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Embattled Calgary play finds world premiere home in Saskatoon’s Persephone Theatre

Calgary playwright Michaela Jeffrey was optimistic about talks with Saskatoon’s Persephone Theatre for the world premiere of her play, Without Rule of Law (WROL).

But she didn’t want to get her hopes up.

“Nobody wants to get any hopes up until it’s kind of a done deal,” Jeffrey told LiveWire Calgary on Monday.

“Especially in this particular instance.”

She’s referring to the fact WROL was in production for two years and slated for its world premiere with Alberta Theatre Projects.  It was shelved in favour of Ontario playwright Mark Crawford’s The New Canadian Curling Club.

The team behind the WROL production struggled with where to go next. They decided at the time they would hold a public reading, with artistic directors from all over invited, hoping the play would land a new home.

And now they have.

Jeffrey said they’d been in talks with the Saskatoon theatre group for a while. While she had a pretty good indication things were going to happen two weeks ago, she was only able to make the announcement Monday.

“This feels really real now, so this is great,” she said.

Calgary playwright, Michaela Jeffrey. CONTRIBUTED

“Really nice to be able to share it with a lot of the people that have put a lot of the themselves into everything up until this point.”

It’s bittersweet in some ways for Jeffrey, as the people who believed so passionately the Calgary play deserved to be in full production won’t be a part of the new one. It will be produced with Saskatoon artists.

“We knew going into the reading last year that it might be our last hurrah as an ensemble – because the probability of us all packing up and going would be slim,” she said.

That also means he play will be introduced to a new creative team with new interpretations. She’s both nervous and excited. As a playwright she’s hoping the play continues moving forward in whatever iteration, in whatever city.

“It may have been your thing once initially. But it also takes on the energy and the life of the people who move it forward and who discover it 15 years after it was written and get excited about it,” Jeffrey said.

The play will begin rehearsals in October of this year, with a preview the week before, and the official opening night, world premiere will be Nov. 1, 2019.