Joining Sword & Pen‘s inaugural theme was proposed by Fight Master David Woolley, inspired by the print of Emile Bayard’s “An Affair of Honor” that hung on his living room wall. Each entry to the contest was required to incorporate the moment depicted in the print.
The two winning one-acts, Chicagoan Byron Hatfield’s Mrs. Dire’s House of Crumpets and Solutions and New Zealander Tony Wolf’sSatisfaction, were staged at the Viaduct Theater, April 7 – May 14, 2006, under the title An Affair of Honor. Each playwright received the Ballantyne Award, which carried with it a $500 stipend.
Satisfaction – Tony Wolf
directed by David Woolley
fight choreography by David Woolley
CAST: Dawn Alden * (Miss Kelly), Mary Becker (Mme. Renaud), Mary Anne Bowman * (Mme. Leboucher), Amy E. Harmon * (Sarah), Gillian N. Humiston (Mathilde Leboucher), Stephanie Repin * (Mrs. Thomas); Rachel Stubbs (Understudy)
STAFF: Joshua D. Allard (Costume Design ), Jennifer Aparicio (Scenic Artist/Carpenter Intern), Libby Beyreis * (Producer), Beth Cummings (Assistant Director & Props Design), Lisa Garmoe (Scenic Artist), Matt Harding (Dialect Coach), Brenda E. Kelly * (Assistant Producer), Jesse Klug (Lighting Design), Julie Lutgen (Scenic Design), Kjerstine McHugh * (Stage Manager), Jonathan Molitor (Dialect Coach), David Winer (Sound Technician), John Zuiker (Sound Design)
Graphic Design by grumpy monkey graphics & design
* denotes BWBTC ensemble member
CATCHING UP WITH PLAYWRIGHT TONY WOLF
How/when did you hear about Babes With Blades Theatre Company?
I think I first heard about BWBTC from Dawn “Sam” Alden when I was teaching at one of the Paddy Crean International stage combat conferences in Banff, Canada – that would have been in the late ’90s.
How/when did you hear about Joining Sword & Pen?
I can’t recall, sorry – probably from Kat. I remember that I was in New Zealand when I wrote the script.
What made you decide to enter the competition?
I liked the premise of telling a story inspired by a particular, evocative image. The house that I grew up in had been built during, and was largely decorated in the style of the Edwardian era, due to my Dad’s large collection of antiques. That collection included several similarly evocative paintings, and I have a vague memory that they had
been painted specifically for a kind of popular (circa 1900) parlor game in which people cooperated in improvising stories based on the scene depicted in the painting.
That plus, when I looked at the image of the Emile Bayard painting, I immediately decided that the women were dressed to attend a funeral, so the story basically wrote itself in that moment. Apart, that is, from the delicious twist, which I believe was inspired by a BWBTC company member’s comment to the effect that it was a pity that the most politically progressive woman in the story turned out to be the villain.
I didn’t have a problem with that motif – I reckoned that progressives can be just as evil as anyone else when it comes to affairs of honour, and of the heart – but the comment did get me thinking about an alternative that made for a much stronger story.
What did you think when you won the competition?
I can’t recall exactly, but I was probably surprised because I hadn’t actually written a script since I was in grade school.
I haven’t entered any subsequent Joining Sword and Pen contests, so I guess that counts as retiring undefeated, or maybe something more like beginner’s luck.
Do you have a favorite memory from the development/rehearsal/production process?
I was out of the US throughout almost all of that process, so I didn’t really have any part in it other than attending one staged reading when I was passing through Chicago. All my previous work in theatre had been as a fight choreographer, so I had no clue as to how to act as the author in a staged reading situation. Kat advised me to nod when we got feedback from the audience, so I think that’s all I did.
Likewise, I was overseas during the run, so I never actually saw the show until I watched a video of one of the performances, maybe a year or two later.
What’s happened to your script since (readings, productions, publications, etc.)?
It was performed by a NZ theatre company, and Sam Alden has
optioned it, after a fashion, for possible transformation into a short film.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I’m back in NZ managing my late father’s estate. In writing terms, I’m putting the finishing touches on an an adventure novel with superheroic motifs, set in 1860s England, and also editing an anthology of non-fiction articles by Rose Mackenberg, who was Harry Houdini’s chief detective in his exposes of phony Spiritualists during
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
I keep a pretty low profile and I’m not into social media, but the Suffrajitsu website, which was set up to promote the graphic novel I wrote in late 2014, is probably the best way to do that at the moment. I may bite the bullet and set up an actual author website in the future.