The curtain rises on…

A small, cluttered office. A printer spews out paper. The CD player blares the music from Meat Loaf’s “Bat out of Hell” and a shaggy-looking writer, MARK LEIREN-YOUNG, hammers away on the keys of a MacBook air.

As Mark types, Oedipus enters. Being blind (as he tragically died several thousand years before he would have been considered visually impaired), the dethroned King stumbles over a stack of comic books. He rises, turns to the audience and addresses them.

OEDIPUS

People of Thebes and anyone reading Mark Leiren-Young’s website for his playwriting biography. I am here because Mark’s first play was about me. It explains how it was not the Gods or the fates that destroyed me but a political conspiracy by Creon to control access to the throne. It is called Oedipus was Framed and is contained in the script Watchin’ which also features Is Godot’s Room Ready Yet. The only play not by Samuel Beckett featured at the Beckett Festival in Calgary.

Godot enters, stage left.

GODOT

Hey Eddy, sorry, I’m late. As a playwright Mark’s work includes issue based adult dramas (Shylock, Articles of Faith and Dim Sum Diaires) issue-based teen dramas (If You Really Love Me and Basically Good Kids), family fantasy (Blueprints from Space), several one-man shows (Never Shoot a Stampede Queen, Jim and Shylock) and dozens of topical, satirical revues attacking politicians you’ve never heard of. He has several nice reviews posted on this site, but he used to be a reviewer for the Vancouver Sun and CBC Television so he takes all good reviews with a huge grain on salt and all bad reviews to the recycling bin.

Oedipus pulls a sword.

OEDIPUS

This drama lacks conflict. I challenge you to a duel.

Godot pulls a gun.

GODOT

Back off Mama’s boy.

Mark turns.

MARK

Can you guys keep it down, I’m trying to work.

Oedipus and Godot put down their weapons as Shylock enters.

SHYLOCK

Mr. Shakespeare would have his royalties for use of my name and likeness in your play.

CURTAIN

SHYLOCK WRAPS HIT FRINGE TOUR

John Huston just wrapped another hit Fringe tour the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. “Relevant and riveting. 5 stars out of 5.” CBC Saskatoon. “Rarely will you find a single show at the Fringe that offers as much as this one does…It may be Fringe in its scale and cast size, but in what it says, and in Huston’s performance, Shylock encompasses all of what theatre is. Five stars out of five” CBC Winnipeg.  

Here’s the scoop on Shylock from The Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia & here’s a story from The Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare project