04 Jan Workshop: Johnny Trinh – Sometimes Y
Setting: Downtown Toronto
Sometimes Y is about two men in love, continually orbiting the same relationship, but rarely finding alignment. This story is a collection of memories that creates the universe in which the characters exist, how it was formed and how it unravels.
What aspects of the play were you looking to explore during the workshop?
Sometimes Y is a play written in spoken word, poetry, and contemporary dialogue. It relies on the sounds and rhythms of the words to create the structure for these memories to exist. It brings the story and presents it in an imagistic way that hopefully anyone can relate to regardless of gender, orientation, or belief. I wanted to explore how my text could inform the physical action in the piece, while still giving much room for creative freedom within the performer.
What did you discover about your script or yourself during the workshop?
How intricate the words were, and how poignant they can be when used effectively… and adversely how ambiguous they can be when used frivolously. I discovered the major themes and questions that needed to be addressed –they just seemed to pop out — a new realm of storytelling, and the creation process with text at a table –where as I am used to rolling around on the floor.
What was the greatest benefit of the workshop?
Working with amazing people. Lisa O’Connell is such an amazing mentor and obelisk of knowledge. She adapted to my learning process. She struggled with me, wrestled with me, and patiently ripped off the band aids when questions needed to be asked. She nurtured the good writing and efficiently made me aware of areas that could be excised.
Trevor Copp and Dan Nicks, the actors at the workshop, both have distinctly unique approaches to the work. The value of their perceptions to my work was immeasurable. It is a privilege to be able to put you work on another person’s body. These incredible artists speak your words, move to your action, and feel to your design — while bringing their own stories to the table. It makes the work full, it is an honor, and I’m grateful.
Any final comments you’d like to add?
This piece was inspired by a break up, and the stories of so many friends and loved ones who shared their hearts with me. I wrote it during Pat the Dog’s 24-Hour Playwriting Contest after seeing some amazing dance. I had no expectations going in and didn’t think much of the piece when it was done. But I learned a lot more than I thought I did. And I appreciate the potential that people saw in the work. When encouragement is sincerely felt, it makes you confident, and hopeful — which is a great inspiration to keep writing. Thanks Pat the Dog!