A Q&A with playwright Kaitlyn Adair

Photo by Claire Fraser

Kaitlyn Adair is a Fredericton based writer, director and performer. She has written several short films including Oculus, Together We Move, and March 2.4 which won Excellence in Screenwriting at Silver Wave Film Festival. I Hope you Can See the Birds is her first project as a playwright which was hatched during the Notable Acts Incubator Program and had a showcase reading at the Fall Festival of New Plays with Theatre New Brunswick in 2021. Kaitlyn has a love of surrealism and highlighting underrepresented voices in the visual arts.

Let’s learn more.

Can you take us through the life of this play so far? When did you start writing it? 

I started writing this play two years ago. I spent the first months imagining the world of this play from various images I pulled from real life. The pen to paper writing began with an incubator program last year hosted by Anthony Bryan with Notable acts. Then it was accepted to the Fall Festival of New Plays with Theatre New Brunswick for a week of workshopping and a play reading. I then revisited and fine tuned the play during the writing rooms again hosted by Anthony Bryan. 

What type of development/dramaturg opportunities were you able to access in creating I Hope You Can See The Birds?

Well it’s had two goes with formal dramaturgy. The first was with TNB through the Fall Festival in 2021. I worked with Eric Coates, Jena McLean and a cast of actors for a week on really refining the arch of the story. A bulk of the play as it is today was written during that week. Through notable acts I worked with Matthew Heiti through phone calls and drafts sent back and forth. This was where a lot of refinement happened to the story. I think it’s important to mention the informal mentorship that went into this piece from other theatre artists. Anthony Bryan was crucial in creating space for this work to come to life and for writing/new play development as a whole. I also worked closely in early stages of development with Esther Soucoup who helped me discover the critical why of the play while evaluating story/character arcs. 

If you had to describe your play in one minute or less, how would you describe it to a potential audience member?

I Hope You Can See the Birds is a love letter to my grandfather. It’s a surrealist exploration about a man coming to terms with his own mortality while facing the greatest loss of his life, bringing his wife of 65 years to a nursing home.  The play centres around Bryan, a senior in the hospital after a near fatal heart attack, who is refusing life saving treatment without explanation as to why. With his daughter and granddaughter trying to get to the bottom of things by his side, Bryan experiences the comforting allure of death through visions of a hummingbird at his bedside. Ultimately, Bryan must make the choice to answer the call of the hummingbird or have the test his family wants him to take. More than anything this play is about love. It’s beauty, it’s hardships, and how hard we sometimes hold onto it. 

Kaitlyn’s play will be performed as a double bill (w/ Murder Mondays) from July 28-30, 7:30 p.m., nightly, at Memorial Hall, UNB (9 Bailey Drive). Tickets available at the door for 15$ regular, 10$ senior/student/underwaged.

I Hope You Can See The Birds by Kaitlyn Adair | Directed by Alex Rioux | Featuring John Macaulay, Dani Brun, Circe Cain, Julie MacDonald, and Devin Rockwell.