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This article was published 14/5/2018 (979 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Playwright Daniel Thau-Eleff has spent years on his most recent play, and opening night is finally around the corner.
The Minto resident has written a number of shows for Winnipeg audiences, and he’s looking forward to staging Deserter at the Rachel Browne Theatre from May 17 to 27. The play is inspired by real-life war resister Joshua Key, but Thau-Eleff says it has themes most people will be able to relate to.
He says there were an estimated 200 U.S. war resisters living in Canada at one time, most of them refusing to fight in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
"They had a choice when they signed up, but once you sign on the dotted line, then there’s less choice," Thau-Eleff said. "They can extend your contract as long as they want. The real issue for me is not so much whether they’re volunteering when they sign up or not, but when soldiers are asked to do something that they know is wrong."
Thau-Eleff says a few of his previous plays have dealt with similar themes. He began working on Deserter in 2014, and he’s looking forward to seeing it finally hit the stage.
"It’s very cool, the (cast and crew) is working really well together," he said. "The words were in my head for so long and it’s so great when the actors and director actually brings it to life. It’s different than it sounded in my head, so when it’s different and better, that’s the most gratifying thing."
Thau-Eleff’s is producing the show with his company, Moving Target Theatre Company. He’s been working closely with Chris Gerrard-Pinker, who has been working on the play as a dramaturge — a literary editor and mentor.
"He guides the writing process — the play has really needed that," Thau-Eleff said.
He realized his passion for playwrighting while attending school for theatre.
"There were these two artists I really admired coming to town to do a show… I got to be part of that production as assistant director and saw these two artists creating a new script, and I just loved all the possibilities there," he said. "I said I want to make a one-person show."
So he wrote not one but two solo shows, as well as two multi-character shows. Deserter will be the fifth. It’s a way to explore some complex ideas, he says.
"I grew up in the Jewish community here in Winnipeg and I had a very present awareness of the Holocaust… a strong awareness of what the Nazis did, and a strong sense that we expected them to behave differently," Thau-Eleff said. "The previous project was an exploration of a person who did really terrible things and… this is a person saying I’m doing terrible things, and I want to stop. So it’s an investigation of what does that process look like? What are the next steps?"
Visit MovingTargetTheatre.com for more info.
Community journalist — The Metro
Alana Trachenko was the community journalist for The Metro