Meet The Playwrights
ABOUT THE TEAM
We are beyond elated to present thirteen playwrights in the Or Festival 5 this year. Their plays were selected anonymously by our curatorial panel from a high volume of submissions. Every night we will celebrate the world premiere of their spectacular 10 minute plays anew. We want to thank our playwrights for courageously sharing their voices and for working so hard with their dramaturgs to fine-tune their scripts.
To Our Playwrights: 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
Jessica Lemes da Silva
ALEXIS HOPE Playwright of “The Poet & The One Who Worshipped Her” Alexis Hope (she/her) is an emerging playwright and director, working as an actor in Vancouver. Her recent theatre credits include two Ovation Award nominated shows, Monster (Direct Theatre Collective) and The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical (CTORA), as well as Thy Neighbor’s Wife (United Plays Club) and The Importance of Being Earnest (UBC Players Club). At the end of March, she will be appearing in Parade with Raincity Theatre. A VanArts Acting for Film & Television grad, she’s now the co-founder and executive producer of Girls That Giggle Productions – she has co-written and will be directing their next project this summer. Another recent script of hers, Her Crown, will be premiering at the Women At Play(s) 6 Festival in Toronto. She’s so honoured to be a part of this year’s OR Festival, and would like to encourage everyone to keep loving and supporting the arts! THE POET & THE ONE WHO WORSHIPPED HER Two best friends; one loves love, the other loves her. When Nadia is given the chance to start a new life, Isobel decides to share her true feelings, in an effort to make her stay, but to what ends will she go, to keep her by her side. Landon Krentz
LANDON KRENTZ Playwright of “Through The Window”
Landon Krentz is a Deaf performing artist from Saskatchewan, Canada. He discovered his love for theatre later in life when he learned sign language. He quickly became a prominent figure in Canadian arts, trying out different forms like ASL opera, visual stories with music, and plays in both ASL and English.
Krentz is known for his unique performances that combine physicality, visual language, and sign language. He wanted to go beyond just relying on ASL interpretation, which often gives only a partial experience.
As a Deaf artist who’s fluent in both American Sign Language (ASL) and English, Krentz is an Artistic Director and an ASL performer for theatre. He’s all about bringing Deaf and hearing audiences together in his art.
His efforts were recognized when he received the Award of Merit for Inclusion and Access in 2018 from the Western Institute of Deaf and Hard of Hearing, now Wavefront Communication Access Centre.
In 2018, Krentz teamed up with Deaf West Theatre to create “Awakening Deaf Theatre in Canada.” This project aimed to bring Deaf artists from across the country together to work on an ASL musical based on “Spring Awakening,” a Broadway show. The project united Deaf artists from almost all provinces.
Krentz has worked on a Deaf-led ASL Opera based in Vancouver, BC. He’s both the playwright and performer, and the opera explores Deaf culture, queerness, and the human experience using sign language’s rhythmic beauty.
Krentz’s accomplishments also include his play “100 Years of Darkness.” This play, produced by Inside Out Theatre, tells the story of Deaf students in the 1880s who were subjected to cruel experiments trying to erase their language and culture. The play sheds light on the effects of banning sign language.
He’s not stopping there. Krentz is currently developing two more projects: “The Confidence of a Deaf Queer Human,” created with the Soulpepper Academy, and an adaptation of “The Little Prince” for Deaf theatre. His journey continues to shape the arts and bring Deaf experiences to the forefront.
THROUGH THE WINDOW A man sees a mysterious figure on the other side of his window. JESSICA LEMES DA SILVA
JESSICA LEMES DA SILVA Playwright of “Turbulence” Jessica is a playwright, sound editor, musician, and educator. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida, located on the ancestral homelands of the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes. After receiving a B.A. in Music from the University of Miami, she shifted gears to study Sound Design for visual media at the Vancouver Film School. Shortly after, Jessica joined Skywalker Sound in California and worked on feature films such as Beowulf, Iron Man, and Despicable Me. Refocusing their passion for storytelling, Jessica completed a creative writing certificate from Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio, where they laid the groundwork for their limited-series audio drama, Sacred Hearts . Jessica participated in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s Emerging Playwrights’ Unit (2022) where she created and developed the full-length play, God’s A Drag. She subsequently won the Playwright Theatre Center’s Fringe New Play Prize (2023) for God’s A Drag where it will be presented at the Vancouver Fringe Festival in September of this year. Jessica is overjoyed to be a part of this year’s Or Festival, and is deeply grateful to live on the unceded, traditional lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) —hay č xʷ q̓ə [hands raised], thank you. TURBULENCE An anxious passenger grapples with buried memories that initiates an emotional nosedive while on a turbulent flight to visit her brother in recovery. JAMES CAVERLY
