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playwright

The inspiration for SYNCOPATION has many sources for its playwright, Allan Knee. The occasion to begin writing the play arose from participating in a writing workshop where he met a woman who was willing to read scenes for him over a period of over a year as he began to write the play. After about 14 months, the woman said that she had signed them up to do a presentation of the play in the next month. Allan was shocked and says that that deadline was very productive. It took him 14 months to write Act I and 3 weeks to write Act II!

At this workshop, he was inspired by the early 1910’s created “a revolution of expression” – a phrase that in fact makes it into the character Henry’s mouth. This was exactly what Allan himself was looking for in his own work. In SYNCOPATION, he has clearly created that with the only play in the world that combines the narrative and psychological power of ballroom dance into a theatrical form.

As a young man, Allan became proficient at ballroom dancing. His parents sent him to ballroom dancing lessons and found himself winning trophies at contests and “clearing the floor”. He danced right through university but ultimately stopped dancing because the surface performance element was something he no longer liked.

Another influential source is his continuing love for the period and the old New York. It was formative experience for him as a boy to visit a whole new family circle of relatives he did not know on a trip to visit them in New York on the Lower East Side – part of the area where SYNCOPATION is set.

So, it was combination of family, of ballroom dancing, or the love of the period, the willingness of an actor to read his scenes over a long period and the pressures of having to present a completed script by a specific date that have all contributed to his writing of his American Theatre Critic’s awarded play.