Ritter, Erika

Erika Ritter, playwright, essayist, broadcaster (b at Regina, Sask 26 Apr 1948). She was educated at McGill University (BA 1968) and the University of Toronto's Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama (MA 1970). Her plays are often funny explorations of young women's struggles with relationships and careers. In her first play, The Visitor from Charleston (1974), the protagonist is a movie addict who meets an earnest young salesman. Ritter is particularly skilled in mixing bright, snappy dialogue and energetic, complex characters engaged in a battle of wit and wills. The Splits (1978) features a writer of situation comedies who is confused about her relationships with both men and her work. Her hit comedy Automatic Pilot (1980) centres on the emotional life of a neurotic stand-up comedienne who is funniest when sending up her own anxieties and griefs.

Ritter's other plays include Winter 1671 (1979), a historical drama and tragic love story set in New France; The Passing Scene (1982), which presents the relationship between a writer and an investigative reporter; The Girl I Left Behind Me (1976); and Moving Pictures (1976). She has written 2 collections of humorous essays and short stories, Urban Scrawl (1984) and Ritter in Residence (1987) and a novel, The Secret Life of Humans (1997), in which a scriptwriter inherits her ex-lover's dog. Ritter has also worked as a freelance broadcaster with CBC Radio, hosting CBC's information and music program "Dayshift" (1985-87) and "Aircraft" (1988-90).