The sudden return of a gay ex-lover; decades-old secrets discovered at last; the bawdy sex-capades of a family in crisis. Sure, it reads a bit like a soap opera script. But would you believe that this sinfully explosive portrait of truth, lies, sex, and betrayal is borrowed from the real life experience of controversial Canadian playwright, Brad Fraser?
We kid you not.
When the notorious ‘bad boy’ received a surprising e-mail from an ex-lover he hadn’t seen or spoken with in over twenty years, he turned this would-be-awkward moment into an opportunity for personal growth — and theatrical brilliance.
“We caught up and it turned out he was married, had two teenage children and was going through a divorce,” explains Fraser.
And, although he hadn’t written a play in five years (having focused his energy elsewhere on other forms of media) the nagging question of ‘what if?’—“What if I’d been involved with that family? What if I’d met those children?” — continued to tug at the back of his mind.
“From there it kind of just went and literally spilled out of me,” says Fraser, who also reveals that he carried around a lot of unresolved issues after the couple’s less than amicable breakup. “Neither of us really had a chance to address [those issues],” he says, so when the unexpected email appeared one day in his inbox, Fraser knew he couldn’t just click delete.
“I felt like he was coming back and addressing [those issues], putting certain things behind him. I felt that if I could help him in that it would be very good for both of us.”
Indeed, it certainly has been.
After another year of rewriting, Fraser’s audaciously dysfunctional cast of characters and hysterically witty dialogue culminated in a smart, sexy, and provocative tragicomedy that has received critical acclaim across the globe, garnering rave reviews from audiences throughout the US, UK, and Canada.
Reflecting back on this success, Fraser observes, “If you want to tell stories that people are going to come see, you have to talk to them about people they know and you have to do it in a very fresh way.
“I think my best plays all come from some kind of experience…where something happens in real life that makes me go, ‘you know, if I took this just one step further, something dramatic might happen here.’”
And, as for Fraser’s former flame?
“As it turns out, we’re very good friends now,” he insists. “He read the play and he actually quite loves it. Although,” Fraser is quick to note, “this was just a jumping-off point for the play. Everything else is just fiction.”
For more insight into the ‘personal drama’ behind True Love Lies, check out Fraser’s intriguing interview with Torontostate.com:
True Love Lies opens September 21 and runs until October 1 at The Cultch. Purchase tickets online at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363 and in person at 1895 Venables Street.