Drader, Brian 1960–
Drader, Brian 1960–
PERSONAL: Born 1960, in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. Education: University of Manitoba, bachelor of commerce degree; University of Winnipeg, B.A.
ADDRESSES: Home—Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Agent—Playwrights Guild of Canada, 54 Wolesley St., Toronto, Ontario M5T 1A5, Canada.
CAREER: Playwright, actor, dramaturge, and arts administrator. National Theatre School of Canada, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, writer-in-residence, 2000, coordinator of playwriting program, 2004–. Prairie Theatre Exchange, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, associate artistic director and dramaturge. Actor in numerous stage plays, including The Gathering, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre; The Philadelphia Story, Manitoba Theatre Centre/Theatre Calgary; and The Glass Menagerie and Zadie's Shoes, both Prairie Theatre Exchange. Actor in radio plays and film and television projects, including Picture When, Fulcrum Productions, 1995; The Many Trials of One Jane Doe, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2002; Killer Instinct: From the Files of Agent Candice DeLong, Lifetime Television, 2003; and Shall We Dance, Miramax Films, 2004. Originally worked in food and beverage management.
MEMBER: Manitoba Association of Playwrights.
AWARDS, HONORS: Drama Prize, National Screen Institute, 1996, for Iris and Nathan; winner of Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition, Queen's University, 1997, for The Norbals; Special Merit Award, Theatre BC Canadian National Playwriting Competition, 2001, Brick Playhouse Award, 2002, Lambda Literary Award for Drama, Lambda Literary Foundation, 2004, and finalist for Governor General's Literary Award for Drama, Canada Council for the Arts, 2003, all for Prok.
Tucktuck (two-act play), produced in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 1993.
(And co-producer) Iris and Nathan (short film), Styrofoam Pig Productions/Winnipeg Film Group, 1996.
The Norbals (two-act play; produced in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1998), Scirocco Drama (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), 1998.
The Fruit Machine (one-act play; produced in Toronto), excerpts published as Short Spells, Playwrights Canada Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1998.
Prok (two-act play; produced in Winnipeg, 2001), Scirocco Drama (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), 2003.
Liar (two-act play; produced in Winnipeg, 2004), Scirocco Drama (Winnipeg, Canada), 2004.
(Editor) Breakout (anthology of plays by five playwrights), Scirocco Drama (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), 2004.
Also author of plays Dissecting Homo; Bubba and the Peter Eater; S∗IT; Mind of the Iguana and Easter Eggs (both written with Stephen McIntyre); and Everybody's Business (written with Margo Charlton, Monique Marcker, and Nancy McKinnon). Author of screenplay Wooing Wyoming, and of short stories.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Plays; a film version of The Fruit Machine.
SIDELIGHTS: Brian Drader is a prolific and critically praised playwright from western Canada. He has covered topics such as the persecution of homosexuals by the Canadian government during the 1960s in The Fruit Machine; a dysfunctional family's comedic Christmas celebration in The Norbals; and the life of groundbreaking sex researcher Alfred C. Kinsey (1894–1956) in the multi-award-winning Prok. Drader initially pursued a career in business; he received a college degree in commerce and worked in restaurant management and financial positions shortly after graduating, but he soon came to dislike the field and began working on another degree, this one in theater. He found steady work as an actor throughout his twenties, then started to focus on writing after he had success in collaborating with a friend on a few one-act plays. His thirties were a period of "transition from full-time actor to full-time writer. I still act, but writing is my bliss," he told Christopher DiRaddo in an interview for NTS Magazine of the National Theatre School of Canada, where he became coordinator of the playwriting program in 2004. He urges aspiring young writers to look on their craft as a job, not a diversion; in a profile for the Manitoba Writers' Guild Web site, he advised: "Write. Write some more. Quit thinking about it, write it." Drader's inspiration, he noted in the same piece, is "a fascination with people, and why they behave the way that they do, and what makes them tick."
The sexual aspects of human behavior are at the core of Prok. Taking its title from a shortening of "Professor K," which became a nickname for Kinsey, the play follows the researcher's explorations of sexual practices at a time—the middle of the twentieth century—when sex was not considered an appropriate topic of conversation. The play shows how outraged some observers were at Kinsey's open discussion of sex outside marriage as well as within, and of homosexual relations as well as heterosexual. "He started the dialogue that became the sexual revolution," Drader said of Kinsey in an interview with Brian Bergman for Maclean's. The play also deals with Kin-sey's unconventional personal life, which included not only a long marriage to a onetime student of his, Clara, but also at least one sexual affair with a young man who was among his researchers. Additionally, Drader hints that Kinsey may have had more than a professional relationship with some of the people he interviewed for his studies. Clara, who narrates the play, serves as "the voice of reason" as she questions her husband's "unscrupulous research methods, "commented Jonathan Harper in Lambda Book Report. Drader depicts Kinsey as a proud man of science who is nevertheless reluctant to look critically at himself; the professor "is humanized" and sometimes exasperating, but "you never lose your fascination with him," Harper added. The playwright, he concluded, "is more than talented enough to handle the subject matter."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Books in Canada, December, 2004, Lia Marie Talia, reviews of Breakout and Liar, p. 24.
Canadian Book Review Annual, 1998, review of The Norbals, p. 246.
Essays on Canadian Writing, spring, 1999, Sherrill Grace, review of The Norbals, p. 134.
Globe & Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), November 14, 1998, Kate Taylor, review of The Norbals.
Lambda Book Report, November-December, 2004, Jonathan Harper, "Swift Wordplay," review of Prok, p. 22.
Maclean's, April 12-19, 2004, Brian Bergman, "Drama: The Double Life of Professor K," p. 95.
NTS Magazine, spring, 2005, Christopher DiRaddo, "Introducing Brian Drader," p. 2.
Prairie Fire, spring, 1999, review of The Norbals, pp. 171-172.
University of Toronto Quarterly, winter, 1999, Cynthia Zimmerman, review of The Norbals, p. 81.
Canadian Literature Web site, http://www.canlit.ca/ (November 22, 2005), Shelley Scott, "Degrees of Theatricality," review of Breakout.
Manitoba Writers' Guild Web site, http://www.mbwriter.mb.ca/ (November 22, 2005), brief profile of Brian Drader.