Heather Sande is a playwright, producer and actor. Her play ‘Driving Home’ is part of Toronto’s 2012 Fringe Festival and it’s both her first debut as a Fringe performer and as a playwright.
Who is Heather Sande?
Heather Sande is an almost middle child who tried too hard, who has a big imagination and even bigger dreams. She compulsively re-reads Harry Potter and loves nothing more than being with her husband. She’s probably a bit too sensitive and loves trying to understand people. What drives her is a need to explore and understand human nature and express it.
This is your first time writing a play. What was the writing process like?
Aside from the Elton John musical I wrote in high school…yes this is my first play! The writing process was a bumpy ride at times. I really didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t have a plan. I had an idea and just started writing. I always told myself that once I felt I had something to say I would say it. So when I felt a bit of inspiration I sat down and started writing. In the beginning I just followed my instincts but as I went along I had to use a lot more discipline.
How did you go about it?
I did many, many drafts. I had my husband read it, friends read it and then actor friends read it out loud for me and gather feedback all along the way.
Was it challenging?
Once I was feeling good about where the script was at, I sent it out to some of my tougher critics. That was a scary wake up call. They were so tough and so helpful. They were brutally honest and asked an incredible amount of questions. At that point I realized my script was more of a scene and not a play. It was terrifying. but the thought of putting up a bad show was scarier – so I pushed ahead. This pushed me to turn on the analytical side of my brain and make sure that the structure was there to support the piece. Beautiful, honest moments are great but if there isn’t a strong story to support them, you lose your audience. At this point I broke things down, I even created a big chart in my hallway. I basically rebuilt the play. I had to let go of a lot of things I was really attached to in the first piece but I knew that creating a strong piece was more important than indulging myself in “precious moments”. I learned so much from this process!
What is the goal of the play?
I’m an emotional person and there are certain memories that just stick with you and I wanted to capture them. I felt there must be something universal about these experiences. My goal is that people who see the play feel something, think about it and maybe talk about it. But considering this is my first go at it, I’d be thrilled if they were just glad they came!
What do you plan on doing with it (if anything) after Fringe?
I’d really like to develop this into a full length play. It would be a big challenge but I don’t want to turn back now!
Any advice you wish you had been given before starting this whole process?
I heard Michael Morpurgo speak in the fall and he said that he doesn’t spend a lot of time writing, but he spends a lot of time imaging. I think this makes sense. I found that advice helpful. I don’t feel like anyone warned me how hard it would be! But I doubt that would have changed anything.
Get as much feedback as possible. Playwriting should not be solitary process, the more collaboration the better!
Are you interested in writing more scripts?
Definitely! I’ve learned so much and I want to build on that. Although I may need a little break after the Fringe. Then I’ll tackle the full length version…and then maybe a screenplay?
If there was one thing you could scream out to the masses, what would it be?
With love you can achieve, survive, dream, fail – anything. Never settle. Ever.
Driving Home, Premiering at the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival
Tarragon Extra Space
30 Bridgman Avenue
Friday, July 6th – 5:45 PM
Saturday, July 7th – 7:00 PM
Sunday, July 8th – 10:30 PM
Tuesday, July 10th – 10:30 PM
Wednesday, July 11th – 9:15 PM
Thursday, July 12th – 1:45 PM
Sunday, July 15th – 3:30 PM
To purchase tickets:
At-the-door: Available at a show’s venue starting one hour prior to show time, cash sales only, limit of 4/person.
Online at www.fringetoronto.com
from June 15th
By Phone at 416-966-1062
In person at the Festival Box Office
July 4th – 15th, 12 – 10pm @ The Fringe Club, 581 Bloor St. W
Twitter – @artistheather