Acclaimed local author Marcia Laycock has landed a Word Award for a tremendously powerful play she recently penned.
Laycock, a resident of Blackfalds, received the award from the Word Guild during a ceremony in Mississauga on June 15th.
A Pattern in Blue won in the Short Script, General Market category.
Laycock was thrilled with the award, adding that it was especially gratifying to receive it so close to Father’s Day as the story is based on her father’s experiences during the Second World War.
He had taken part in the liberation of the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen as the war was ending.
The unimaginable things he saw had a devastating impact and he ended up in hospital in Germany to recover.
The play traces his recovery to wholeness and a place of renewal in his Christian faith. It’s a compelling, poignant one-act, but Laycock wants to expand it further to two-act production.
“It’s been a real learning curve — I’ve always loved going to the theatre,” she says of creating the work. “It was a tremendous process, and I really loved the process of writing a play.
“I have written a bit about the story of my dad, so I had that down. But as I started to think about it, I always wanted to make it something more than that.”
She signed up for a course at the Rosebud Theatre school, and that’s where the concept for the story started taking further shape.
“One of the things they did as part of his therapy (at the hospital) was that he had to make a hooked rug,” she said, which refers to the play’s title. “That’s the only thing he brought back with him.”
Near the end of his treatment, he told his daughter that he had an overwhelming need to find a church.
Upon entering a bombed out cathedral down the street from the hospital, he found an alter with a stained glass panel still intact above the alter. He later told Laycock that in staring at the stained glass, it was like watching the life of Christ flowing before him.
“By the time it was done, the fear was completely gone,” she said. “He went back to the hospital and told the nurses it was time to go home. They released him a week later. He still had his struggles, but he had his faith again. And that took him through.”
For Laycock, seeing the script come to life during her study at Rosebud was something of a revelation.
“They go through it so many times — rehearsing and rehearsing, and changing the tone,” she said, adding that she was given opportunity for much creative input along the way as well. She was also asked by the director to tell the creative team a bit about her father.
“I said he was from a little town near Ottawa, and that they had probably never heard of it — a tiny little town called Perth.
“Well, the young man who was playing my dad had just taken a drink of water and just about spit it across the table — Perth is his hometown! That’s where his family still lives,” said Laycock with a smile, noting the remarkable connection.
“There was one thing after the other like that — it was just wonderful. And it was so encouraging to me because when I started this process, I prayed that if I wasn’t to go in this direction, that God would show me because it’s a totally different direction for my career.
“So my goal now is to finish it, and get a production company to do it. It’s also the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the camp in 2020, so I would dearly love to see it on that stage at that point.”
Laycock, a pastor’s wife at Faith Community Church in Blackfalds, is certainly no stranger to local readers.
Her faith column, The Spur, appeared in Ponoka newspapers for years, as well as in Living Light News in Edmonton.
Her devotional book, Spur of the Moment, won the Word Guild’s Award of Merit in 2003 and her debut novel One Smooth Stone won the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award from Castle Quay Books in 2007.
Her second novel, A Tumbled Stone, was also shortlisted for an award after publication.
Meanwhile, journeying into fresh new territory in the fantasy genre has also paid off for the gifted writer.
Her fantasy novel for middle grade readers, Journey to a Strong Tower, was a winner in 2014.
Laycock has really enjoyed exploring the fantasy genre as she continues to break new ground in her writing.
Years back, when she was living in the Yukon, the first winter was brutally cold. “I sat by my fireplace and wrote this fantasy book – and that was the beginning of these young adult ones.”
To date, three are done – a trilogy – and have landed rave reviews from youngsters. And not to worry – there are more to come.
“I working on another one and I’m quite excited about it.”
For more, check out www.marcialeelaycock.com.