Hamilton Fringe Festival

An 11-day unjuried theatre festival that happens every summer in downtown Hamilton

The Fringe Blog!

A Language For Dogs

Written by Denyse Terry For Sale: Hamilton. A new and ingenious play is coming to the festival this year and it sounds like a very good time indeed. There are realtors. There is a tour. There is some Hamilton history and drama, along with some  loss and change. Above all, there is inventiveness.   Meeting recently with York University students Chelsea Haraburda- (performer, designer and director) Hayley Pace (designer/photographer/singer/performer) and Bessie Cheng (performer and deviser) I got a tease of a story about how new theatre company Outrun The Mill plans on selling our fair city. Haraburda, Cheng and Ryan Percival (actor/devisor) play realtors who are actually selling space. The space they are peddling is the real life Hawk & Sparrow, a vintage clothing store at 126 James St. N. “And by selling that, we are actually selling the city.” says Haraburda. The collective, inspired by, “the contradictory relationship of Hamilton’s emergence as an artistic hub and the city’s Torontophobia, is experimental and physical; sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes very very serious. Percival plays a realtor from Toronto who is desperately trying to take advantage of the popularity of Hamilton while pretentiously holding his nose.  The issue of  gentrification comes up with Pace playing a ‘typical Hamiltonian’ who becomes displaced and who hopes, through her character, to engender compassion instead of disdain. “Change is hard on everybody. If someone gets displaced – I hope we show compassion and see them as people who need help.” Characters appear from different time periods. There’s the 1940’s, with Haraburda playing an agent who sees Hamilton through rose colored glasses and is brimming with hope for Hamilton’s potential. Cheng’s agent/character lives in the modern day and is also full of hope but for very different reasons. A unique element of the play is that it starts by taking its audience members on a tour. Beginning at the Citadel Theatre (28 Rebecca St.) ‘Tour Guides’ will arrive to divide the group and take you on one of four distinct tours. You all end up back at the Hawk & Sparrow and that’s when the action really begins. This is 60 minutes of physical and devised theatre folks. What is devised theatre you may ask? Good question. Devised theatre basically starts off as improv. The script develops collaboratively and by the time the show is ready to be staged and seen it is fully developed and fixed. With Aaron Jan as dramaturge ( Drafts, Best of Hamilton Fringe 2012) and Lucy Powis as stage manager & Asst dramaturge (2013 Fringe, A Little Too Close To Home) we are all in for a treat here. A treat that has had a lot of Hamilton thought put into it. The play’s name, A Language For Dogs, has an appropriately tail-wagging connection, “We are trying to speak to Hamilton literally as man’s best friend. The issues we cover all reflect Hamiltonians so people who aren’t necessarily into theatre will enjoy the play because at the end of the day, it’s about their city, their home.” says Haraburda. Heading into the experience that is A Language For Dogs, keep in mind that the four tours from Citadel Theatre to Hawk & Sparrow that set the stage are all unique to each area. Can you expect something different if you go more...

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Your First Theatre Experience. What Do You Remember?

Written by Crystal Jonasson Do you remember your first theatre experience?   The first memory I have of the magic of theatre was seeing Sharron, Lois and Bram at Hamilton Place with my parents. Even as a young child it was clear to me that there was something special about live performance, something unique about hearing my favourite songs and seeing the performers ‘for real’. Singing along with my three favourite musicians and their elephant companion obviously left an impact that has lasted decades. I know that for me these early memories shaped how I think about theatre and the arts in general. The Fringe values the impact that theatre can have on young people and strives to make theatre accessible to artists and patrons of all ages. That is why this year the Hamilton Fringe Festival and Theatre Aquarius are proud to bring you the first ever: Family Fringe. Family Fringe was created to offer patrons easier access to family-friendly performances – and to support local artists interested in bringing their work to children and families in our community. Companies offering children’s theatre are performing in one venue, Theatre Aquarius, and have been scheduled for convenient show times. Wondering what to do with the 12 & under crowd? We have you covered over both weekends in July. In addition to the Family Fringe Shows, children’s arts activities will be offered on both Saturdays of the festival in the greenspace on the west side of Theatre Aquarius in the Family Fringe Tent. These additional arts activities will include face painting, T-shirt decoration, music and more. Activities in the Family Fringe Tent will be hosted by local children’s artists and dedicated Fringe volunteers, all FREE of charge! In planning this new project I have had an opportunity to talk to several children’s artists, volunteers interested in working with children and with parents of young children, and I have discovered a special type of enthusiasm. The enthusiasm and excitement born of sharing your passion for the arts with the next generation of artists and arts supporters, it’s contagious.   Got the Family Fringe bug? To volunteer for Family Fringe call: Yara Farran 289 698-2234 volunteer@hamiltonfringe.ca If you are an artist who would love to share your work/activity with children and their families, over two Saturdays (July 19 & 26) contact Crystal Jonasson:...

