June 2023 – Director/Actor Michael K. Potter sat down yet again with local playwright and three-time winner of the Windsor-Essex Playwriting Contest, Joey Ouellette, to discuss love, obsession, and how our pasts help to shape who we are in the context of Ouellette's latest play, Mirabella.
Watch the interview and/or read the transcript below!
POTTER: Hello everyone. I'm Michael Potter, Managing Director of Post Productions, and with me today is Joey Ouellette, the playwright behind Mirabella, our brand-new production which opens on June 16th, 2023, and runs for a three-week run. You can find more information about it on this poster right here.
Joey is not only the playwright behind this play, which won the 2022 Windsor-Essex Playwriting Contest – marking Joey’s third win of the contest and making him the person who's won the contest more than anyone else – he's also part of the cast. And we've all been part of the crew together, coming up with ideas and so forth, so it's been a very intimate and multifaceted development process. Joey.
OUELLETTE: Thank you. Nice to be here.
POTTER: Now let's start off with this: you originally were not going to submit this play to the 2022 contest. Can you tell us about that?
OUELLETTE: Well, it kind of came at the last minute, about two weeks before the deadline. It just sort of popped into my head and I didn't think I was going to get it finished. I wasn’t sure I was going to devote resources to finishing it. So it was just a fluke.
POTTER: And two weeks. So you got it ready in two weeks.
POTTER: So what compelled you to put aside the other play then and devote your time to this?
OUELLETTE: I'm not sure. I guess just, well, you know how it is – I'm fascinated by the new. And so when this came up and it was new and interesting I was excited by it.
POTTER: It's a different kind of play for you. I mean, in terms of what we've read of yours and the works of yours that we've produced. But I know you have written dramas in the past, you've written mysteries, and all of that. How does it seem to fit into your body of work, from your perspective?
OUELLETTE: I don't know the answer to that because I don't really pay attention to it. I think perhaps I tend to write about things that happen to people, and maybe this particular play is about people who do things rather than have things happen to them.
POTTER: That's usually a more interesting story.
OUELLETTE: Yeah. Yeah, but it depends where you see yourself, you know? Sometimes in your life things happen to you and people who are – will call them “actors” – who act, who change things, who have an agenda, who push that. I mean, I think everyone, every character in this play is like that. Every single one. And that it made it a very different play.
POTTER: I can tell you that on the judges panel, which both Fay Lynn and I were a part of, we were really surprised by this script, and right away in the first round we realized, okay, this is clearly one of the front-runners. And we were curious to see what you would do with it in revisions.
Now, for context for those who don't know this already (and why on earth would you?), the play was originally written to be performed by one actor.
POTTER: What was the idea behind that and how did you respond to – you can be honest here – to our feedback that we thought it would work better emotionally if there were three actors?
OUELLETTE: Oh, I agreed with you. I mean, perhaps because I did it in such a compressed time period and it was just me – I had read it for a person or two, but I read all of the parts. So in my head, in anything that had existed thus far, it was only just one person doing it all. And that takes another leap to say, okay let's put in more people. What if this looks this way? What if it's this way? But I hadn't got there yet.
POTTER: Well, especially in a play like this, where various kinds of relationships are really important to how the story progresses and what happened in the mystery, and what might happen in the future and all of that, it seems to me especially important to have someone for the lead who's playing Detective Michael Byrne to play off of for the audience to feel those relationships.
Which brings me to mind that we haven't actually described what this play is about yet. Could you summarize Mirabella? Could you summarize the story of Mirabella in 500 words or less?
OUELLETTE: 500, huh? Well. . . it’s a lot of things. It's a mystery. It’s a bit of a thriller stuffed within a love story. It’s a story about obsession. I think when I said earlier that they were all people who did things, I think of people who are obsessed with something. So that's it. All these people are whirling around all the other ones and all these obsessions clashing or finding their way through – being hidden, being pulled out – in the context of this mystery, because there's a couple of murders. And they find out who did it, why they did it, but that doesn't seem to be the most important thing. I think it's how everyone – I mean, plays are really about relationships, right? Almost everything, every play, is about relationships. So that's what's most important here too. Just that they’re more intense than in some other plays.
