PGC's Q&A with Andrew Kooman - Fringe Edition

Playwrights Guild of Canada catches up with PGC member Andrew Kooman to discuss what it takes to put on a play at a Fringe Festival, how Fringe Festivals are like a wonder of Theatre and the challenges of rewriting for a 90 minute format. Andrew's new play She Has A Name is currently running at the Vancouver Fringe Festival (until Sunday, September 16th), before continuing its cross-Canada tour with stops in Kelona, Edmonton and Red Deer.

1. Give us a brief summary of your play.

In She Has A Name, a Canadian lawyer named Jason poses as a john to build a legal case against a brothel trafficking girls into Bangkok. Far away from his beautiful wife and young girls on his first real trafficking case, he works to win the trust of a young girl known only as Number 18 who is forced to work as a prostitute day after day. The plot is driven by two questions: Can he convince her to risk her life to testify for the sake of justice and by doing so; Can he save her from the unthinkable circumstances?

2. Most inspiring part of participating in the Fringe?

It's inspiring to share work alongside other artists who are telling stories that matter to them, who are passionate about ideas, and who are taking risks and enjoying the wonder of theatre.

3. Biggest challenge of participating in the Fringe?

I love long plays, movies, and walks on the beach. That 90 minute window of stage time is a challenge!

4. Why do you love writing a play for the Fringe?

This is my first show at a Fringe. I had to finesse She Has A Name to fit the format, since it was written and already had been produced as a two hour play with intermission.  What I like about the time frame is that it forces you to make make every moment count; to really weigh every word.

5. Words of advice to playwrights embarking on participating in a Fringe Festival for the first time?
Buckle up!


Andrew Kooman writes for the page and stage. His work has been published around the world and translated into 10 languages. He is based in Red Deer, Alberta. His plays Shelter, Joseph and She Has A Name were official selections of Scripts At Work, the annual play development workshop in Red Deer, and have been granted workshops and public readings in Canada and the United States, including the 2008 Nextfest Festival of the Arts in Edmonton.  Andrew's first full length play, She Has A Name, premiered in Calgary in 2011. Produced by Calgary's Burnt Thicket Theatre in partnership with Raise Their Voice, She Has A Name is currently touring 13 Canadian cities, from Halifax to Victoria.