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On The Fringe with The Bell Ringer

Written by Denyse Terry Been to Paris lately? No? That’s alright; it’s one of the reasons we love the Fringe. This year you can find a ‘minimalist’ recreation of the famous cathedral in Notre Dame, Paris, once home to Victor Hugo’s ‘hunchback’ Quasimodo. If you have not read the Hunchback of Notre Dame lately, here’s a quick synopsis: Using the Notre Dame Cathedral to represent all of society Hugo drops in the disfigured Quasimodo, who is judged by his looks rather than his character. His adoptive father, who exercises multiple nefarious motives, is given the benefit of the doubt, due in part to his more appealing looks. The beautiful gypsy Esmerelda complicates the entire story because: woman, leading the main character Quasimodo to alternately love, save, lose and eventually turn to dust by her side. In this new adaptation, Bending Reality Productions take the 183 year old story and, while focusing on the obvious physical disability of the main character (now called Caleb) and the resulting stigma around that, they enhance this theme by taking a broader look at male body image and sexuality. A central question of The Bell Ringer is how and why the dark themes of Hugo’s work are still relevant to today’s standards of the human body. Using a circle, some ropes, original music and a lot of lighting effects, this incarnation brings both light and inquiry to a male’s perspective on disabilities, desire and body image.   Exuding energy and intelligence Taryn Crankshaw, Jessica Marshall and Concetta Roche all giggle nervously about the productions ‘creepiness’ and ‘eeriness’. Joining them in this drama/horror show are co-director Cameron Love, and cast members Phil Krusto, Julie Diab, Charles Wallace, Danny Johnston, Mackenzie Potts, Justin Mackie, Kit Simmons. The show’s creators all met at McMaster University and developed The Bell Ringer for the Honours Performance Series there. Winning Best Sound, Best Original Script & Best Set Design in that series, they’ve since added more scenes to the 60 minute performance. Co-writer and asst director Taryn Crankshaw dug into the topic of disabilities and says the group wants to, “…address stigma. There is such a pattern of stigmatizing disabilities. We wanted to create a character who could explore his desires, his sexuality.” “We’ve added a lot of symbolism” says co-writer and lighting designer Concetta Roche (actor in Jamie’s Gone, 2013 winner of Best of Fringe). “We’re looking at social justice issues then and now.” From Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford and Cayuga, Bending Reality Productions was founded specifically to put on a Fringe show. “Hamilton has an amazing art culture that keeps us coming back to collaborate for projects.” T. Crankshaw. “We wanted to take an old story and make it relevant to modern day.” Says Director Jessica Marshall who thought she was going to be an English and History major but got derailed by a workshop at Theatre Aquarius and ended up double majoring in Theatre & Film and Multi Media and the rest was, well, history. No less appropriately than taking a novel that has been hailed as the first work of Epic Theatre, there is a certain sense of harmony that The Bell Ringer comes to Players Guild, the oldest community theatre in North America, having adapted itself over its 139 year history. And while it may have...