POTTER: The Mirabella itself is a central figure in the play. It's almost a character into itself. What can you tell us about the Mirabella and where the idea for that came from?
OUELLETTE: I'm not sure where the idea for that came from. It's a ballet theatre in a rundown slum area of a city. It was founded by a fella based on a person I know who learned ballet in a refugee camp. Because they were there for several years and what did the children do? So this person I know as a child learned ballet in a refugee camp, then ended up coming to Canada and pursued that. And so what would a person do? And in the play they go to Butcher’s Town, so-called because that's where the herds were processed and slaughtered for meat, and opened a little ballet studio. And the place was so desperate, and the people so eager to get out, it did really well. All of the little girls and their mothers – so it ended up moving into another abandoned building, the old furniture factory, becoming a little bit bigger, having shows constantly. Adults had to pay, the children got in for free. And it sort of fed this escapist fantasy of everyone in the neighborhood. Not only was there some way that they could escape the nastiness of their own lives, but maybe they'd go on and be famous. But also, just for a few minutes they could go in there and be transported by music, by the dance, by an idea, a dream, a show that was about nothing that they would have thought of on their own. Just these other ideas that reach back in history and are about all kinds of different things. All these beautiful things, all these things and. . . well, I can't say it blossomed, but it did really well there in this neighborhood. So it's a bit of an anomaly because it's an ugly neighborhood with a beautiful thing in it. But how long does it take before one spills over into the other? I mean, does the neighborhood become beautiful or does the theatre become ugly?
POTTER: Yeah, and every character in the play is in a very real sense defined, in part, by their relationship to the Mirabella. So, Detective Michael Byrne is defined by it because it was a huge part of his childhood and it lingers in his consciousness even though he's moved away from Butcher’s Town. But now he's come back to investigate this murder at the Mirabella, which is stirring up a lot of things for him.
His friend Eamon is defined by the Mirabella because he used to go with Michael to see all the shows. And he's still been seeing the shows in all this time and has fallen in love with one of the dancers, and probably in the past might have fallen in love with other dancers too. I expect so.
And then you’ve got Benjamin Burrows, the business manager, and who he is, in part, is defined by how he understands the Mirabella and what part it plays in his life.
And Stephan Ilyich, the founder of the Mirabella, of course, is defined in part by what that means to him, and it has a very deep meaning for him.
Keyo, the janitor, is defined by the Mirabella being a place of hope or salvation or forgiveness for him. So he serves the Mirabella by cleaning it.
And even the dead ballerina’s sister. . . Sherri?
OUELLETTE: That's right, Sherri.
POTTER: Sherri. She's defined by it because to her it represented something, perhaps, that other girls got and she didn't.
And Detective Osillic. For her, this is a new place. She knows of it, she says she might have seen some shows there – I'm not sure she's telling the truth. She's the one who's newest to it. It doesn't loom large in her life the way that it does for the others. And so she's coming in as sort of an outsider.
But, no matter what, everyone's lives interconnect through this grand theatre that exists in the heart of this slump. That idea itself, is that how you see places of art, for instance, like theatres – like playhouses like ours or dance studios and so forth – in real cities? Do you think they can serve that function?
OUELLETTE: For sure. I mean, if I think of – in the play, the people who live in that town are consumed with their own survival. Because that's what they need to do to survive. And here’s this thing which isn't a part of that. Which completely blows their mind. Which is about something totally different. I mean, even here in Windsor just going to, as a young person, the Art Gallery of Windsor, and seeing things which I hadn't imagined, which I hadn't heard of, which I hadn't seen before, really opens your mind about, well, the places that you can go.
It's like when I was in school and I was really good at math and really good in English, and math began to frustrate me because it has limits, or the limits where you can go to new area are so far away for a kid in grade eight, that I gave it up. I thought, I don't wanna do this. I want to explore. I want to do something. In English you could do that right away. In writing you can do that right away. In math, in science, well, you got twenty years of school before you can start doing that.
POTTER: Yeah, if you're lucky.
OUELLETTE: So I think it's just mind-blowing. That's what I like about it. I mean, all of those people you talked about. Detective Michael Byrne, would he have become a police officer if the Mirabella wasn't there? Would he have just followed in the footsteps of his own father more? I don't know what would have happened. What would have happened to any of them? I mean, certainly something would have happened, but this. This was, you know. . . I wanna talk about obscured things that don't make sense. But you know when things are traveling in a straight line and a powerful body approaches and exercises gravity on them and they change their trajectory because of that.
POTTER: That’s an interesting way to think about the Mirabella, as this powerful gravitational force.
You mentioned that all the characters are people who do things. And what we discover along the course of the play, and I'm not going to obviously spoil anything here, is that some of the things that these people have done are pretty bad. And sometimes they’re things that in the context and circumstances they were in we can understand, we can empathize with that and so forth. I can anyway. Maybe some people can’t. And some not so much, and some are a little more uncertain. Maybe some people will be able to empathize with that, and some people won't. The Mirabella seems to be sort of a repository of secrets. A repository for, well, maybe for people who have secrets that they feel would make them unwelcome elsewhere. Was that part of what you were thinking of it? Stephan Illyich, the ballet master, mentions that it is intended to be a sanctuary. Were you thinking about it in that way? Because that also has some religious connotations too, doesn't it? The idea of church being a sanctuary and if you were in a church then the authorities couldn't come in and drag you out.
OUELLETTE: Well, it's like a theatre. When you're in a theatre whatever is happening in your life is not there for a little bit. So yeah, it's definitely a sanctuary in that way. And I think whatever was happening to those people, the minute they stepped in the theatre for those – if it was twenty years of classes and dancing, or if it was just to see one show, it was an escape. It was a sanctuary.
POTTER: So it's an escape, it’s a sanctuary, it performs this function, it gives people some sort of place of safety. There's a couple of different references to that. But it also, I mean, there's a darker side, right? And this ambivalence and the complexity of what's happening here grows as the story advances, that it may also be a repository, or it may be a place for secrets to be hidden as well.
OUELLETTE: It's definitely a place that is different. And if go back to the idea of places of strong gravitational pull like a black hole, I mean yeah it draws things in – it draws good things, it draws bad things in too, and they’re there as well. So it has all of these things in it.
POTTER: Yeah, absolutely it does. And one of the things that fascinated me about the Mirabella itself in this regard is that it seems to be a place that's set up to be without moral judgment about the people who inhabited it, the people who work there, or who attend it, or who are part of it in some way, connected to it in some way – that the Mirabella itself as a place where you're not going to be excluded or judged because of whatever sins you might have committed.
OUELLETTE: Well, as you said, like a church. As long as people put the Mirabella first and take care of the Mirabella, worship the Mirabella if you will, then they’re accepted, yes. It’s the people who stand against it that there's a problem with.
POTTER: Right. What's your take on the moral complexity of that? So, for instance, there's a character in the play who has done something that I think most people would find unforgivable, but another character has decided they're going to forgive that person, and they have their own reasoning for why they would do that. I would expect that others in the community, and in fact Detective Osillic does this, think he is almost evil by extension by giving this person a place of refuge. What's your take on that?
OUELLETTE: That’s complicated. Once again, it's church-like. If you serve the church then whatever else you've done is not thought about or it's forgiven or it doesn't matter as long as you are serving the Mirabella. So yeah, who you were outside those doors doesn't matter so much. It's who you are inside.
POTTER: And what you do inside too, right?
POTTER: Because that's part of this person's reason, right? That this person is not acting that way here. They changed. And as long as they remain in that sort of way, in that sort of position, it's fine.
OUELLETTE: Yeah, and that's one of the horrors of the play is that this murder has taken place inside the Mirabella, which is sacrilege.
POTTER: So does that murder represent the first tendril of corruption entering the Mirabella from the outside world of Butcher’s Town?
OUELLETTE: The first large eruption. The tendrils are already there.
POTTER: Yeah, I mean, in a way the tendrils were there at it's founding, right?
