Director Kelly Straughan thinks it's time Toronto discovered Vancouver playwright Aaron Bushkowsky, and she's going to make the introductions.
"He's a celebrated writer there, with seven Jessie nominations and two wins in the past decade" - they're the Vancouver equivalent of the Doras - "but somehow he's not gotten past the Rockies."
Straughan's directing Bushkowsky's Soulless, a look at characters caught up in the relentless building boom on the West Coast, a frightening phenomenon mirrored in the upscale condos going up in Toronto.
"Though it was written in 2004, the play hasn't lost its relevance," says Straughan, who discovered Bushkowsky's work when she did her masters at UBC. "Aaron was inspired by events there, where low-income families and the homeless were displaced so the rich could move into luxury apartments. That's happening across the country.
"At its core, Soulless is about how we live and how we treat each other. Somehow, we're losing our sense of spirituality, of things beyond what we can buy or acquire - of soul."
And there's more than real estate underlying the play. Developer Bob finds himself in a lawsuit and turns to hotshot lawyer Darren for help, not realizing that his lover, Rachel, is Darren's wife. Adding to the tension factor are Bob's wannabe artist assistant, Gerald, and bipolar Claire, who's determined that Bob's condo units not be built.
Straughan has made her Toronto mark in Fringe shows, directing such audience and critical faves as TimeBomb (which she also wrote) and Wake. Unlike Soulless, both those shows use movement as a means to tell the story; still, the three share a style in which time and space shift quickly.
"I'm attracted to that aspect of storytelling," admits the director. "There's an inherent theatricality in flipping a bench over or standing on a table and suddenly finding yourself in a new scene.
"That's the sort of thing that theatre does best, in fact. It's not film or TV, where the scene can be set so perfectly with all the visual details. Instead, theatre uses what's available and makes thrilling imaginative leaps."
Nor does she worry about the audience keeping up with her in these leaps.
"Viewers are smart," she offers. "All they need is that we establish early on that the play they're watching isn't linear. As soon as that fact is established, I can be more daring and move quickly, and I know the audience will go along with me."