary and experiments with the role of the audience. Current projects in development include a verbatim dance theatre piece/documentary film about women’s reproductive health care, a Web Play centered on the mother of a fictional mass shooter, and a site-specific feminist reimagining of Macbeth and the Henry VI trilogy focused on the Weird Sisters, as well as an ongoing writing practice for his blog, of Wit and Whiskey. Aside from supporting and making art, he spends his time doing Tarot readings, cooking, finding humour in the existential dread that is our new collective reality, and binging TV shows and podcasts. Website: ofwitandwhiskey.home.blog F.A.G.S (Fathers Against Gay Sex) Callum has always been frustrated with his parents devotion to their conservative community group, Fathers Against Gay Sex (F.A.G.S). When he learns the newest target of their homophobic ire, he realizes the time has come to confront the secret that has long been threatening to tear his family apart. Alyssa Hirose
ALYSSA HIROSE Playwright of “Swipe Stage Right” Alyssa wears many hats (writing-wise; physically, she’s not really a hat gal). She is the assistant editor of Western Living and Vancouver magazine, she dabbles in writing for children, her plays Bait (2017)and Waiting for Beckett (2018) were both presented at the Brave New Play Rites Festival, and she draws daily diary comics – you can find them on Instagram at @hialyssacomics. If that wasn’t obnoxious enough, she also does improv. Alyssa would like to thank her roommates for sharing their Tinder hopes and horrors. SWIPE STAGE RIGHT Emi, an anxious millennial, is in the midst of doing one chore she loves (laundry) and one she hates (swiping through her dating app) when she comes across the profile of Brad, an extraordinarily ordinary guy. There’s nothing special about him, but for some reason, she just can’t swipe left—possibly because Brad is right there, refusing to be swept off stage. Sally Stubbs
SALLY STUBBS Playwright of “Doors and Windows” An award-winning playwright and educator, Sally, also directs, acts and produces. Her scripts, published by Scirocco Drama, have been presented in Canada, Sweden, India, South Africa and the U.S. Projects in process: Polly & the Penthouse: A Spirited Musical, inspired by Vancouver’s iconic nightclub; Centurions, a screenplay adapted from her stage play of the same name. Upcoming events: Centurions stage play premieres 2020/21; publication and productions of Our Ghosts, 2020/21. Sally is a proud co-founder of CASA: a Canadian/South African partnership between The Playwrights Guild of Canada Women’s Caucus and The African Women Playwrights Network. She is delighted that Doors & Windows is part of Or Festival 2020. www.sallystubbswriter.com www.thecenturionsproject.ca DOORS AND WINDOWS Cosmo has retired, and he has big plans. Dommi has plans, too. Different plans. This not-so-sweet dark comedy takes a quick peek at a love gone awry. Mary LittleJohn
MARY LITTLEJOHN Playwright of “Maggie” Mary is a Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist. She starting writing plays in elementary school and won The Cultch’s Youth Playwriting competition (way back in the day) for her play Glasses Without Frames. After attending Capilano University and receiving a Diploma in Musical Theatre, Mary co-produced and co-wrote (with acclaimed Irish harpist Mary Murphy-Demers) an original musical based on the novel Under The Hawthorn Tree. Two of her plays were part of the inaugural Shift One-Act Play Festival. In 2018, Way-Off-Broadway Wednesdays showcased a staged reading of her fairy tale redux Hearts & Stones. In 2019, she penned a musical revue examining the evolution of women in musical theatre, Better Than This, which was performed at the Havana Theatre. Mary is the Co-Artistic Director of Fabulist Theatre, and currently deep in the throes of directing her original play The Untold Legend Of Imogen Flight, which will be playing at Studio 700 from February 27 – March 7. When the stars align, she has been known to tread the boards herself! Much gratitude to the OR Festival for creating these opportunities for writers, directors and actors; much love to my family for their unwavering support. MAGGIE Maggie is Jeffrey’s best friend, but he’s hiding something from her. She’s hiding something from him, too. An evening idly flipping through Netflix becomes a flood of confessions and revelations. Madison Isolina
MADISON ISOLINA Playwright of “The Better To Love You With” Madison is an emerging actress and writer from Vancouver, BC, graduating last year from Capilano’s acting for stage and screen program, and previously attending the University of British Columbia, studying creative writing and cinema. She is a published writer in both short fiction and nonfiction comedic opinion pieces, and has acting credits in film and theatre including Vancouver’s fringe festival. A main passion of hers is collaborating with other Vancouver artists on various projects such as web series, sketch comedy, and most recently, her short horror art film Strega about two Italian witch sisters road tripping in the 1970’s. THE BETTER TO LOVE YOU WITH Little Red faces the Wolf for the first time after he (in a drug fueled rage) ate her Grandma as a last ditch attempt to get her back. Red and Wolf’s destructive yet intoxicating relationship unfolds at his disheveled apartment in this unique dark comedy, where we will see if Red is able to ultimately escape her conflicting predator.