POTTER: Because it's founded out of tragedy. It's founded out of something that was really horrifying and with the attempt of trying to create some sort of something good out of that horror, something that could provide a lot of good for a lot of people in a way of not only offsetting the horror, but helping the person who feels in some ways guilty and ashamed for not preventing that horror. Providing them with a way of feeling as though they've done their penance, that they’ve repented in some way. I think that art actually has a huge role in that in people’s lives.
OUELLETTE: Oh, for sure.
POTTER: That we use it to exorcise demons and to find something within ourselves that's better than what we're casting out.
POTTER: Have you had this experience with your writing?
OUELLETTE: Oh for sure. For sure.
POTTER: Do you have an example?
OUELLETTE: Oh, just in general, I think, anything that you feel or anything that you're obsessed with you can exorcise it by putting it down and getting it out.
POTTER: It reminded me of a play we produced a couple of years ago, Blasted by Sarah Kane – I don't know if this comparison upsets you – in that the point of it, the point of that work, is that the cycles of violence in which we find ourselves as victims and perpetrators will continue. Perpetrators make victims, victims make new perpetrators, and it keeps going on and on and on. And the only way to get out of this trap that humankind has been stuck in, forever maybe, is to make the very difficult move of deliberately stepping out of it, letting go of your own anger and hatred, letting go of the fact that those people have victimized you, and treating them with compassion and grace. And that that's an extremely difficult thing to do. But that is in fact the only way out of it. And I'm reminded of that in Mirabella because that seems to be the point of view of someone like Stephan Illyich, who founded the Mirabella.
Do you see it as a place – or not as a place, necessarily – as a vehicle for rehabilitation the way that Stephan does?
OUELLETTE: I don't know. I think that's restricted to him and the things he touches. Other people have different opinions. I mean, they talk about it being toxic, and it's almost cultish, and it's a way to get money from parents. And so there's lots of things happening there. Stephan Illyich certainly is doing, as you said, he is trying to step out of that circle of violence. Other people. . . I mean there's all kinds of people with all kinds of motivations in there.
POTTER: Yeah, and the person that you’re talking about, Benjamin Burrows, the business manager, has a much more jaundiced view of not just the Mirabella, which he does seem to have some respect for, but of ballet, and perhaps the arts generally, as something that, sure, okay, it can offer hope, it can offer something to work towards, it can offer pride, and all of that, but it can also be incredibly destructive. And it can end up being, for some people, a trap. Do you think that's true of theatre?
OUELLETTE: Yeah, for sure. I mean all the arts, it depends. We often see good things and say, you know what the people involved are good and they had good intentions and they're spreading nice things, but there's also bad things out there. There's things filled with hate. There’s things which are designed to take your money. There's all kinds of things pushing some agenda. I mean, fortunately there's good people who are pushing a good agenda in some places, but there's a whole rainbow of different things.
POTTER: Yeah it is unfortunately, like most of reality, perhaps all of reality, neither wholly good nor wholly bad.
Now, the play – you've mentioned that you see the play as being about love fundamentally.
POTTER: And then the tagline for the play points toward a connection between love and obsession. What do you see as the key differences between love and obsession? Where’s the line that divides them?
OUELLETTE: Well, if we go back to people being good, I think love is the base of that. When it goes beyond that, into something that you must have, something that you must own, something you must control, it becomes obsession. And that's obviously not love. I mean, love is altruistic. It's “I wish the best for that and I will pour my heart to that and take care of that”. Where as obsession wants to control it, wants to own it, wants to exclude everyone else.
POTTER: Yeah. It reminds me of some things that Bertrand Russell wrote about 100 years ago, and I'm sorry for bringing this into this conversation, but he ended up dividing the impulses and desires that motivate human behavior into two rough categories. You have the creative impulses and you have the possessive impulses. And love is the product of a creative impulse, and its operation involves creative desires. You are attempting to forge something new with others or with an idea, even, you can be in love with an idea, whatever it might be, and adding to the world and bringing new things into the world with that. Whereas possessive impulses involve taking and preventing others from having the thing that you're fixated on. And he argued that we often confused the two of these things. And that, well at least in his day, he thought the moral leadership of the day and society and the church and so forth didn’t do a very good job helping people distinguish them.
