Katey Hoffman’s star continues to rise. Fresh off a hit show at this year’s Vancouver Fringe, she is back with the world premiere of her new play, Green Lake.
“We didn’t expect that sort of reaction,” says Hoffman of the reception for The After, After Party at the Fringe. “We always thought we were funny, but we also realized that we could offend people, or maybe audiences might not be used to seeing this kind of comedy from two women.”
Co-written and co-starring alongside collaborator Cheyenne Maberley, The After, After Party was both a a critical and audience favourite at the Fringe. Walking away with a critic’s award, the duo were also handed this year’s Cultchivating the Fringe Award, guaranteeing them a spot in the The Cultch’s 2016/2017 season.
“Winning the award has definitely helped us with new opportunities, but it has also inspired us in thinking about how we want to go forward in our careers,” says Hoffman.
While Green Lake was well in the works before her summer success, it does point to Hoffman’s obvious abilities as a writer. It also demonstrates the willingness of company’s like Vancouver’s Solo Collective to provide opportunities to up-and-coming theatre professionals, and marks the company’s 30th original Canadian play produced since 1999.
“Many years ago I needed to start my own company to get my plays produced in Vancouver,” says Solo Collective co-founder and artistic director Aaron Bushkowsky. “Now that I’m an established playwright, I use my company to give others their start.”
Always on the lookout for unique new voices, Bushkowsky says he found that in Hoffman. “Her use of language, playfulness, and theatricality are like a breath of fresh air.”
It also helps that Bushkowsky and Hoffman have a history from their time together at Studio 58, the professional theatre school at Langara College.
“He taught me at Studio 58, where I did a lot of writing,” says Hoffman. “He has always been a mentor and a supporter.”
A chance meeting last year got the two talking about what Hoffman was working on. After hearing of her idea for what would become Green Lake, Bushkowsky encouraged her to pursue the story.
“It took someone to believe in me, and if he hadn’t taken me for coffee and said he wanted me to do it, I’m not sure the play would have ever seen the light of day,” says Hoffman.
Initially giving her the freedom to tell her story, Buchkowsky did help to bring focus to the play after Hoffman’s first draft.
“He is such a great teacher and has a playwright’s brain that helped me so much with structure,”says Hoffman.
A bittersweet comedy, Green Lake tells the story of Jane, a young woman coming to terms with who she is, and a father who has been absent in her life.
“Its about what makes a young woman who she is when faced with dealing with her past,” explains Hoffman.
Although not auto-biographical, Hoffman does admit Green Lake is informed by her life.
“When I think back to when I was 13 and even 25 years old, there were big moments in my life where I had to make choices about coming to terms with who I was,” says Hoffman. “It also deals very much with the relationship with our parents, where you either choose to be like them, or forge out on your own.”
Green Lake plays Performance Works on Granville Island from November 18 to 27. Visit http://solocollective.ca for tickets and information.