Playwright, Screenwriter, Producer
The Good Egg
2 Male / 1 Female
A riveting, rollicking comedy about three people trying to conceive a baby.
They’re the ultimate downtown couple — attractive, smart and successful. They have everything they could ever want Except a child. When bad news points them to alternative methods of conception, they encounter a handsome young art model He seems like the perfect solution to their problems. But as this unlikely trio gets more intimate, secret agendas surface and threaten to destroy not only their hasty deal, but everything they’ve so carefully built for themselves.
THE GOOD EGG is a penetrating look at timely, controversial issues. Theatrically audacious, it’s also an achingly real and hilarious portrait of three unpredictable people on the brink.
PRESS FOR THE GOOD EGG
“A smart, hip and fast-paced comedy [with a] tight, engaging script ... Far above the realm of [a] very clever and funny sitcom, it succeeds very well indeed in joining laughter to the shifting nature of human relationships.” ****1/2
— Bob Clark, Calgary Herald
“ The Good Egg is a sharp, fun, sexy comedy full of poetic language, punched up with raunchy jokes, witty repartee, [and an] honesty and directness that is so appealing. All three characters are fully rounded — full of flaws and insecurities as they tumble through these huge life-altering events.”
— Dan Perry, Fast Forward Weekly
“I felt I was witnessing the birth of a spunky new Canadian sex farce.”
— Louise Hobson, Calgary Sun
“Highly amusing yet also full of touching moments, ... the play [is an] acute examination of the boundaries and definitions of family,parenthood, love and identity. Avoiding easy categorization as an issue drama, the timely subject matter is dealt with honestly and will get you talking once the show’s over.”
— Lynda Sea, Avenue Calgary
Life After God
One Act (95 minutes)
3 Male / 3 Female
Adapted from the short story by Douglas Coupland with additional inspiration from his book City of Glass, LIFE AFTER GOD offers a lively and penetrating look at a generation raised without religion. Centering around an eccentric, sensitive man named Scout, the play tells the story of six friends who went to high school together - and how their lives unravel fifteen years later.
Facing the challenges and disillusionments of adulthood, the friends grapple with a new-found sense of emptiness in a culture stuck in fast-forward. At turns funny and moving, LIFE AFTER GOD is a free-wheeling, theatrically spectacular examination of our quest for transcendence, dressed up in a tour of the city of seismic shifts - Vancouver.
The Fabulous Life
3 Male / 2 Female
Warren Creed has a perfect urban life—until his small-town sister Maggie arrives on the doorstep along with her troubled son and her dying mother Betty, there for specialized medical treatment. In this humorous, irreverent exploration of death, dying and long-kept secrets, Warren comes to rediscover the power and value of a family he long thought he'd given up.
5 Male / 1 Female
What survives the passage of time? Great art? Great love?
Inspired by long-forgotten British artists, Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, LAST ROMANTICS travels from the drawing rooms of fin-de-siècle London with Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, to MacKenzie King's Canada on the eve of the Great Depression.
A witty and heartfelt elegy to art, beauty and sacrifice, LAST ROMANTICS tells a poignant love story creating a vivid portrait of a world left behind by the modern age.
PRESS FOR LAST ROMANTICS
“MacLennan delivers a masterpiece."
— Capital Xtra
1 Soprano / 1 Baritone
Laurel runs through a large city park at night, chased by a male Stranger. In the course of the story, however, clues are slipped which
suggest that the victim isn't so innocent. Through music, word and action, the opera reveals that "The Stranger" is in fact part of
Laurel's psyche, and his pursuit of her is with a more complex purpose. When she stabs him and explains her motives, talking of "killing
a man tonight," we think she is referring to the Stranger we have just seen her stab. But when the stranger stirs, not killed, we realise
that he is not the victim. He is haunting her, a voice she cannot escape which offers her the only way to properly silence him. The piece
ends in this place of heightened dilemma.
A contemporary retelling of the Daphne and Apollo myth, THE LAURELS tells an exciting, surprising and moving story that works on
Music / Script order: Jeffrey Ryan
The Shooting Stage
Twenty years ago, Len took a photograph. Now that the nude portrait has resurfaced in an obscenity trial, Len's childhood friend Malcolm re-enters his life to confront him. At the same time, teenage Elliot pursues his secret "sissy boy" ambitions while bullied by Derrick, a troubled schoolmate who himself is mired in a web of lies. Elliot's friend Ivan may be able to stop the inevitable disaster but only if he can find the courage to transform himself.