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Reaching Youth In Hamilton

  The Hamilton Fringe Festival draws thousands of people into the downtown core every year. Contributing to the city’s growing arts and theatre culture, the festival is a vehicle for local, national and international companies, emerging artists and senior artists, to showcase their craft and advance their skills. Now approaching its 11th year the Festival keeps growing and growing, exploring new performance spaces and formats, attracting a wide variety of performers and an even wider audience. If you are an experienced ‘Fringer’ then you already know all this! You know about the dedicated volunteers and the passionate artists. You may still have a Fringe button or two and the stories to accompany them (*see below, let us know). Perhaps you are one of the many theatre enthusiasts looking forward to a festival you know and love. You may NOT know that the Hamilton Fringe Festival is also working to have a positive effect on the Hamilton community in other ways. As the Festival grows new ways to engage and impact our community are being explored. One way in which the festival is working to make this impact is by reaching out to youth in our community. The Youth Access Pass, affectionately known as the YAP, was developed for the 2013 Fringe and its distribution has been expanded for the upcoming 2014 festival to allow eligible youth to access to the Festival free of charge. The pass is designed to facilitate access to the arts in our community for youth who may face economic, cultural or other barriers. These passes allow each participant access to complimentary tickets for up to 10 performances of their choice during the festival. These complimentary tickets are offered to participants on a ‘rush’ basis. This means that paid patrons will be accommodated first and then if seats remain they will be made available to Youth Access Pass participants. In coordination with youth outreach workers and the Hamilton Wentworth district school board we are hoping to reach more than 300 youth this year. The Hamilton Fringe Festival strongly believes in creating an accessible environment that empowers young people to engage in their community through arts and theatre. As the Associate Producer it has been a part of my job to connect with youth workers in Hamilton to increase the distribution of the YAP. Every time I speak with a youth worker and explain the program I get the same overwhelmingly positive response. Youth workers are excited to offer this program to the young people they work with and I am excited to be a part of that. For some of the youth, using a YAP may be their first experience with live theatre. The Fringe offers an impressively diverse selection of performances each year allowing youth to develop their understanding of different types of theatre as well as the opportunity to see what types of theatre are being created here in their community. The Fringe Festival is also a chance for young Hamiltonians to discover a volunteer-based organization that can allow them to positively impact their community while enjoying the excitement of theatre. In the future we hope to expand this exciting program to effectively engage even more young people here in Hamilton. For more information about the YAP program write to us here: outreach@hamiltonfringe.ca If you’re interested...

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Your Backstage Pass To The Fringe

Written by Robyn Cunningham   I was born with an addiction… to theatre. When my friends in elementary school were carrying lunch boxes plastered with the faces of Simba, The Little Mermaid and Pokemon, I was begging my mom for one with the cast of Rent or Les Miserable. Growing up in a rural community, my peers were not exposed to theatre in the way I was. My mother being an actor/musician and my sister working in the Toronto theatre community, gave me a unique insight into this magical world of make believe that I found much more compelling than any animated film or TV show. As I grew up, I learned that my addiction was uncommon. I learned that loving something whole-heartedly the way I embraced the stage, was sometimes seen as uncool or “nerdy”. This dilemma was only worsened by the response of my high school guidance counselor, who appeared in catatonic shock when I shared my ambitions for theatre school. I remember her words exactly to this day, “… but don’t you want to be able to get a job?” I responded between clenched teeth, “No, I would like to be able to have a career.” This type of negative outlook is the inspiration behind my idea for the Backstage Pass Program. This program is a chance for emerging artists to gain experience and knowledge about the theatre community that is located right on their doorstep. In many high school’s guidance departments, theatre school and careers in the arts tend to be handled as a risky choice. In my experience when someone doesn’t know about the arts, especially their local community of working artists, it is difficult for them to provide a clear outline of expectations. This program is designed for students who are eager to infiltrate the theatre community and learn from the pros who’ve already crossed these barriers of creative negativity. We want to show emerging young artists that they can thrive with hard work, dedication, knowledge and support of artists around them. So many young people believe they must escape to Toronto, Vancouver or New York to really participate in a thriving theatre scene. This program is here to prove otherwise. The Backstage Pass at the Hamilton Fringe grants young theatre artists in the local area a chance to get involved in one of the city’s most valuable and influential theatre festivals. During the 11-day run of the Hamilton Fringe, members of the Backstage Pass will get a chance to: See 10 Fringe shows Participate in talk-backs with Fringe artists Take workshops with local industry professionals Gain insightful knowledge from guest artist talks AND  develop entrepreneurial skills under the guidance of Fringe staff and associates If you are interested in pursuing a career in theatre, this is an opportunity not to be missed. To receive an application form, please email Robyn at outreach@hamiltonfringe.ca. Robyn is a theatre artist and a proud new Hamiltonian. Upon graduating from the Dramatic Arts Department at Brock University in 2012, Robyn was chosen as the Directing and Dramaturgical intern with The Shaw Festival. Since completing her internship Robyn has expanded her passion in theatre by working for The Toronto Fringe Festival, SummerWorks Theatre Festival and Malabar Costumes in Toronto. Robyn looks forward to a long future with the...