JAMES CAVERLY Playwright of “A Better Place” James Caverly (he/him) is known for playing Theo Dimas on Only Murders In The Building. Broadway: Children Of A Lesser God (Studio 54). Regional Theatre: The Music Man (Olney Theatre Center), I Was Most Alive With You (Huntington Theatre Company),Tribes (Studio Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Kitchen Theatre Company, and SpeakEasy Theatre Company). He is also a former member of the prestigious National Theatre of the Deaf. Director: Noises Off, Dr. Faustus, and Cloud 9 (assistant) (Gallaudet University), Romeo and Juliet (Community College of Baltimore County at Catonsville), Every Brilliant Thing and Romantic Fools (New York Deaf Theatre). Playwright: A Better Place (short), Surprise Guest (short), See/Hear/Speak No Beast, A Zoom Christmas Carol, Trash (co-writer). His work as a Direction of ASL spans across more than 20 different performances in Washington DC, Baltimore, New York City, and Philadelphia. A BETTER PLACE An unassuming elevator operator transfers a passenger to a destination where an ultimate decision must take place. How far is the passenger willing to go? BRENDA LEE-BOUBARD
BRENDA LEE-BOUBARD Playwright of “Whispers of the Hidden Grove” Brenda-Lee Boubard (She/Her) is a Mètis (Cree/Ojibwa) Artist. She was born in Winnipeg, MB then moved to Calgary, AB then to Vancouver, BC. She is currently writing a graphic novel titled Apocalypse/fantastic. Brenda attended the Youth Canada Tournament for the Deaf (YCTD) in 2013 and 2017, The Flying Hands in 2016 and more. She loves drama and stories. Her dream is to see her graphic Novel/ comic adapted into a TV series one day. She wants to make this dream come true. WHISPERS OF THE HIDDEN GROVE “Whispers of the Hidden Grove” is a tale that explores the thin veil between folklore and reality, as the teenagers navigate a world where Legends may hold more truth than they ever imagined. NIKKI CHOHAN
NIKKI CHOHAN Playwright of “A Conversation With My First Gray Hair” Nikki Chohan is an actor, writer, professional drink pourer, lover of desserts and nap enthusiast. Always wanting to try new things, she loves the quote ‘Jack of all trades but master of none’ as a way of living. She is absolutely ecstatic to be a part of this years 2024 Or Festival and hopes you have a laugh or two…maybe get a little greedy and even have three laughs. A CONVERSATION WITH MY FIRST GRAY HAIR A young woman is shocked when she finds her first gray hair in her twenties and even more shocked when her gray hair appears before her eyes and tells her how to properly live her life. Perhaps this gray hair comes with wisdom after all. Mary LittleJohn
MARY LITTLEJOHN Playwright of “Maggie” Mary Littlejohn is an interdisciplinary artist living on the traditional unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw peoples. As an actor, she has performed on stages from Australia to New York as well as here in BC. She wrote/directed the play The Untold Legend Of Imogen Flight and the musical revue Better Than This: The Evolution Of Women In Musicals, both for Fabulist Theatre. In 2020, she remotely produced/wrote the audio drama Golden Ash, which can be found on all major podcasting platforms. Some of her plays that have had staged readings include: Hearts and Stones (Fabulist), Poetry In Motion (New Waves/Western Edge), and Glasses Without Frames (The Cultch). Mary is a graduate of Capilano University’s Musical Theatre program. MAGGIE Maggie and Jeffrey are best friends, spending an afternoon watching Netflix. Both have secrets that they are desperate to share with each other, if they are brave enough. DAVID GRANNEMAN
DAVID GRANNEMAN Playwright of “Goliath” David Granneman has been precariously balancing his love for film and art with low-paying menial day jobs his whole adult life. While everyone else his age was finishing high school and starting college, he was working as a dishwasher, struggling with unresolved mental health issues, and making art alone in his room.
He is a high school dropout, a recovering alcoholic, and he relies on 200mg of Sertraline every day to keep from completely dissolving into the ground beneath his feet. In other words, he is a natural artist.
Taking an interest in illustration at a very young age, David eventually began participating in group shows around Victoria and Vancouver, and in 2018 he had his own solo exhibition at Slice of Life Gallery and Studios titled The Smallest Hands in the World. Besides taking up space in various piles in his bedroom, his illustrations have also been featured in publications such as SAD Magazine and Adbusters.