And that, I think, is fundamental to art as well. So if we look at it through this Russellian lens then art and love arise from the same impulse, this creative impulse. And what makes them worth celebrating, what makes them good is that they both contribute to growth and flourishing of the human species or individual human beings, I would argue.
OUELLETTE: No, I’d agree for sure.
POTTER: Okay, so in that case, this play – which I think is a work of art, actually. I think your script is a work of art. What is it contributing to human flourishing – to the growth of human goodness?
OUELLETTE: Well, perhaps it's a cautionary tale warning us against obsession.
POTTER: I think there's more. I think there's more. I’m going to push you on this. I think you're right. I think you're right, yes. But I think there's more because what I think it does too is invite people to empathize with a lot of different characters, and characters you might not be inclined to empathize with before you see the play, but as you come to understand them as individuals you do empathize with them. And by doing so, I think, it invites us to take a much more complex and nuanced view of what it means to do good and what it means to be a positive influence in the world. It invites us, I think, to work past simplistic ideas of good and evil as black and white with a sharp dividing line and acknowledged the ambivalence and the ambiguity that is just part of human affairs. If it has that effect on people, I would say that's pretty damn positive.
OUELLETTE: I'll go with that.
POTTER: Am I reading too much into it?
OUELLETTE: No, I don't think so.
POTTER: This is the effect it had on me.
OUELLETTE: Yeah, no, I think that's its greatest strength is that the characters are all so. . . I don't want to say well-developed, but rather that we do see things through them and we understand what they do and what they say, where they're coming from, and it contextualises the things that they have done. Because they all have done bad things. But were they bad? Or are they bad? And have they gotten past that? Have they redeemed themselves? Are they still carrying that? So there's a lot. As you said, there's not a firm line between good and evil here. It's, I don't know, it's all over the place.
POTTER: I'm very suspicious of the idea of heroes and of role models as people that we should aspire to be in the simplistic sense these things are often used. Because to me “hero” is just somebody that you don't know much about. And if you knew more about them than you'd see that they're just as tainted and complex as the rest of us. That they have, they've done terrible things. Now, hopefully not too terrible. They've done good things, they've done terrible things with great motivations, and they've done good things with terrible motivations. Human lives are far too complex to be reduced to, “oh, here is a moral exemplar that we should all follow”. And so I'm attracted to stories like yours in which we can see goodness in people who are immensely flawed and we understand where the goodness in them comes from, but also we understand where their flaws come from.
I'm thinking in particular of Michael, the lead character. He's the detective, he's our protagonist, he's the hero investigating this case. And we learn over the course of the play that he's got his own secrets. And the more we learn about where those come from and what motivates them and so forth – I’m speaking for myself and generalizing to everyone else in the world – the less we’re inclined to judge him harshly. Was that your intent?
OUELLETTE: I hadn't thought of it that way. I just tried to be true to him and he's really living his life, and I wasn't necessarily thinking of how people would take it. He needed to be true in what he did and the reasons he did his things.
POTTER: Well, okay, so that raises another interesting question that I wanted to ask you about too, which is one of the things that really jumped out to me when you submitted the play to the Windsor-Essex Playwriting Contest – and I think the other judges as well, one of them is over there, I'm looking for approval. Being blind, I can't see her face. I don't know why I did that – is there’s this sense of very, very deep and vulnerable authenticity to the characters and the story. This felt to me like a script that was pulled with some resistance, but also some obstinacy, from someone’s heart and laid out there. And that, seeing it laid out, there might have been a moment where you thought, is this too much? Is this too vulnerable? Is this too authentic? Is there too much honesty in this? Did you have that kind of experience?
