Comedy
Playwright

Compassionate
Dramaturg

Creative
Instructor

Caroline Russell-King
Photo by E.V. Matthews

Pop Up Playwright

Pop Up Playwright is about creating art in public spaces. More specifically for me it is about writing political plays in public spaces.

Playwrights are generally not visible. Actors are visible, directors are - playwrights, not so much. I think we need to come out of our offices and move away from our kitchen tables and go out. Much like painters we need to set up our easels and create in public. 

Resistance

The feminine form of “Caroline” is “Charles”. Ergo Je suis Charlie. I am part of the resistance creating comedy plays about political topics.

I believe in times of political upheaval we can vote, march, donate money and we can make art. We can paint, write and perform. We can put on shows, display and recite. We can dance and sing. We can construct and build. We can shoot (with cameras!). I can write plays. Comedies mostly.

If you see me popping up in public, fee free to come over and interrupt, say “hi” ask questions. I don’t mind. I’m just out writing. If you see me, I am not soliciting, I am not selling. I’m creating. I’m writing a play, probably a comedy, as part of the resistance. This is about exercising free speech in the written form without censorship – small radical acts.

The Social Experiment

Will I make people feel uncomfortable? Curious? Will I be shut down? Will I be moved on? What constitutes a public space today in a world where we have lost the town square in favour of the mall and spaces owned by corporations?

Female Visibility

Part of being a female “Charlie” is that in my industry only 21% of plays produced in Canada are produced by women. We make up 50% of the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Also women get shows in the smaller houses. In the big theatres the playwrights get more money, leaving women with one of the biggest wage discrepancies. When all the math is done we probably make 23 cents on the dollar to our male counterparts. 

23 cents

There is also a prevailing attitude that women don’t write humour as well as the Neil Simons and Norm Fosters… Even my revered hero Christopher Hitchens subscribed to this erroneous theory, (the man was not perfect). 

Well we do. I do.

This is what a female comedy playwright looks like.

And as part of this inequity, I will not only be popping up in public places, I will be popping up in theatre lobbies and at theatre events.

Why?

Sometimes we need to show support for institutions and events and sometimes we need to protest. So my presence will either be neutral, one of just an act of writing but sometimes in context it will bi in support and sometimes it will be in opposition to.

So you may see me in many places from a library to a conservative political rally – you can decide for yourself whether it is in support or opposition, or you can ask, or you can start your own demonstration.

I’m starting a dialogue. What do you have to say?

oxox Caroline aka “Charlie”

P.S. If you want me in your theatre lobby, library, protest parade, etc. – send me an invite!