What's it About?
7 Stories is a black comedy by Morris Panych, which premiered at the Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver, BC in May, 1989, directed by Panych, with set design by Ken MacDonald.
The play is set on the seventh storey ledge of an apartment building, in front of several windows. The protagonist, simply named “Man,” stands on the ledge, contemplating a jump, but he is constantly delayed by interruptions from the individuals in the apartments:
All are attempting to escape their limitations, to explore other ways of being and perceiving.
(Adapted from Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia)
Playwright, actor, and director Morris Panych is a man for all seasons in Canadian theatre. He has directed over ninety productions across Canada, and written thirty plays that have been produced throughout Canada, Britain, the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand in a dozen languages.
Panych was born in 1952 in Calgary and grew up in Edmonton. He received a diploma in radio and television arts from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and then studied creative writing at the University of British Columbia (BFA, 1977), and theatre at East 15 acting school in London, England. He works primarily in Vancouver, and more recently, Montreal.
Panych claims to have no theories about theatre, only a certain need for liberation: "I sense that to illustrate through theatre a multiplicity of truths, is to allow the audience to begin to reclaim truths of its own. To look at a play and say, 'this a pretense invented out of nothing. These characters are trapped inside problems that don’t even exist,' and yet to remain committed to that reality for a time just for the hell of it, to begin to understand what the power of theatre is. Not to mention life. The power to question. . . . What’s important to me now, as always, is to keep things moving. And that’s it. My entire theory of theatre. To keep changing. Rediscovering. Questioning not only the accepted ideas of theatre, but the reversal of those ideas as well."
His plays are characterized by existential themes and "theatre of the absurd" style and sensibility. They typically set their interrogations of the meaning of life in culturally and nationally neutral locales, and they pose broad philosophical questions on human interaction and isolation, on the nature of good and evil, and on the relationship between fantasy and reality. Many are black comedies that oscillate between hope and despair.