Of greater interest than the accolades is probably knowing how he got started writing. Originally from Cape Breton, his family was Catholic and not uncommonly, his father was an alcoholic who as Daniel says, ‘was known to the police’. His mother was an outstanding waitress who put Daniel through school. One of his teachers provided encouragement by making sure he knew he had talent. For his sixteenth birthday a present of an electric typewriter set him on a writer’s career path.
He entered Dalhousie and went into journalism. Somehow, he fell into the theatre department initially as a performance major. Daniel is probably one of only a few playwrights who has written a play without actually having seen one. When asked by Tom Power how he starts to write a play he talked about Daniel Brooks. “Daniel says the show begins with the poster, the artwork, the image.” The artwork is a major influence and as the development process begins to generate material it becomes part of the work. I wonder how many other playwrights combine the visual with the aural in the early stages of development.
In next blog post I will give you more background on the genesis of Marion Bridge. Many of you know the Marion Bridge movie which is quite unlike the play. Come back and you’ll learn more.
Photo Credit: Thorfinn Stainforth