Scott Button challenges the notion that we are defined by what we do in Desire(e).
Scott Button challenges the notion that we are defined by what we do in Desire(e).

What does a 20-something guy know about surrogacy? If you’re playwright Scott Button, the womb-for-hire story in his one-act Desire(e) becomes a metaphor for how we are so often times defined by what we do.

[pullquote]“Sometimes we are pigeonholed and our importance in life is only viewed by career and status and money. There has to be more to what defines us as human beings. I hope that is what the audience discovers from watching Desire(e).” – playwright Scott Button[/pullquote]“Desiree believes her talent, and the reason she is put on the planet, was to have children,” says Button of his character who has worked as a surrogate for most of her life.  “And now that she can no longer have children, she starts to ask where does she fit into the world?”

A solo show featuring Meaghan Chenosky, more recently seen as Dottie in the ITSAZOO production of Killer Joe, the play is presented as part memoir and part stand-up comedy routine, a device Button says he deliberately used to allow the character to speak directly to the audience in an “inherently performance aspect” to his play.

“We all face those kinds of pressures where we are somehow defined by what we do,” says Button. “Sometimes we are pigeonholed and our importance in life is only viewed by career and status and money. There has to be more to what defines us as human beings. I hope that is what the audience discovers from watching Desire(e).”

For someone as young and still finding his own place in the theatre world as a recent graduate of UBC’s theatre program, Button’s view of life has a wise-beyond-his-years quality to it, something he doesn’t deny.

“Most people who know me think of me as an old soul,” he admits.

Scott Button presents Desire(e) at the 1-Act Festival. Photo by Kevin Frederick Clark.
Scott Button presents Desire(e) at the 1-Act Festival. Photo by Kevin Frederick Clark.

Class and status are something that Button admits he finds fascinating and a theme that not only appears as part of Desire(e), but one that will also make an appearance in his next play for an upcoming fundraiser for Staircase XI Theatre.

“I never had much money growing up,” he says. “I wasn’t poor, but we were definitely lower middle class. I sense that we’re in a time of anxiety around status and getting ahead.”

Originally written for the Pull Festival of short plays earlier this year, Desire(e) has grown from a short two-page treatment to the 15-minute one-act for the 2014 1-Act Festival.

Now in its seventh year, Shift Theatre’s 1-Act Festival will feature four other scripts in addition to Desire(e), each chosen for their “honesty, creativity and craft” by jury members Richard Wolfe of Pi Theatre, Dani Fecko from Boca del Lupo and Katrina Dunn from Touchstone Theatre.

“Attending the 2014 edition of the Shift One-Act Festival is a great way to experience some of the finest young talent currently contributing to Vancouver’s outstanding contemporary theatre scene,” says Wolfe.

For emerging artists like Button it is also an opportunity to flex their writing muscles and to have a venue to present the one-act art form that Shift’s Artistic Managing Director Nick Sartore points out is “rich and immensely fascinating” but are almost never seen unless presented as part of an anthology.

Desire(e) plays as part of The 1-Act Festival from Shift Theatre  at The Cultch Vancity Culture Lab from June 18-21. Visit http://shifttheatre.ca for tickets and more information.