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Theatre Workout: Theatre Aquarius GYM

Written By Laura Ellis I recently attended the first session of the new Theatre Aquarius GYM program. It was a huge success, and we are getting tons of positive feedback, as you’ll see throughout this story. The GYM program was created after “Stage Directions”, an open space meeting held back in March at the Player’s Guild. That meeting facilitated discussion amongst the members of the theatre community in Hamilton. It sparked conversation about building a better, stronger theatre community within our amazing city. A topic that specifically caught my interest was: Local Training –What is the need? What resources are missing? As someone who has lived in Hamilton the majority of my life, but has also lived and trained in Toronto, I realized how little professional theatre training we have available in our own community. Professional performing artists, emerging artists, theatre students, and anyone interested in pursuing a career in the performing arts have traditionally been obligated to travel to Toronto to receive quality instruction (and usually for a hefty price for us poor starving artists). So what could we do to move forward and change this? “Actors, directors, writers, or anybody else in theatre, need a place like this where they are both taught and given time to explore new ideas and refine old ones.”  -GYM Participant This is when I met Luke Brown, the Artistic Associate for Theatre Aquarius. It was exciting to hear that someone who has the knowledge, the tools, and a strong influence on Hamilton theatre was just as interested in making something happen. Through the group discussion, I noticed we had a lot of similar viewpoints and shared a great passion for the subject. I approached him afterward and volunteered myself if he was ever serious about investing the time to put this into action. I received an email four days later. I guess he was serious! Over numerous coffee-filled meetings, we decided we wanted to focus on providing a creative space that is accessible and affordable to all artists in the community so that they can give their creative muscles a workout (hence calling it the GYM). Our mission would be to support artists by providing monthly mentorship and training led by skilled instructors and experienced working professionals. We would offer workshops, panels, and keynote speakers as part of our program. Better yet, session fees would only be $10 (hooray for not breaking the bank!) and 100% of the fees would go directly to the instructor. “I enjoyed the workshop and it was nice that everyone got a chance to get up and do something. I think the GYM nights will be a great way to stay involved and feel active in theatre even if you don’t have a role in an upcoming production.” -GYM Participant In addition to having a monthly session in place, we would provide an hour of “open floor” discussion and creation. Artists would be invited to work on personal artistic endeavours including artistic experimentation, developing new work, scenes, monologues, etc. With the constant influx of new artists deciding to make Hamilton home, this open floor portion is designed to infuse the new artists with the existing. If all goes according to plan, it will encourage theatrical communication and instigate collaborative relationships among peers in our community. The Theatre Aquarius GYM plans...

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ArtsVote Hamilton – How You Can Get Involved

Written by Denyse Terry In March we told you about ‘Stage Directions’, an Open Space meeting that brought Hamilton Theatre folks together around the central theme of imagining the next steps for theatre in Hamilton. Many many ideas were born that day, and you can count on hearing about some of those developments here. Today’s post is from a new group in town, called ArtsVote Hamilton. Here they start the conversation about the need for an advocacy group in our city and how you can get involved right away. The goal of ArtsVote Hamilton is to raise awareness about the importance of the arts in a vibrant growing city. We are doing this by encouraging local politicians to get behind funding for the arts at City Council. And how will we achieve this? By educating city councilors about the benefits of a vibrant arts scene. How will we do that you ask? Good question – and we need your help.     Hamilton is a city known for its diverse social scene, with a pulsing mixture of upper, middle and working class people. Hamilton has a proud history of being on the side of workers and recently has focused on tackling poverty issues. How can a city that must focus on poverty find the time and money to spend on the arts? The two issues need not be in competition. The arts in Hamilton not only bring a brighter spiritual life to the city but naturally encourage the revitalization of older, poorer neighborhoods (witness the recent Renaissance of James Street North)! The truth is that cities such as Birmingham, England and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have recently discovered an important principle: both cities, like Hamilton, have seen the demise of heavy industry, but both have also focused on the arts as a way to actually improve their city’s economy. The arts not only improves the quality of life in the city by providing venues and opportunities for artists to create inspiring work, but the arts positively impacts these aspects of city life: JOBS BUSINESSES OUR INTERNATIONAL PROFILE! In a 2012 Hill Strategies study of arts funding Hamilton ranked 7th out of 8 Canadian municipalities (compared to Toronto, Winnipeg, Waterloo, Halifax, Windsor, London). That’s $3.08 per person. A city with a vibrant arts scene creates jobs, and encourages the growth of the service industry, and many other city businesses. Hamilton can look back on a proud history of being a tourist destination due to its gorgeous scenery and very special bay location. The ARTS offer another very good reason for people to come here to visit, and pour money into the economy. The arts, most importantly, help to build a civil, spiritual life for its citizens. But beyond that, and on a much more practical level, the flourishing arts community increases investment, attracts tourists, generates revenue and boosts our city’s international profile. Here’s what you can do: ArtsVote Hamilton needs volunteers for the May 9 Artcrawl to ask folks in the street what questions they would like to ask their councilors about art funding in Hamilton. We’ll have some newly designed postcards, with the gorgeous picture above provided by Clarence Porter. Mark your calendars: On June 4, 7pm, ArtsVote Hamilton invites city councilors to 121 Hughson St. where host Jeff Mahoney from the...