OUELLLETTE: No, I don't think so because I've written a lot of plays and I've learned to disassociate otherwise, because they're all flawed, right? And if you obsess on them too much, then you get too depressed – oh God, I can't do this. So once the play comes out, it exists and you take yourself out of the equation, and you say, okay, this is a thing, it's malleable. I can change it, it can be improved, it can – whatever happens. So when this came out, I don't think I thought that it was too honest. I was happy with it. I was very happy with it. But I also accepted and recognized that it was now – it was a baby. It came out of me and I cut the cord and it's no longer attached to me. Certainly it carries my genes in it, but it's its own thing now, so it will have its own life. And as a parent you can wish for one thing or another, but you can only hope for the best.
POTTER: You send your baby off to the orphanage often.
Okay, well, that raises another idea for me, or another possibility, which is – how do I phrase that? Do you find that some of your scripts you write almost as though they’re intended simply for the enjoyment of other people, and that other scripts are written to exorcise something from yourself? Or is there always some mixture of the two in there?
OUELLETTE: I'll go with the mixture for sure. I mean, I think if you are writing to please other people, you're going to disappoint yourself. I write to interest myself. Which means that anything can happen. Certainly some of it involves exorcism, some of it involves strange pairings and quirky happenings, dark characters. I was thinking on the way here, I was thinking, where's the root? There's a seed of this that started somewhere. And I think it was the play I wrote for the contest that didn't win several years ago, that was about a very unpleasant character who was obsessed with a particular woman and having his revenge and what he thought of her. That was a hard play to hold. But if I think of it linearly, I mean him, his character was really the ancestor of all of these people. Because they all have dark – he had good things and bad things about him, but he was mostly bad. He was unpalatable. These people are more human, I'll say, and every single person in the play is that. He was alone in that play. The other people were just, I won’t say “less developed”, they weren't like him. If I go back and say there are people who do things and people that things happen to, he was in a play and he happened to the other people. They didn't initiate the way he did.
But moving forward into Mirabella, all these people are initiating. And at the same time things happen to them too, but they're still pushing forward. They’re still driven by that obsession.
POTTER: So obsession is a big part of who you are in terms of what you write about.
OUELLETTE: I don't know. Sometimes, I suppose. I mean, what do – I don't know, I'm fascinated by what people feel, I guess.
POTTER: Well, there's passion. Passion is interesting in itself, and obsession is a kind of passion, right?
OUELLETTE: Well, if we go back to what you said about creativity and possession, passion and obsession are in different hands.
POTTER: The play, it brings up ghosts. And there's a thread that runs throughout the play, or a motif or what have you, is that happens to us in the past never quite leaves us. It's always with us, no matter how much we wish it wasn't. Maybe. Sometimes. Things regarding child abuse are brought up, for instance. It's not a focus of the play or anything like that, but it's brought up as something that happens to people in the past and it does affect who they are in the future. So each character in this place seems to be dealing with some element of their past that is perhaps affecting them in ways that maybe they don't realize or they don't want. Which made me think of Jean Paul Sartre and the idea that your life is what you do with what has been done to you, and how you take control of that and use it deliberately in some ways.
Would you say some characters in the play are sort of doing that, or are they all sort of drifting along on the currents of their histories?
OUELLETTE: No, I would say they're definitely acting on it. And if they are drifting, then it's because I think, they don't – they're not sure, they don't know what to do. Or they're acting, they think they're acting, they don't know how to do it. I think for the most part they are consciously doing something.
POTTER: Let’s do a 180, let's talk about the development process and the casting and all that.
The cast ended up being you, Fay Lynn, and I, which –
OUELLETTE: Is a good thing.
POTTER: -- was surprise to me. I mean, it's been a lot of fun. I'm enjoying it. Do you remember how that came about?
OUELLETTE: Well, at first, as I had talked about before, I had only imagined myself doing it, maybe partly because all of the pieces of the characters are me. And I felt it very deeply. And I couldn't imagine handing it off or who could do this. Who could do this? But I've worked with you and Fay for quite a long time, and I respect your passion, but also your curiosity and your obsession to dive deeper into things – to look for that hidden thing in the murkiness, the treasure, the unknown beast, whatever it is that's down there. And I thought, well, you were right, I shouldn't – it's not a one-person play. So I just, I thought, well these wonderful people could do it too. I think I said to Fay, I said, “Who could we get to do this play? It could only be you and Michael and myself”.
