INTRODUCING OUR PLAYWRIGHTS-IN-RESIDENCE!
Anusree Roy Biography
Anusree is a Governor General’s Award nominated writer and actor whose work has toured nationally. Her plays include: Brothel # 9, Roshni, Letters to my Grandma and Pyaasa. Her Opera librettos include: The Golden Boy and Noor over Afghan. Her latest libretto Phoolan Devi will premiere at N.Y.C in the fall of 2014.
She holds a B.A from York University and an M.A from the University to Toronto. She is the Co-Artistic Director of Theatre Jones Roy and has been published by the Playwright’s Canada Press. Her plays and performances have won her three Dora Mavor Moore Awards along with multiple nominations. She is the recipient of the K.M.Hunter Award, RBC Emerging Artist Award, The Carol Bolt Award and The Siminovitch Protégé Prize. Anusree’s playwright-in-residence include: Factory Theatre, The Blyth Festival, Theatre Passe Muraille and Canadian Stage Company. She is currently developing her very first TYA play at Young People’s Theatre along with working as a Story Editor for a new Canadian TV series “Remedy” which will premiere on Global TV this fall.
I was born and raised in a family in Calcutta, India whose core values were rooted in art, culture, politics and the war. It was a rare occurrence if conversations about the war didn’t come up in some capacity at the dinner table.
What I find fascinating is that each of the stories shared always had a common theme – choice or the lack there of. Both my family and my extended family spoke about the choices they made or were forced to make during the war and how the consequences of those choices destroyed or changed their lives forever. My grandparents and extended family witnessed and in some cases, participated in - homes being set on fire, mothers burying their daughters, Sikh’s killing Hindu’s, Hindu’s killing Muslim, Muslim’s beheading their own, buses of women being gang raped, trains filled with Hindu’s being slaughtered, secret marriages happening in underground hiding places, desperate fathers selling their new born and on and on. During July-August of 1947, as all of these above mentioned things happened daily, each Hindu and Muslim had to make one hard choice that would determined their fate – to stay or to go.
After a 200-year rule, the British were forced to leave Hindustan but they wanted to leave with one last blow– so they decided to divide Hindustan into two halves. Their strategy was remarkable – instead of dividing the country arbitrarily, they decided to exploit the religious hatred between the Hindus and the Muslims and divided based on religious differences – A Muslim majority in Pakistan and a Hindu majority in India. This event resulted in the biggest mass migration in history. Over 18 million people migrated to join their particular religious majority. And this is where my play begins.
Diane Flacks Biography
Diane Flacks is a writer/performer in theatre, TV, radio, and fiction. She’s been lauded for her 4 critically acclaimed solo shows—Myth Me, By a Thread, Random Acts, and Bear With Me (the latter two for Nightwood Theatre)—and her Chalmers nominated collaborations with Richard Greenblatt: Sibs and Care, both at the Tarragon Theatre.
She is currently creating Patient Rep, a new one-hour television drama for Rogers/City TV, and is writing on Working The Engels, a new sitcom for Global/Shaw. She can be heard in your car as CBC radio’s national parenting columnist, and as a regular contributor to Definitely Not the Opera.
Diane has also written for, and appeared on, numerous Canadian TV series, including The Kids in the Hall, for which she was nominated for a writing Emmy, and The Broad Side, Listen Missy and PR - all of which she co-created, co-wrote and acted on. Her book, Bear With Me, What They Don’t Tell You About Pregnancy and New Motherhood was published by McClelland & Stewart. She has been a feature columnist for the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, and wrote a solo show for The Air Farce’s Luba Goy produced at Canstage.
Upcoming, Diane plays the lead in the new film, Portrait of a Serial Monogamist. She is also developing a new play, Waiting Room, for the Tarragon Theatre. She is thrilled to be writing Unholy Path as a Nightwood playwright-in-residence. Ms. Flacks, a mother of two boys, is very happy to be out of the house.
Unholy Path is about the complex intersection of religion and misogyny. I’ve long been obsessed with the way religion treats women. I attended Hebrew school for thirteen years, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that much of what I was taught was deeply contradictory. But I didn’t officially reject faith until five years ago, when my youngest son spent most of his first year in Sick Kids Hospital in critical condition. The phrase, “there are no atheists in the foxhole” was repeated often to us, but, as it turns out, I became one under the strain of watching my son and other children suffer. I also witnessed how faith sustained other parents.
My personal experience, combined with reading the work of maverick authors like Aayan Hirsi Ali (“Infidel, Nomad”), Deborah Feldman (“Unorthodox), and Karen Armstrong (“A History of God”), as well as hearing constant, infuriating stories in which extremists of all major faiths justify their persecution of women using religious ideology has propelled me toward writing this play.