Michael Nathanson at Prairie Scene in Ottawa.
Michael Nathanson has lived in Winnipeg for 32 years. He is the playwright and director of Winnipeg Jewish Theatre's award winning production, Talk.
The Ottawa premiere of Talk takes place tonight as part of Prairie Scene. Michael took time out of rehearsals in Ottawa to answer Scene's five fast questions.
How do you describe Manitoba to people in Ottawa -- without mentioning mosquitoes or snow?
It starts with the people of Manitoba. I have lived in many cities including Toronto, New York and Dallas and Manitobans are straight talking people who say what they mean. People are open and welcoming and there is a strong sense of community.
When you're not writing or directing, how do you spend your Manitoba time?
My favorite Manitoba time are those precious days I get to spend with my family at my wife's grandmother's cottage at Falcon Lake during the summer.
Where do you take people who are visiting Manitoba for the first time?
The lounge at Rae and Jerry's. It is a Winnipeg institution, it is virtually unchanged from its initial incarnation and the food is always fabulous. And, no accident, my play Talk is set there.
What do you want people to take away from your show/performance at Prairie Scene?
I write plays that hopefully both entertain an audience and keeps them talking long after the show is over. While the sizzle of Talk is the dialogue around the Middle East conflict, the play is ultimately about the end of a friendship. If we haven't left the audience with that, we haven't succeeded.
Besides being a great gig, what are you hoping to get out of taking part in "Prairie Scene" in Ottawa?
It is an amazing opportunity to bring some Manitoba theatre to presenters from across the world and to Ottawa audiences. For Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, a really small theatre locally, to have been invited to this festival is truly overwhelming. I think people are increasingly aware of the quality of our work and I believe this production will speak loudly for the strength of Manitoba theatre.