POTTER: I think that sounds right. I think I was told about the discussion. I don’t think I was there. And I thought, okay. Partly it was because I really loved all the characters in the play and I thought, well, whoever I end up playing I'm going to enjoy that – it doesn't really matter. And it's turned out to be a challenge, because we're all switching characters constantly. And I think the audience – hopefully we're doing that right, I think we are – I think the audience will really enjoy that constant transformation onstage.
I remember part of it, or at least later on in the process, was when we weren't sure whether the Shadowbox Theatre would survive 2022, we thought, well if the three of us are doing it, and we do it with minimal props and so forth, we can take this wherever. We can produce this anywhere. And we even talked about trying to get into fringe festivals and so forth. I still think we should try that.
OUELLETTE: Yeah, me too.
POTTER: And it's true, it is remarkably. . . what's the word? Not transportable. That's the wrong word.
POTTER: Independent. Not stationary?
OUELLETTE: I guess. It's odd because for a play –
POTTER: What’s an antonym for “stationary”?
POTTER: What’s an antonym?
OUELLETTE: I don’t know. Mobile?
POTTER: Mobile. Yes. Okay. Mobile.
OUELLETTE: But it’s a play that's about the Mirabella, about a locale, so much, but you could bring it anywhere.
POTTER: It is about a locale. And that reminds me too of Butcher’s Town, because I get this impression about Butcher’s Town that it's this definite place described quite vividly, and characters are affected by having lived there and so forth. And it affects the Mirabella. The Mirabella affects it. But it also appears to me that Butcher’s Town is a state of mind and a way of living that you can find in any city.
OUELLETTE: Yeah, for sure.
POTTER: It's a place, but it's also the kind of lifestyle that that place creates or necessitates or. . .
OUELLETTE: Yeah, definitely. My parents grew up in the Depression and it never left them. No matter what their circumstances were, they still were worried about where the money was coming from and, you know, let's leave the lights off as much as possible and be careful or you'll lose your job.
POTTER: My grandparents too. I mean, they hoarded food and water until they died, just in case. Just in case. I mean these things, as much as we may not like them, they’re part of how we become who we are, even if we don't want to say they're part of who we are, they’re part of how we become who we are.
POTTER: Well, Joey, thank you for being part of this conversation.
OUELLETTE: Thank you, Michael.
POTTER: And thank you for allowing us to create this play with you.
OUELLETTE: It’s been my great pleasure.
POTTER: And submitting it to the contest.
OUELLETTE: The contest is a very good thing.
POTTER: You gotta let someone else win at some point. It's actually us, we make these decisions, but you know.
OUELLETTE: Why aren't – everyone should be submitting to this. I mean, you don't charge a fee, you go through it with great care and give detailed feedback. You can't get that anywhere.
POTTER: It's a labour of love. We spend a ridiculous amount of time on this contest. And it's a labour of love because then we find things like this and all the other plays that have won over the years. So it's wonderful.
And the only way you can find out, people, how wonderful it is, is by going to see it. There are eight performances beginning June 16th. They’re $25. 8:00 PM, each performance, doors open 7:30. Tickets are $25, you can get them from our website postproductionswindsor.ca or you can take your chances and try to get some at the door. We have cash, debit, and credit card payments available.
OUELLETTE: Thank you.
JOEY OUELLETTE has written more plays than he can count. He's acted in more than he can keep track of. He's directed, well, a lot as well. Obviously he's not good at counting. He thinks Mirabella might be his best play.
