I wrote Some Assembly Required in my home town of Regina, Saskatchewan back in 1993. Thanks to a serendipitous meeting with Bob White who was then at Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary, the play was developed at ATP, first as a Platform Play reading in 1993 and then as a playRites play in 1994. It was first published by Coteau Books in Regina and in 1995 was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award in Drama. ATP remounted it in 1996 as part of their 25th Anniversary Season. In 2000 it was translated into French as Noel de Force and produced by Compagnie Jean Duceppe in Montreal.
Up until 2013, it was produced at least once a year by some theatre, somewhere. All in all, this would add up to around a hundred productions or so, quite honestly I lost track long ago. I suppose you can put it down to the populist nature of my writing, but these productions have been more in the domain of Little Theatres and university drama departments across Canada and some in the US, While it’s had numerous productions in smaller centres in Ontario (if, for example, Ottawa can be said to be a smaller centre) it’s never been produced in Toronto.
At its core, it’s a simple but quirky story of an extremely dysfunctional family trying to put together some kind of Christmas for themselves. What I have heard again and again both from cast and crew and audience members is “How could you possibly know what my family is like?”
I guess the thing we learned from producing the play is that at some level, all families are dysfunctional, which can be denied year round, but harder not to come to grips with at Christmas time.
Despite its success as a book, Coteau never did a reprint, but thankfully Broadview Press published it in 2002 (cover pictured above) and it can be ordered through them at broadviewpress.com.