When you learn something new, does that information now belong to you?
When someone tells you their story, is it now yours to tell?
These are some of the questions raised by Collected Stories, a play by Donald Margulies that features two women — one an older, established writer famous for short stories, the other a young, eager writer she’s mentoring.
The ECHO Players are producing the play, their last of the season, to run April 19-May 6 after ECHO pulled My Old Lady due to sexual misconduct allegations made against Israel Horovitz, who wrote and directed the movie version.
This left ECHO’s directors, Lynne Carrow and Sue Murguly, searching for a replacement, and led them to Collected Stories.
“It’s the classic story of the student whose success overshadows that of the teacher. And it’s also an inquiry into who owns intellectual property,” said Carrow, who’s co-directing with Murguly.
With Beth DeVolder playing Ruth Steiner (the veteran author) and Jennifer Kelly playing Lisa Morrison (Steiner’s protégé), the question of intellectual property ownership comes into play when Morrison’s first novel turns out to be the story of Steiner’s turbulent love affair.
“When you tell someone your story, does it mean that they can take that basic story, change the names and write it as their own story?” asks Carrow. “With everything that’s happening now, with Facebook and all the questions about privacy, it’s very interesting.”
A Pulitzer Prize finalist for drama, Collected Stories is beautifully written, said Carrow, but also “expects a lot of the audience.”
“There are certainly some funny moments in it, but it’s not a rip-roaring comedy by any means… We expect the audience to be listening and going along with us on this journey.”
It’s meant for an adult audience only, notes Carrow.
Despite the rough introduction of the play and the shortened time frame, Carrow said, Kelly (who was cast in My Old Lady) and DeVolder (who was cast after the change) are well integrated into their roles and the relationship between their characters.
“Sue and I both feel blessed that we have two such strong actors playing these roles,” said Carrow, noting that DeVolder has developed a “wonderful New York accent.”
The play will also be ECHO Players’ entry into the North Island Zone 2018 theatre festival, with a performance on May 25 at the Bailey Studio Theatre in Nanaimo.
Asked what she hopes audiences get out of the play, Carrow said, “We’re hoping that people go away questioning ‘Did she do the right thing? Who manipulated who?’” in addition to questions of who owns intellectual property. “And again, that’s where we’re expecting a lot from the audience.”
The play opens Thursday, April 19, at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach. Performances will continue until the final show on May 6.
To order tickets, go online to www.echoplayers.ca.
Free Ticket Contest:
The NEWS has six pairs of tickets to the ECHO Players Collected Stories production. Dates are April 19 (two pairs), 21, 25, May 2 and May 5.
Anyone interested in winning a pair of tickets can enter by emailing The NEWS at firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, you must include your full name, what city/town you live in, your preferred dates and your phone number.
The deadline to send in your email is Saturday, April 14, at 9 a.m. Winners will be contacted by email that same day.