Q&A: Stopheart

Amy Lee Lavoie talks about her new play at Factory Theatre

This month, National Theatre School of Canada graduate Amy Lee Lavoie premieres her second play, Stopheart, a dark comedy about growing up in the small Northern Ontario town of South Porcupine, at the Factory Theatre Mainspace. Directed by Ron Jenkins, the story follows the 20-year-old Elian (Amitai Marmorstein), his best friend July (Vivien Endicott-Douglas), and other characters as they deal with death, difference, loneliness and love. 

We caught up with the burgeoning playwright to find out more about this labour of love.

Theatromania: Tell us about Stopheart. What inspired this play?

ALL: Stopheart was my final play at the National Theatre School of Canada. It was written for the graduating acting class. They inspired the tone of the play, the humor and themes. Before that, my experience growing up in South Porcupine, ON, and a suicide in my high school were burning in my mind. Stopheart was a play I felt I could explore this collection of questions about anger, love, escape and compassion.

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

ALL: The production aptly reflects the dark and whimsical world of this play; interconnectedness and beauty, brought to life by an incredible technical crew, stunning cast and finessed through the mind of Ron Jenkins.

Theatromania: What has been the most challenging part of this process so far?

ALL: The most challenging part of this process has been letting go and staying true to the integrity of this world. Sharing Stopheart has been terrifying in all the best ways. It’s a fleshy, messy, lyrical piece that tries, in its own way, to give something, always, in every moment, to those who are open to receiving it.

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

ALL: I hope they find value in the story of Elian Fink. In his family, his best friend and wanted lover, Bear. I hope they leave feeling something they haven’t come in with. I can’t possibly dictate what that is. I only ever strive to leave enough room in my work for people to place a bit of themselves inside of it.

Theatromania: What’s next for you?

ALL: I submitted a piece of writing to Ronnie Burkett for his new, exciting project, The Daisy Theatre. And I am developing a new piece tentatively called “Memento Mori” as part of the Tarragon Playwriting Unit. And, in the middle of all of this, I am enjoying a real life romance with the love of my life. Writing and loving; let it always be like this.

Catch Amy Lee Lavoie's Stopheart until May 26 at Factory Theatre. Visit factorytheatre.ca for more information and to buy tickets.


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