In this special Take Five Dora Edition we revisit Diane Flacks - writer for the 2018 Dora Awards Ceremony. Most recently she wrote and starred in Unholy, her critically acclaimed play about women and religion for Nightwood Theatre, which was nominated for a Dora for outstanding new play. Other plays include Bear With me, Random Acts, Myth Me, Waiting Room, By a Thread, SIBS and Care with Richard Greenblatt, Gravity Calling and Theory of Relatives. Diane writes for TV (including Global/NBC’s Working the Engels, Working Moms (CBC), Baroness Von Sketch Show, Young Drunk Punk, Good Behaviour, PR, The Broad Side, Behind the Scenes, Listen Missy, and Kids in the Hall, for which she was nominated for an Emmy). She has been a long time national parenting columnist for CBC radio, and has been a contributor to DNTO and Tapestry. She was a feature columnist for the Toronto Star among others. She played the lead in the independent film Portrait of A Serial Monogamist, and in Body Politic, for which she was nominated for a Dora.
When did you first think of yourself as an artist?
As an artist, wot until recently, actually. I finally accepted in mid-life that I am an activist artist and not a breadwinner. Accepting that I’m an artist and not a product maker has been liberating. When you’re funny, and use humour to make political or savage points, you can also doubt the label “artist”, but now I embrace it.
Who helped you develop your voice as an artist?
When I graduated from theatre school, I co-founded a funny and fierce feminist theatre company called Empress Productions and we had a blast! We were welcomed into the theatre community by Sky Gilbert at Buddies. We used imagery, humour and character to make unflinching points. Theatre Smith Gilmour and Theatre Columbus were revolutionary for me for the physical and the funny, and nerd geniuses like Ann-Marie MacDonald and Judith Thompson were my playwright idols. Tarragon was my writer home. Richard Greenblatt and Alisa Palmer and Kelly Thornton at Nightwood have been my all-around theatre inspirations all along, and still.
What’s something that’s inspired you this week?
What’s your favourite restaurant in the city to visit?
I love me some Tabuleh.
What do you want to see more of on Toronto stages?
Women. Unique and unflinching voices. Theatre as necessary and as event.
Diane is currently the supervising producer of Qanuril, an Inuit language comedy for APTN, and is developing a new one hour tv drama. Newly produced, a new one person play for the We’re Funny That Way festival, called Guilt.