Golden couple lays Good Egg

Michael Lewis MacLennan on baby blues canine conversations and more

Ten years ago Michael Lewis MacLennan’s new play Grace debuted at Alberta Theatre Projects’ playRites Festival. Since then his plays have toured internationally he’s been nominated for a pair of Governor General’s Awards for literature and he’s worked on high-profile television series like Anne of Green Gables Queer as Folk and Douglas Coupland’s jPod . This week he returns to playRites for a staged reading of his new play The Good Egg .

“PlayRites is one of the best avenues for new play development in the country” says MacLennan. “Part of that is ATP because they’re not afraid to put resources behind new work. But part of it too is Calgary’s bring-it-on mentality. In many cities people won’t see a play unless it’s won a Tony Award or played Broadway. In Calgary audiences are curious engaged and generous with new work.”

The Good Egg follows a “golden couple” Brodie and Robin as they’re thwarted in their efforts to conceive a child by the discovery that Brodie has no sperm. As a successful alpha-male engineer this throws his world into a tailspin. He decides to skip the sperm donor process and go straight to the source: Wade a model and perfect genetic specimen. Of course things get complicated when Wade demands a bigger role in the child’s siring than the couple is willing to give.

“It’s an issue that a lot of my peers are dealing with” says MacLennan “heterosexual couples struggling to conceive or same-sex couples deciding whether to adopt surrogate co-parent… there are so many ways to make a family. This play looks at a couple who has no interest in making an unorthodox family but who’s pushed into it by the introduction of this young man into their lives.”

The Calgary reading part of playRites’ Platform Plays series will be the play’s public debut. “You’re the first audience in the world to hear it and that’s tremendously important for a playwright” says MacLennan. “I’m trying to design a good experience for an audience. We’ve all been to plays where the two hours are an incredible adventure and plays where two hours are an eternity. This workshop helps me make sure my two hours are the best I can offer.”

See The Good Egg at the Big Secret Theatre (second floor 225 8 Ave. S.E.) on February 23 4:30 p.m.

When I talk to my dog she never talks back — at best she licks my ear. Marilyn Geddes however chats with animals on a regular basis and she’s collected 37 of her juiciest conversations in Ask the Very Beasts . Learn their non-human teachings at McNally Robinson (120 8 Ave. S.W.) on February 22 noon.

In his latest thriller Delicate Chaos Jeff Buick brings high stakes to high finance as a bank executive is embroiled in a CEO’s murder. Meanwhile the only man she can trust is trapped in Nairobi where someone wants him dead. Join Buick for an evening of intrigue at the Crowfoot Library (8665 Nose Hill Drive) on February 25 7 p.m.

What better way to kick off the week than with history’s most infamous romance? Dr. Jim Black continues his Monday Night Shakespeare series with “Antony and Cleopatra: Cheating the World’s Greatest Snare.” Join him at the Boris Roubakine Recital Hall (Craigie Hall University of Calgary) on February 25 7:30 p.m.

Writers are a gentle folk and words like “copyright” “plagiarism” and “intellectual property rights” send them into panicky seizures. Luckily lawyer David de Vlieger has put together a handy-dandy seminar called “A Writer’s Angst: Rules Restrictions and Rights.” Co-presented by the Writers Guild of Alberta and the Professional Writers Association of Canada this instructional evening hits the James Joyce Pub (506 24 Ave. S.W.) on February 26 7 p.m. $5 for non-members.

Members of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society burst loose this week with a collective reading at the W.R. Castell Central Library (616 Macleod Tr. S.E.) on February 28 7 p.m.

The Calgary Poetry Slam returns this month hosted by slam-scene regulars Shone Abet and Kirk Ramdath . Polish up your three-minute poems because the winner receives a cash prize and the chance to compete at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word taking place here in Calgary November 2008. The evening starts with an open mic and then explodes into competitive poetics at the Auburn Saloon (163-115 9 Ave. S.E.) on February 28 8 p.m. $5 at the door.