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Opening Doors

Opening Doors

Written by Denyse Terry Photography by Rhonda Cline The Hamilton Fringe recently hosted, with the support of the Player’s Guild, Hamilton Arts Council, Theatre Aquarius and Cobalt Connects, an Open Space meeting called Stage Directions: Imagining the next steps for theatre in Hamilton. The Book of Proceedings is available by request at info@hamiltonfringe.ca  We heard from a lot of folks that missed this. We hope to see you for the next one.   Behind the big red door that fronts Player’s Guild Theatre on Queen Street were a lot of people. Of that I was sure. For weeks the folks behind the Fringe had excitedly planned the first ever ‘Open Space’ meeting in Hamilton and within two days we were full. Stakeholders from professional, semi-professional and community theatre, reps from Hamilton, Toronto and Buffalo, all together, in one room, tasked with raising the bar on theatre in Hamilton. What could go wrong? Right? Open Space meetings, in various iterations, have been around for about 20 years. Developed by Harrison Owen they are designed with specialists in mind: a central theme brings seemingly disparate experts together and fully respects their ability to govern themselves; to pick agenda topics, hammer out the highlights, democratically choose future steps, and pinpoint available resources. Yeah, I was nervous. I had bugged Claire about our facilitator for weeks, “This guy knows what he is walking into? Right? We aren’t cold-cocking him?” “No worries.” I was assured. “We have a great guy from Ancaster. He trained under Michelle Cooper of the Courage Group” And sure enough, when I met Brian Ross I was impressed. His explanation of the day’s proceedings so embraced and embodied the philosophy behind the technique, I imagined the backs of his eyeballs tattooed with, “Ommmmm.” There is something to be said for process.     Back at that big red door, while working my way through the throng, I tried to pick up on the energy in the house. Because it felt, well…weird. Not what I expected. Everybody seemed so….chill. But there they were. Over 50 folks gathered around for the morning circle to hear about the process and the guiding principles.   This seems to be the year of 11’s. 11 topics were chosen. For the Fringe’s 11th Anniversary – the traditional gift is STEEL btw, if you are in a buying mood – from July 17 – 27th, you have 11 days to pick something out. The 11 topics were ambitious and specific. Here’s a sampling: What does a stronger, better theatre community look like? Coordination and Amalgamation of Community Groups Local Training – What is Missing? What is the need? How does Hamilton theatre fit into the broader Canadian and International contexts? Is there a place in the Hamilton theatre scene for challenging, innovative, professional (ie government funded) theatre?   The ‘breakout rooms’ were set up throughout the Guild. Always a circle. Always amazing conversations. While the topics differed, there were a few words that were heard again and again, words of inclusion, and transition, “Us…We…Let’s…Yes…I smell pizza.” (pizza lunch was served!) Reports came in from the morning sessions. Pooled and printed they were plastered on a ‘Newsroom Wall’ for all to see. Already the elephants in the room had been addressed. First up: Toronto or Toronto-phobia. It is a thing. I was awe-struck by how easily...

