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Former resident staging play at Fringe Festival


Frances Koncan, a Couchiching band member and former Fort Frances resident, will premiere a self-penned play at this year’s Winnipeg Fringe Festival.

Entitled “How to talk to human beings,” it is based on a variety of her theatre-related experiences.

As a graduate of a joint program between University of New York and Brooklyn College in playwriting, Koncan said a large part of her inspiration came from witnessing “stage door culture” between fans and actors in the big city.

“People will line up at the stage door of a theatre after a performance to meet with actors and get autographs or photos with them,” she noted.

“Some of these people will see the same show hundreds of times.

“I thought the relationships these people would develop with the performers of these shows was really interesting–it was friendship, sort of, but not quite and that intrigued me a lot,” noted Koncan.

“All the stories within the play, even the ones that seem unbelievable, are based on real-life scenarios,” she stressed.

As a 29-year-old, Koncan has written her story from the lens of the millennial generation.

Her focus is on complex character relationships and the ability to communicate through what she calls the age of “hashtags and emojs.”

Koncan said she wrote the play in four days back in May, 2012, but then it went through two long years of editing.

Her play was entered into the festival through a lottery process, with auditions for actors being held this past March.

Koncan said preparing for the festival has been a very long process, with rehearsals that started in May and running until the opening night on July 15.

“Right now, we are in the process of finalizing our props, costumes, and set design, as well as working out all the technical requirements of lighting, sound, and projection,” she noted.

But after three years since it was first written, Koncan said she’s excited to bring her written words to the stage.

“My favourite part is always working with actors,” she remarked.

“Actors come to a play with a very different perspective than a writer does, and they always have amazing ideas that make a script come to life,” she added.

Koncan has several other projects she’ll be working on after this year’s festival, and has big dreams to continue both writing and directing while travelling the world.

But even after living in big cities and hoping to travel more, Koncan said she never forgets where she came from.

“There’s something special about Fort Frances–and perhaps most smaller towns–that remind you of who you are and what is truly important,” she explained.

“I have wonderful memories of summer holidays and Christmas vacations visiting friends and family. . . .

“They are good reminders that help me stay rooted, which is useful when I feel overwhelmed and caught up in the frantic pace of city life.”

“How to talk to human beings” will run every day from July 15-26 at the Colin Jackson Studio at the Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg.

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