At one level, acclaimed Calgary playwright Sharon Pollock’s enterprise playing cards prominently featured the picture of a dragon.
What did that symbolize? If you happen to ask her eldest daughter, Jennifer, dragons have robust, scaly exteriors with hidden components you won’t ever get to know. However in some depictions, dragons are additionally pleasant, loyal and at all times otherworldly — and, after all, dragons can fly.
Pollock, who twice gained the Governor Common’s Award for Drama for her performs Blood Relations and Doc, died on Friday after battling colon most cancers. The previous inventive director of Theatre Calgary was 85.
In a press release, Theatre Calgary referred to as Pollock a “large” and a “fierce, daring and groundbreaking artist” whose work helped form the Canadian panorama.
“Sharon could have an enduring impression on theatre normally. Particularly, the whole lot that she stood for as an artist, as a girl, as a feminist, and as a human being comes via in her work,” present Theatre Calgary inventive director Stafford Arima instructed CBC Information. “Her voice will resonate for generations to return.”
Very saddened to listen to of the passing of Sharon Pollock, one of the necessary voices in Canadian theatre. She instructed us our tales in new methods and compelled us to take a look at ourselves in another way. What a legacy. A lot like to her household, associates and the innumerable folks she modified
A ferocious reader — she used to learn one or two books a day, Jennifer stated — Pollock was fascinated by homicide mysteries.
A lot of her performs have been of the style, together with certainly one of her most well-known, Blood Relations. Based on the story of Lizzie Borden, the play earned Pollock her first Governor Common’s Award in 1981.
She earned her second Governor Common’s Award in 1986 for Doc, a semi-autobiographical play that traces the interactions in a dysfunctional household.
A love for folks and animals
Kim Wealthy-Kuny stated she first met Pollock when she was operating the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton in 1977. As a shy, quiet youngster, Wealthy-Kuny was awestruck when she was delivered to the household house with Pollock’s son, Kirk. Wealthy-Kuny was married to Kirk for 14 years.
The home was crammed with actors, administrators, producers and playwrights, in addition to cats, canines and birds. However Pollock, seeing Wealthy-Kuny’s trepidation, sat down and talked with the 17-year-old and made her really feel like she mattered.
“She was surrounded by folks and having big conversations,” Wealthy-Kuny stated. “And I are available in and she or he simply drops the whole lot.
“She’ll look you within the eye, and she or he’s really, really excited about what it’s important to say.”
The home was definitely filled with animals. Jennifer stated her mother would rescue cats, and a few nontraditional pets finally discovered their technique to stay within the household house.
“There was a squirrel that lived in the home for a while. My mother had a rat,” she stated. “I imply, the rat tales are very well-known.”
As Jennifer tells it, Pollock was doing a play in Nova Scotia and for some motive, she was given a rat. Pollock promptly named Ratty.
On the finish of the manufacturing, Pollock would convey the rat along with her to the theatre and put it inside her shirt. Because the story goes, actors have been terrified to see a rat tail or a rat head often flick out of Pollock’s clothes.
Finally, after a lot pleading from the solid, Pollock agreed to not convey the rat to manufacturing any longer.
Jamie Dunsdon, inventive director with Calgary’s Verb Theatre, stated she very nervously referred to as Pollock in 2010 to ask her if she would contemplate appearing in a full-length, one-woman musical referred to as Marg Szkaluba (Pissy’s Spouse).
Pollock, then 74, stated sure instantly. On opening night time, she had the play phrase excellent — however ran right into a glitch in the course of a monologue in act one.
“She by chance jumped to a monologue in act two, as a result of the road she was alleged to say was similar to the one in act two,” she stated. “She realized instantly what she had executed — that she had skipped greater than half the play.”
As an alternative of going again to behave one and correcting the error, she went via the remainder of the play and pieced in the complete present in bits and items, placing the play again collectively in a distinct order.
“By the tip of it, and I do not assume the viewers had a clue what had occurred, she had executed the complete present in a distinct order, and the story made sense, and it was nonetheless shifting and significant,” she stated. “It was like magic.
“It speaks to her mastery of the craft, and the way audiences expertise tales on stage stay. And I am going to always remember it.”
Allan Boss, a former arts and leisure producer with CBC, referred to as Pollock a “main pressure” in Canadian theatre. “I’ve to attract a deep breath each time I consider her, as a result of she was such a determine in Canadian theatre,” he stated.
“She was an amazingly sturdy author who wrote so many nice performs, together with an entire pile of radio performs for CBC.”
Just a few months in the past, Jennifer and her sisters have been gathered round their mom, involved about what she needed to do close to the tip of her life. Pollock stored repeating her closing want: she stated she simply needed to go off into the woods and die.
“‘Mother, I need to assist you to, however this does not appear to be a plan that I can get behind,'” Jennifer instructed her mother on the time, crying.
Her sisters left to enter the kitchen, leaving Jennifer along with her mother. The temper was tense.
After a couple of minute, Pollock rolled her eyes and spoke up.
“It is a metaphor,” she stated. Jennifer burst out laughing, later describing that second as consultant of her mom’s “unusual brilliance.”
Pollock held the care of animals as certainly one of her core values all through her life, one which her kids and grandchildren hope to hold on as a part of her legacy.
On the finish of her life, Pollock had only one canine, named Putty. Jennifer stated Putty grew to become extraordinarily anxious after Putty died.
Putty was then introduced to Pollock’s bedside and was lifted onto the mattress so he might lick her face. Then, Jennifer stated, he sat on the underside of the mattress — and after they took him down from the mattress, he wasn’t anxious anymore.