Introducing Paula Wing

Thursday, September 04, 2014 8:00 AM | Lena Coakley

Big changes are afoot on the CANSCAIP blog!  In the next few months, we’ll be bringing you more content than ever before, so keep checking back or grab an RSS feed, above.  We’ll start by having write-ups of our monthly Toronto meetings and featured interviews with the speakers of our upcoming Packaging Your Imagination conference.  If you have further ideas for what you’d like to see here, please don’t hesitate to contact the office.

And now, without further ado, here is the first in our series of short features about our PYI speakers:

Introducing… Paula Wing

Lena Coakley: Hi Paula!  Thanks for answering a few questions for us.  The topic of your CANSCAIP presentation is: Standing On Your Head: Adapting Your Work for the Stage.  Can you give us a little taste of what you'll be talking about?  What's one tip or nugget of wisdom you'll be sharing with PYI attendees?

Paula Wing: I'll be talking about and sharing exercises that have helped me to adapt books to the stage. There is a saying in Italian about translation that I think applies in some ways to adaptation: Traduttore, tradittore. Meaning, translator, betrayer.

You have to be faithful to the original, but you have to be faithful to the spirit of the original rather than the letter of it. You will have to abandon certain things. You will have to invent small things. In order to be true to what the original is about.

Lena: Translator, betrayer.  I love that.

You have been writing and adapting plays for many years now, with all the ups and downs that entails.  How do you stay motivated?

Paula: Staying motivated is one of the challenges of the writing life. For me, one of the best ways is to mix it up. I change the location of my writing sometimes - meaning I go to a café or I even go to a different room in my apartment, or write in bed when I wake up. On rare occasions when I have a big deadline I sometimes go off for a "dirty weekend", to a cottage or don't tell motel where I hole up and write pausing only to eat ripple chips.

I recently took an online writing course to kick start me after a sluggish period. I meet with other writers in coffee shops for writing dates. I am fuelled by the brilliance and success of others (though I admit I can struggle with feelings of envy and jealousy there too. But when I can use others' success as a motivator, it works very well).

Lena: Thanks so much, Paula.  See you at PYI!

Paula Wing is a playwright,translator and teacher. Her most recent play was an adaptation of Robin Hood for Geordie Theatre in Montréal. Her original play Risky Phil is indevelopment at Young People's Theatre in Toronto.

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