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SALLY COLE: The next step for P.E.I. playwright Malcolm Murray

Charlottetown actors Stephen Bouey, left, Noah Nazim and Yvette Doucette read Malcolm Murray’s play, “Chop Wood, Carry Water” at Carrefour Theatre, during the P.E.I. Community Theatre Festival last month. Missing from the photo is Murray who was the narrator. - Philip Matusiewicz/Special to The Guardian
Charlottetown actors Stephen Bouey, left, Noah Nazim and Yvette Doucette read Malcolm Murray’s play, “Chop Wood, Carry Water” at Carrefour Theatre, during the P.E.I. Community Theatre Festival last month. Missing from the photo is Murray who was the narrator. - Philip Matusiewicz/Special to The Guardian - Contributed

After writing plays for 20 years, Malcolm Murray ‘delighted’ to see them in a book, to be launched April 27

Malcolm Murray has been writing stories for as long as he can remember.

“My first publication was in Grade 1. I even remember one of the lines: ‘He jumped out the window, but the window wasn’t there.’

“I haven’t really changed my style since then,” laughs the UPEI philosophy professor.

Over the years, Murray has written five philosophy books including “Morals and Consent”.

But always, in the back of his mind, he’s yearned to return to his first love, creating characters, putting them into situations and figuring out what happens next.

“I love writing fiction.”

Murray is realizing his dream in a big way this month with the launch of “The Philosopher: one-act plays”, published by Island Press.

Playwright Malcolm Murray is preparing to launch his new book, “The Philosopher: One-Act plays”, on Saturday, April 27, 7 p.m.
Playwright Malcolm Murray is preparing to launch his new book, “The Philosopher: One-Act plays”, on Saturday, April 27, 7 p.m.

“This is my first fiction book, and it feels way more like this is me,” says the playwright whose newest offering will be launched Saturday, April 27, at the UPEI Faculty Lounge, Main Building, at 7 p.m.

The 223-page book contains nine plays, written over approximately 20 years.


If you are going

  • What: Playwrights cabaret and book launch for Malcolm Murray’s new book, “The Philosopher: One-act plays”.
  • When and where: Saturday, April 27, 7 p.m., UPEI Faculty Lounge, Main Building. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
  • Program: Hosted by P.E.I. Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre members Orysia Dawydiak and Yvette Doucette, it includes readings by Rob MacDonald, Catherine O’Brien, Nadine Salami, among others. Murray and friends will read selections from “The Philosopher”, which will be on sale.
  • Admission: By donation.
  • Other plays: Murray’s produced plays include “Art of Posing” (2014), “The Abettor” (2013), “The Philosopher” (2012) and “Chop Wood, Carry Water” (2008). Over the years he’s also given readings of “Missing Mom”, “Chop wood, Carry Water” and “Fiction Tutorial”.

There are plenty of colourful characters to reflect on. “Chop Wood, Carry Water” is a comedy about a man moving a pile of wood, under the critical eye of his boss, who receives insight and continues to work. The title play, “The Philosopher”, is about a truth-seeker who is kept in chains in the basement and is brought up to the dining room to entertain guests and is rewarded with soup. And “Missing Mum” is about an elderly Alzheimer’s patient who goes missing.

In the foreword, UPEI English professor Richard Lemm states: “These characters, which may be variations of the playwright’s shape-shifting perspective, challenge us with questions ranging from the motives, consequences, value and morality of our everyday conduct to the central dilemmas of existence and experience.”

However, Murray weaves comic relief woven into the storylines.

“The gravity of his characters’ crises and conundrums is leavened considerably by Murray’s sprightly wit and trenchant irony,” Lemm writes..

As the playwright approaches the launch, he continues to be positive.

After storing his plays in computer files or actual file folders, he’s delighted to see them in a book.

“I just love it. Bren Simmers of Island Studies Press did a great job of editing and formatting it. We have the wonderful illustration by artist Karen Gallant. And the best part, the plays still resonate with me when I read them.”

As for the future, only time will tell.

“I have a director and a producer who are interested. So, the hope is to have these (books) available for people to run with.”


Call in and win

- The question: What is the name of the Malcolm Murray play that was recently performed at the P.E.I. Community Theatre Festival?

- The prize: A copy of “The Philosopher: One-Act plays”.

- Last week’s winner: Myrna Wakelin won a pair of tickets to see comedian Gerry Dee.

- To enter: Call The Guardian’s Phone and Win contest line at 902-629-1707.



Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at sally.cole@TheGuardian.pe.ca or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.

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