Bill Antoniou: actually don't know! I remember that a conversation came to mind and I wrote it down. Originally it was going to be a full-length play, I wanted to see if I could stage an entire play around a dinner, but when the opportunity came to do it in this production in tandem with another one-act play (Michael Stittle's "Fail Safe") I decided to make it shorter. Of course that also meant that it was appetizers and drinks instead of dinner since I can't force people to eat an entire dinner in 45 minutes every night!
The play's characters are five gay men who have such different personalities.
Yes! That was always meant to be the core of the experience, not necessarily the plot around which the action revolves (which is basically a man worried about his job). Drama is all in conflict, and I'm fascinating by the dynamics of different types of people being thrown together. In this one I wanted to explore what happens when you put these people in a blender.
Is there a particular issue that you are hoping to highlight by doing this?
Not one specific, distilled topic. It's more that I wanted to reveal what people are like when no one's looking. Also, my hope was to represent how over the course of conversation between these various people their loyalties shift depending on what is being discussed.
There's two couples and one single person, which provides a lot of drama right there.
Anyone who has ever been in that Bridget Jones situation of being the only single person at an event that's mostly couples knows how that automatically puts a charge in the air, because at some point you get asked about why you're single and you feel you have to defend yourself.
You reference Bridget Jones, it's also interesting that the conversation tends to always go back to talking about women.
It's something I've noticed that when I'm with my gay male friends, we tend to discuss the women we know and what we think are their issues when they're not around, and we also talk about famous women we love. The talk is never politically correct, some people would be appalled to hear the things we say about them, but none of it is meant to be derogatory; it's more like discussing our war buddies.
What are you hoping is the ultimate message that people take away from this show?
I try not to think in those terms because you risk writing something trite when you aim for a message in your work, but I hope that people see a bunch of characters who are muddling through and doing the best they can. We all leave our houses every morning intending to get what we want without clashing with anyone else, but it seems to be the nature of life that it happens anyway, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't keep trying to do better.
Brain Food: Two Short Plays by Bil Antoniou and Michael Stittle features the one act-plays Fail-Safe and We Say Such Terrible Things, running from March 4-14 at the Red Sandcastle Theatre. Call 416-845-9411 for tickets or visit www.redsandcastletheatre.com