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The rights of gay parents-to-be play out at Neanderthal Arts Festival.
The rights of gay parents-to-be play out in Vancouver playwright David Deveau’s new play ‘Tiny Replicas.’
David Deveau leans back on my sofa. “Actually, that’s what most plays boil down to,” he says definitively. “Love and power.”
He is talking about the themes at the core of his latest production, Tiny Replicas, which will be opening with the Neanderthal Arts Festival later this month. It seems, however, that Deveau’s statement is equally applicable to the human drama that constitutes play production, something he’s come to understand thoroughly as an independent theatre producer in Toronto and Vancouver.
Now, as he talks about the third staging of Tiny Replicas, the depth of love and force of will required to bring his vision to life on stage rings loud and clear.
Tiny Replicas opens with the Neanderthal Arts Festival on July 21, and runs until July 25. Tickets are available at www.thecultch.com.
When Deveau was approached to submit a proposal for a new theatre festival in Vancouver, the Neanderthal Arts Festival, he jumped at the chance to produce Tiny Replicas and have full creative control over the presentation.
“I have the capacity to select a dream cast, and a dream director, and a dream panel of designers,” Deveau says—a rare opportunity for a playwright. He handpicked the cast and crew and has been involved at every step.
“It’s great for me at the point I’m at in my career,” he says, “because it really makes me clarify everything on the page.”
For Deveau, clarity of presentation is of the utmost importance, especially as the play wades through the emotional and legal complexity of surrogate pregnancy and the rights of gay and lesbian couples to have children.
“We live in a really progressive and queer-rights conscious country,” says Deveau, “But every so often you find about little hiccoughs that exist within Canadian legislature.”
He says that the average cost for gay couples to have a child by surrogate pregnancy is $32,000—accounting for medical costs and bureaucratic fees alone. It’s also illegal in Canada for a gay man to artificially inseminate a woman, says Deveau.
“The argument is that gay men pose a high health risk to women due to AIDS—which is hilarious, because generally one would think that straight men might pose more of a risk to women because they are probably having more sex with them,” he says. One can apply to Health Canada for an exemption at a cost of $2,000–3,000.
Tiny Replicas addresses these legal complexities, but at its heart, it’s a play about the very human desire to have children. “Ultimately, when you boil it down, [the play] is just about relationships,” says Deveau.
“It’s about how far people are willing to push for something they believe in, what they’re willing to sacrifice, and in a really cliché way, the limits of love.” Something similar to birthing a play, perhaps.