the Deparment of Common Sense: Fiona Kirkpatrick Parsons, as Sophia Smart, tells Rob McIntyre, as Richard Clod, that she's going to keep an eye on him
Photo Credit: Devaan Ingraham

Arts – Ryan Van Horne, playwright, “The Department of Common Sense”


Welcome to our spotlight on arts, culture, and lifestyle in Canada

Playwright Ryan Van Horne

On this edition, we go to the theatre..or rather the Atlantic Fringe Festival in Halifax which is currently celebrating its 25th year and getting bigger and better all the time.

One of the interesting theatrical pieces being presented is by freelance journalist, editor, and first time playwright Ryan Van Horne of Halifax. Its a play based on his experiences during his time working as a communications officer for the provincial government.  As he says, there were many very good moments, and many frustrating ones as well.

Poste-for the play, with federal Parliament in background

As we all know, governments can seem to be wasteful and illogical at times, and Ryan often found himself tasked with assignments where he posed the question..has this been approved by the department of common sense?

Well, that thought stayed with him, and now has become the basis for his first play on how government bureaucrats can be downright silly.  But he’s dealt with the silly pettiness in a humourous manner in his satirical play.

During development of the play, and in talking about it, he says he can’t count the number of times people have said, if only there was an actual Department of Common Sense in government.

Lianne Perry, as Adele Courage, downs a shot of tequila provided by Mark Adam, as Minister of Common Sense Frank Walker, after a bureaucrat told her he was going to cut off the corner of her office. © Devaan Ingraham

He notes that in a preliminary staging of the play, earlier this year, some audience members who were in government told him afterwards…”you hit the nail on the head”, and “that’s my life you’ve portrayed on stage”.

Department of Common Sense- Facebook

(theme music composed and performed by M Montgomery)

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One comment on “Arts – Ryan Van Horne, playwright, “The Department of Common Sense”
  1. Peter Ashcroft says:

    Will this play be on at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next year?