Meet Liz

Liz Best (great last name) will be directing the Public Reading of my play Animal happening during the New Ideas Festival at the Alumnae Theatre in March.   New Ideas is a festival of plays that run over a 3 week period.  Each week has a set of different plays with short plays given a full staging and longer plays (like Animal) given a staged reading.  I met Liz (along with 14 other directors) the day the Alumnae set up “speed dating”  interviews where playwrights and directors had 7 minutes to interview each other before moving onto the next person.  It was through this process that director and playwright are matched to work together.   The interviews were fast and furious, but I’m happy/relieved Liz and I made a connection and were were ultimately partnered for this creative adventure.

This week, we got a group of actor friends together to have our own reading of the entire play.   Animal has gone through several drafts over the years.  This past year alone, I did a significant re-write which brought the script to another level.   I haven’t had a reading with actors for some time and felt that before we cast actors for the Alumnae Public Reading (auditions will be held the first week of January – read about HERE), I felt I needed to hear the script one more time before then and make any final edits.   A big hearty thanks to this group below who came out to the Alumnae Theatre on a cold December night to read the script aloud for Liz and I.   It was a thrill, definitely nerve-raking, but satisfying to hear this new draft come alive.  Writers spend so much time alone and in their heads, with countless of re-writes needling them, sometimes it’s hard to have any perspective.

(left to right) Michael Scott, Adam Pellerine, Jane Miller, Me, Debra Hale


This has been a disappointing start to December as I found out on December 1 that neither screenplay of mine (The Great Surrender or Let It Shine) made the semi-final cut of the Kairo’s Pro-Prize in Screenwriting.   Also on that same date, the Toronto Fringe Festival Lottery drew their names for this summer’s Fringe Festival and my name wasn’t one of the lucky chosen, nor was Animal picked as Best New Play.   These results left me empty.  When you put so much of your heart and soul into the work and it does not reap the rewards you had hoped for, it’s a crushing blow and certainly not something you can easily walk away from.

This weeks reading of Animal was just the thing I needed to lift my spirits some and turn the page.  The work of art never stops if you are an artist.  You are constantly refining who you are in the work.   Embrace all of life –  the pain and joy equally in this roller coaster journey.  I take my setbacks seriously, but I also take great pride in my happiness as the photos above attest to.  2017 has creatively been a challenging year for me.   Well that was yesterday.  Let’s hope for a better tomorrow.  But for now, we have today.  And today, after working on Animal with these actors and Liz, I can’t help but smile.


  1. Hey Romeo, I am just catching up with your blog…sorry it’s taken me so long !
    Sorry about your disappointing news…but you have already risen above it.
    This “Liz” has great energy and with the two of you collaborating , I see spectacular things happening !
    …so glad that you met her.
    How exciting….all the best in 2018 !
    No worries , Man…you are one talented guy !
    Looking forward to seeing you on Christmas day ! YAY ! !
    ….take care & keep that chin up……
    Smiles & hugs

  2. Linda Lyons says:

    Hey Romeo, all the best in your work with Liz! This play, Animal, has always had a special place in your heart, and now will have another opportunity to be showcased. It is a raw play which highlights the suffering of not only the individuals who experience mental illness, but also of those who love them. Bravo!

  3. Donna Wichelman says:

    I have to agree with L.A. Your perseverance and passion continue to astound and encourage us all. You are a light in a context that has so many dark shadows falling across it. Your success is not measured in how many times your plays are picked for special awards and kudos, but in how faithful you are to the task to which you have been called. Many blessings always.

  4. Your personality is a unique combination of tenacity and passion which is a powerful combination to keep moving forward to write and re-write, repeat. We’re all smiling with you Romeo!

  5. I love the post and the great pic of the actors who participated in this week’s reading but I must introduce you to an app that fixes up faces so that they’re model worthy, (for me, not you).

    On a more serious note, I too am very excited to be working on ANIMAL. It’s about one of my favourite subjects: family. Complex, complicated characters who aren’t always easy to love makes for great theatre.

    Can’t wait for the ride to begin.

    Now about that app….

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