A thrilling puzzle weaving two generations, THE SHOOTING STAGE explores how boys become men, and how the fortunate survive violence through acts of the imagination.
PRESS FOR THE SHOOTING STAGE
"Superbly written, THE SHOOTING STAGE is a compelling story that builds, scene by scene, to an almost excruciating point of tension. For its type, it doesn't get much better than this."
— Vancouver Courier
"Michael Lewis MacLennan's wonderful new play THE SHOOTING STAGE ... keeps us sharp by weaving seemingly implausible connections that somehow all fit together at the end. What's marvellous is how all characters eventually come into contact with one another, and how the playwright keeps surprising us. MacLennan plays our emotions like a pinball wizard working his favourite table.... Besides being a riveting evening of theatre, THE SHOOTING STAGE is a penetrating look at the lives of grown men through the painful prism of adolescence."
— West Ender
"What really drives THE SHOOTING STAGE is a fine script, well played. ... It's the wicked turns of the plot that command our attention. Things change, constantly and rapidly, in this compelling and labyrinthine story." * * * * (out of four)
— Globe and Mail
"It's an ugly business, growing up. Yet in his new production THE SHOOTING STAGE, Michael Lewis MacLennan's insight into the pain and violene of adolescence makes for theatre that is often nothing less than beautiful. The play's complex double narrative...intersects with discoveries of surprising, often unsettling connections between the men and the teens. Like the transition from youth to adulthood, THE SHOOTING STAGE is challenging, sometimes exhilarating, but consistently compelling."
— Georgia Straight
"THE SHOOTING STAGE is filled with achingly real portraits. MacLennan has mastered the tricky art of creating well-rounded characters who can be both funny and painful to watch."
— Vancouver Sun
What Remains of Georgia Tuttle
Georgia Tuttle has made the most of her One Good Idea. In creating her restaurant Chez Seul, she has not only fed countless diners
with great meals, but she has succeeded in developing a wide-ranging clientele—all who have a certain thing in common. In the
process, Georgia has also transformed herself from an unassuming letter carrier to a gregarious hostess addicted to the validation her
customers give her.
Tonight, events on her way home from work have driven Georgia back to her empty restaurant, where she struggles to find some sort of
comfort. In the darkest hours before dawn, Georgia talks to Owen, a man she imagines to be watching her from the dark street outside.
In the restaurant, Georgia attempts to make sense of the choices that brought her to tonight's crisis and in so doing, she exposes her
secrets and hidden inner world.
WHAT REMAINS OF GEORGIA TUTTLE looks at the strange ways we shore up against despair, and how, with humour and honesty,
we might have the tools to achieve our own metamorphosis
Copyscript order: Michael MacLennan
Two men click in a nightclub and negotiate a pick-up. After waves of self-examining asides and various botched attempts, they manage
to actually hook up. COME ON! is a playfully theatrical look at how, despite our neuroses and insecurities, two people can make true
Copyscript order:Michael MacLennan
3 Male/3 Female
GRACE charts the lives of six remarkable people in one day—a day when each one's life is inexorably changed. As their paths intersect, these strangers affect and transform one another in astonishing, often hilarious ways.
The play is a heart-wrenching yet life-affirming exploration of fate and attraction, investigating what it means to achieve the grace of meaningful, if fleeting, human connection in the city.
PRESS FOR GRACE
"A superb feat of dramatic orchestration.... The script is frequently funny, and so pliant and unforced that one soon gives it mental permission to go where it likes for as long as it likes. In fact, this indulgence turns out to be unnecessary; as the permutations unfold, the structure is revealed to be extremely tight, themes and motifs echoing from one encounter to another.... In a season typified with a few shining exceptions, by clumsy direction of half-formed texts, GRACE is a blessing."
— National Post
"The real revelation is MacLennan, whose dark humour, crackling dialogue and ability to express the inexpressible make him a definite writer to watch. The characters intrigue... MacLennan's a master at suggesting menace and violence, and GRACE'S few moments of heightened lyricism never feel forced or showy."
— Now Magazine
"In Michael Lewis MacLennan's GRACE, a fascinating sequence of linked episodes about the fear and mercy of strangers, the "angels" are fiercely idiosyncratic, gloriously loopy, and disturbingly strange. They turn seediness into beauty and devastation into hope.... The characters are observed with amazing candour and much humour... MacLennan has written a small miracle of theatre."
— Xtra Magazine
"... Fascinating script, playRites 98's best show. His sharp, pungent imagery and character relationships coalesce in scenes that are always thrillingly unpredictable."