12/5/2023 - Sketchy Jésus and the Questionables
11/2/2023 - THE CASE OF THE ODD SHAPED GAS TANKS - 519 Magazine article
11/2/2023 - REFRAMED - 519 Magazine article
10/14/2023 - HANGMEN - Windsorite article
9/21/2023 - HANGMEN - Meet the Cast
6/21/2023 - MIRABELLA - Trailer
6/6/2023 - MIRABELLA - Interview with playwright Joey Ouellette
6/2/2023 - MIRABELLA - Meet the Cast
4/2/2023 - GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS - Meet the Cast
3/7/2023 - The 2023 Edele Winnie Women's Monologue Competition - Meet the Judges
3/7/2023 - The 2023 Edele Winnie Women's Monologue Competition - Meet the Contestants
1/20/2023 - THE CHILDREN - Meet the Casts
11/25/22 - Pirate Attack on the 1C Bus Going Downtown - Interview with playwright Joey Ouellette
11/19/22 - Pirate Attack on the 1C Bus Going Downtown - Meet the Cast
10/25/2022 - Announcing the winner of THE 2022 WINDSOR-ESSEX PLAYWRITING CONTEST
9/28/2022 - STUCK - Interview with playwright Jonathan Tessier
9/14/2022 - STUCK - Meet the Creative Team / Cast
8/22/2022 - A GREAT ROUND WONDER - Interview with playwright Barry T. Brodie
8/9/2022 - A GREAT ROUND WONDER - Meet the Cast
6/5/2022 - PREPARED - Meet the Cast
5/31/2022 - PREPARED - Interview with playwright Kari Bentley-Quinn
4/19/2022 - Interview with playwright Edele Winnie
11/10/2021 - DEAD BEAR - Meet the Cast
11/5/2021 - DEAD BEAR: Interview with playwright John Gavey
9/12/2021 - BLASTED: Meet the Cast
7/2/2021 - CRIMINAL GENIUS: Meet the Cast
3/10/2021 - NEGATUNITY: interview with playwright Matthew St. Amand
3/10/2021 - NEGATUNITY: Meet the Cast
11/16/2020 - THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE: Meet the Cast
10/5/2020 - FATBOY: interview with playwright John Clancy
7/16/2020 - Winner: 2020 Playwriting Contest
6/23/2020 - Announcement: Nikolas Prsa joins Post as Outreach Director
3/15/2020 - BETRAYAL - Meet the Cast
1/18/2020 - PRY IT FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS: interview with playwright Edele Winnie
1/15/2020 - PRY IT FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS: Meet the Cast/Crew
11/4/2019 - THE PILLOWMAN: Meet the Cast/Crew
9/18/2019 - AUTOPSY & A HAUNTING IN E FLAT: interview with playwrights Alex Monk & Joey Ouellette
8/29/2019 - AUTOPSY: Meet the Cast
8/29/2019 - A HAUNTING IN E FLAT: Meet the Cast
5/31/2019 - AMERICAN BUFFALO: Meet the Cast
3/31/2019 - NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH: Meet the Cast
3/19/2019 - NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH: interview with playwright Eve Lederman
2/25/2019 - So You're Writing a Play...
1/17/2019 - NO EXIT: Meet the Cast
11/22/2018 - ANOTHER FUCKING CHRISTMAS PLAY...: Meet the Cast & Composer
8/28/18 - EQUUS: Meet the Cast/Crew
7/15.2018 - SHELTER IN PLACE: Meet the Playwright
7/9/2018 - SHELTER IN PLACE: Meet the Cast
7/2/2018 - Writing to be Read
5/3/2018 - STOP KISS: Meet Fay Lynn as Callie
4/10/2018 - STOP KISS: Meet Lauren Crowley as Sara
4/27/2018 - STOP KISS: Meet Dan MacDonald as George
4/25/2018 - STOP KISS: Meet Matt Froese as Peter
4/21/2018 - STOP KISS: Meet Cindy Pastorius as Mrs. Winsley / Nurse
4/18/2018 - STOP KISS: Meet Alex Alejandria as Detective Cole
1/24/2018 - DOUBT: Meet Niki Richardson as Sister Aloysius
1/17/2018 - DOUBT: Meet Eric Branget as Father Flynn
1/10/2018 - DOUBT: Meet Carla Gyemi as Sister James
1/3/2018 - DOUBT: Meet Jennifer Cole as Mrs. Muller
10/2/2017 - TRUE WEST: Joey Wright as Austin
9/25/2017 - TRUE WEST: Dylan MacDonald as Lee
9/18/2017 - TRUE WEST: Ian Loft as Saul
9/11/2017 - TRUE WEST: Cindy Pastorius as Mom
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