Meanwhile, a private obsession with film had been developing, and by 2015 he could no longer reign in the need to explore the medium. He began experimenting with short form work, and in 2019 he won Art With Impact’s monthly short film competition with his autobiographical short film Secret Horror; an event which encouraged him to continue along this path. In 2022, David was selected to take part in the Vancouver International Film Festival’s Catalyst Mentorship Program where he was given access to events, people, and resources which he could previously have only ever dreamed about. In this space, among this cohort, he felt- for the first time maybe, that he was somewhere he belonged. For better or worse, David has devoted his life to seeking out and exploring what he considers to be the purest and most honest forms of emotional and artistic expression. At 34, he is finally getting out of his room and learning to embrace what he has been neglecting for as long as he’s been creating: community. GOLIATH
As two friends catch up for the first time in several years during the holidays, the true nature of their relationship begins to reveal itself. DIANA MARATAS
DIANA MARATAS Playwright of “Bloodwork” Diana Maratas is an interdisciplinary artist and a student in the Arts Club’s LEAP Playwriting Intensive. She’s an alumni of Arts Umbrella’s Theatre Conservatory and Pre-Professional Theatre Program, as well as the Young People’s Opera Society of BC. Her artistic practice is guided by following her curiosity, honoring what brings her joy, and staying flexible in tough circumstances. Diana is diagnosed with CFS and Fibromyalgia, disabling conditions that have caused her to reevaluate everything, including her relationship to theater and performance. Despite this set back, Diana sought alternative ways to nurture her creativity and connect with the theater community. Having discovered her love of playwriting in 2023, Diana is beaming with pride as she celebrates the debut of her first play, BLOODWORK, here at Or Festival! Beyond playwriting, Diana explores various artistic realms, including composing, music production, 3D modeling, embroidery, cross stitch, cooking, and baking. Oh, and if you spot someone knitting with pure joy, it’s probably Diana—she’s rarely seen without a pair of needles in hand. Diana dreams of designing her own knitwear patterns in the future.
Despite the shift in her abilities, Diana remains hopeful and looks forward to the exciting possibilities the future holds. She wants to thank everyone at Or Festival for supporting her playwriting journey, as well as her lovely partner Bryan for inspiring her everyday with his optimism, wisdom, and creativity.
BLOODWORK A story of medical malpractice turns into a full-fledged nightmare when 25 year old Mia visits Lifelabs.
KYLA DOWLING Playwright of “Rest Hour” Kyla Dowling is a writer, student, and former summer camp counsellor. She is privileged to live, work, and learn on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations. Rest Hour is Kyla’s first produced play, and she is grateful to the team behind the Or Festival for giving her this opportunity. REST HOUR In the last ten minutes of rest hour, three counsellors at West Canyon Camp contemplate their futures, their desires, and what camp means to them.
DAVID VOLPOV Playwright of “Talking To The Dead” David is a writer, actor, and producer who is proud to return to Or Festival for his second year as a playwright. His 10-minute play Civil Court premiered at Or Festival in 2022. David continues to explore genre theatre after his murder mystery, multimedia play Tragedy, Slander, & Wine was produced by Promethean Theatre. His plays have also been showcased by IGNITE! Youth Festival and Eternal Theatre Collective. After graduating from UBC’s BFA Acting program, David trained in Arts Club’s Emerging Playwrights Unit and Playwright Theatre Centre’s Block A. He is currently pursuing a career as a screenwriter for TV and film. TALKING TO THE DEAD A young couple plays with a ouija board to spice up their monotonous marriage. In doing so, they unleash something more sinister than they could possibly imagine. SYDNEY MARINO
SYDNEY MARINO Playwright of “Dissected” Sydney Marino is a playwright, director, dramaturg, and educator based on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Her playwriting credits include Unravelling (Or Festival), Siren Song, Deal with the Devil (Bryan Wade Brave New Play Rites Festival), Scrappy Campers, and 49th and Kerr (Killarney Theatre). She has developed work in the LEAP Playwriting Intensive, PTC Block A Cohort, and Story Theatre’s Writer’s Room. Currently, Sydney is developing new plays with Story Theatre and in the Arts Club’s Emerging Playwrights’ Unit. Sydney recently adapted and directed Our Place at Killarney Secondary, where she is the Artist in Residence. She is also an educator, instructing playwriting courses at the Arts Club. Sydney holds a BFA in Creative Writing from UBC. She is excited to be a part of the Or Festival again this year! DISSECTED Sixteen-year-old Gina pleads her case in the principal’s office after a disastrous frog dissection, reliving the events that led her there. ASHLEY CHODAT
ASHLEY CHODAT Playwright of “Mother Pin” Ashley (she/her) is a playwright, dramaturg, director and teaching artist. In these roles, she has been fortunate to work for companies like Bard on the Beach, Arts Club, The Cultch, PTC, Green Thumb, Arts Umbrella, Little Mountain Lion, Carousel Theatre for Young People, Theatre SKAM and Kaleidoscope. She is passionate about stories that explore girlhood, speculative futures and intergenerational relationships. Recent playwright credits include: June Bug (Vancouver Fringe winner of TYP Family Forward Award, UpintheAir’s rEvolver Festival, Victoria Fringe) FRANK (Impulse Theatre Peek Show 14/Intrepid Incoming Fest) Mother Pin (OR Festival) Ashley holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Applied Theatre from Uvic and a diploma in Theatre Performance from Douglas College. She is currently working on an adaptation of Frankenstein exploring robots/teenage girlhood and a TYA campfire jamboree about summer camp, sea monsters and eco-anxiety. MOTHER PIN Desperate to make friends at the local bowling alley, new hire Michael finds himself drawn to enigmatic Jamie. This piece explores how bowling alleys hold space for grief, nostalgia and community.