— NOW Magazine
"GRACE held me with its rare and valuable strengths of originality, surprise and honesty. MacLennan spike's GRACE with rich dark humour, sudden moments of recognition, and poetry."
— The Georgia Straight
"The sensitivity and poetry of MacLennan's vision—not to mention the technical facility displayed by his ability to link the storie's make for an interesting evening."
"Absolutely terrific... superb characterizations, brilliantly written."
— Liberty Radio, London UK
"GRACE tackles innocence lost with poetry worthy of Blake. MacLennan should be flattered by the comparison but applauded for taking what is essentially a series of short stories about the everyday losers one might encounter on Victoria streets and turning it into a search for love, companionship and, ultimately, redemption. [. . .] The playwright avoids simple pity as he disarms all with alarming candour and sets a ballast of humour to round out what is deeply entertaining drama. GRACE is magnificent."
— Victoria News
Leaning Over Railings
A full-length solo play, LEANING OVER RAILINGS charts the transformation of a young man on the high seas. Jason sets out on a cruise, exuberantly, expecting the experience of a lifetime. After embarking, however, he finds days filled with rituals of excess designed to distract the traveler from the fact that he is among 1,000 strangers in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight. He witnesses extremes of rich (on board) and poor (the "destinations") and confronts vacuous passengers, gluttons of every kind-in short, a microcosm of the worst of North American Society.
Jason is in retreat from crises at home, but enforced leisure forces him to confront his own life-particularly issues of class, imagination and identity. Jason doesn't "get away" from anything: instead, his demons have chased him aboard. Embodied in those around him, they won't rest until he has confronted them.
Beat the Sunset
2 Male/2 Female
Ten years after a shattering crisis, Adam and Sacha meet again. They carry the scars of events which severed—and nearly destroyed—them both. Sacha, a history professor, is spontaneously moved to visit his old friend recuperating from a bout of AIDS-related pneumonia. Together they forge a relationship which transforms them both. At the same time Adam's mother Iris struggles to accept her son while trying desperately to reconcile a fractured family. Weaving themes of memory, AIDS, a mother's love and the history of epidemics, BEAT THE SUNSET is an explosive, life-affirming play about the transformative power of intimacy.
PRESS FOR BEAT THE SUNSET
"There were times during the opening night of Michael MacLennan's BEAT THE SUNSET when I wanted to burst into applause; I was that grateful for the beauty and honesty of certain passages of writing and moments of performance. . . . Right from the opening monologue, it's apparent that MacLennan is a playwright with prodigious theatrical instincts. . . . MacLennan writes for physical theatre as few people do. As I listened to his text with the rest of the audience, his words seemed to flow straight from his heard to our hearts, and in their journey from body to bodies, they transformed the space around us."
— Georgia Straight
"Only occasionally (well, almost never) is a new play this intelligent, this well-performed, this well-developed. This expressionistic drama [has] constant momentum as the varied performance bits meld into a satisfying whole. A fascinating, moving, touching portrait of life and love. A remarkable production, a true rarity in the world of theatre."
— Vancouver Echo
"If all them has been examined and poked and squeezed from every which way, would you go back to it to see if you could create a new message? Playwright and director Michael MacLennan would probably answer, because he thinks he can do it better. He'd be right. BEAT THE SUNSET delivers a powerful and moving theatre experience that journeys to some familiar places in different shoes. . . . BEAT THE SUNSET looks at the subject of AIDS, not as the prelude to death, but as another element to be considered in choosing to embrace life and the intricate miracles of intimacy."
— XTRA West
"An uncomfortably, brilliantly honest story about a struggle for intimacy between a young man with AIDS and his childhood best friend. One of the most promising scripts to hit Vancouver in a long time."
— North Shore News
"Startlingly accomplished and sophisticated. This is one of the best new plays I've seen by a Victoria writer, ever. Maclennan. . . has emerged as a playwright of great promise."
"A probing, skilfully written drama which brings incredible insight and humanity to the subject of AIDS. Without a hint of preachiness or pedantics, the play analyses and informs while telling a story that is as much about true emotions and human dignity as it is about the ravages of AIDS."
"Chilling. . . unexpectedly witty. This is powerful stuff."
— Monday Magazine
"Passionate and enduring, it speaks to everyone. . . an overwhelming experience. The run-away success of the festival: if you got a chance to see it, you'll know why."
© Michael MacLennan 2015 site: matthew simmons