Q&A: Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams

Factory Theatre artistic directors talk about the company's new season and why Every Letter Counts

Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams.

Coming back from a challenging 2012, Factory Theatre launches its new season this month with the world premiere of Nina Lee Aquino's Every Letter Counts directed by Nigel Shawn Williams. The story explores the playwright's personal history and relationship with her famous uncle (Filipino political icon Benigno Aquino) through the power of words. We caught up with the interim artistic directors to find out more about their first production of the year. Previews start January 26.

Theatromania: What inspired Every Letter Counts?

Nina:  Two sources of inspiration: watching a reading of The Madness of the Square a play written by Marjorie Chan; and Searching for Bobby Fischer, a movie (directed by Steven Zaillian, starring Ben Kingsley) I saw eons ago.

Theatromania: How would you describe the production in a sentence or two?

Nigel:  A haunting and fast paced journey into memory, which explores and challenges our responsibility and notion with legacy and family. When given a choice to fight for our own survival, what can we learn from our family? Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places!

Theatromania: What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered during the rehearsal process?

Nigel:  The technical elements in this production become another character on stage. It was a challenge to keep this in everyone’s mind, but, at the same time, to not let the technical elements overpower the piece. The human relationships are still, and always will be, the most important thing in the theatre.

Theatromania: What do you hope audiences take away from this performance?

Nina:  A couple of things: Gain some insight (maybe a deeper one) and/or maybe some curiousity on a very important chapter in Philippine history. Learn something new about someone’s life… that will hopefully, in turn, maybe lead you to learn something new about your own life. (Re)discover that wordsand how you use themcan really change the world. Realize that life is indeed like a Scrabble game. 

Theatromania: What excites you most about Factory Theatre’s 2013 season?

Nigel:  Our 2012/13 season covers such a large spectrum of emotions and issues. We are producing plays that are gut wrenching, gut splitting and mind blowing. What excites us the most is the opportunity to bring both new and established artists to new and established audiences.

Every Letter Counts runs from January 26 to February 24 at Factory Theatre. Visit factorytheatre.ca for more information and to buy tickets.


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