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On The Fringe #10

Written by Denyse Terry PLAY: Everlasting Slumber COMPANY: Hercinia Arts Collective DETAILS: Written and directed by Emily Hughes, Kirsten Harvey, Jasper Empson, Molly Keczan. Music by Waylen Miki LOCATION: Citadel Studio SCHEDULE: Fri. July 19, 11:00pm; Sat. July 20, 8:30pm; Sun. July 21, 1:00pm; Tue. July 23, 9:30pm; Fri. July 26, 5:00pm; Sat. July 27, 6:30pm; Sun. July 28, 3:00pm Aerial silk performances are gaining in popularity – and for good reason. They are spectacular. The performance involves artists who – without the use of safety lines – climb, wrap, suspend, swing and drop from silks, spiraling their bodies into and out of various positions. The creative folks at Hercinia Arts Collective are bringing their silks and hoops, their ropes, dance, puppets, and animation to deliver a dramatic fairy tale at this year’s Fringe. Their show, Everlasting Slumber, “a storybook come to life,” is about a little boy who gets lost in an enchanted dream-world. Two-time Dora award winner Waylen Miki is the music man behind the original show, which is light on dialogue but bursting with movement.  Created by Kirsten Harvey, Molly Keczan, Jasper Empson and Emily Hughes, with puppetry and projected animation by Hamiltonian Evan DeRushie, the group says that it is an all-ages show. “The adults come for the ‘wow’ factor and are intrigued by the theme and metaphor. Kids love it because of the fairy tale aspect.” “We do deal with grief, and the adults will get that, but it’s not so obvious to the kids, they aren’t hit over the head with it.” When the show debuted in London last year, kids as young as four filled the seats and, “…they were engaged, happy, excited, asking questions – it was great!” says Keczan. “I would encourage everyone to see this piece because it is so inventive and because this group is exploring the idea of what constitutes theatre.” Lesleigh Turner, beat magazine, 2012 Performer and co-creator Keczan grew up in Beamsville, Ontario and was a member of the Hamilton Ballet Youth Ensemble in 2013 dancing at the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts. A Ryerson graduate, she was drawn to aerial work because it combines dance and gymnastics. Hughes started in circus at age 8, and now teaches everything from aerial to acrobat, trampoline, juggling, and tight ropes. Harvey, originally from Vancouver Island, spent three years in dinner theatre, then Ryerson, then hoola-hooping because, well, why not? Now a teacher of hoops, Harvey says she gets pure enjoyment and, “learns something everyday” from the children she works with. A Collective since 2009, Hercinia Arts performed the aerial theatre children’s show, “Gurgle, Splash!” at the Hamilton Art Gallery’s family fun day in 2011. Together with Natalie Parkinson, Hughes and Keczan wanted to use the collective to explore new ways to combine the physicality of circus with the theatrics of storytelling. “Circus connects people to their childhood. We are turning fantasy into reality.” says Keczan. Their home base is a bit of fantasy turned reality by itself.  Three of them live upstairs from their charming studio. Coming down the stairs every morning to their rehearsal and work space, complete with silks and hoops and more, their kitchen counter over-flows with specialty teas and welcoming mugs. The idea for Everlasting Slumber started with a talk about fairy tales....

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On The Fringe #9

Written by Denyse Terry PLAY: The Gore Mis-Fits COMPANY: Majik Man Productions DETAILS: Written by Robert LP Savoie. Directed by Patti Cannon LOCATION: Citadel Studio SHOW TIMES: Fri. July 19, 7:30pm Sat. July 20, 4:30pm; Mon. July 22, 9:30pm; Wed. July 24, 6:30pm; Thurs. July 25, 5:00pm; Sat. July 27, 4:00pm; Sun. July 28, 4:30pm   “Alone a mis-fit, together a family.” Those words came to Robert Savoie one day while standing at the water fountain at Hamilton’s Gore Park. They are words he uses to inform his own life and they are at the heart of his play, The Gore Mis-Fits. Savoie is almost as familiar a figure in town as the historic fountain in the Park.  A couple of years ago he started hanging out there more often. “And one grand day, I was looking at the fountain a very long time and all of a sudden a thought crossed my mind that it would be interesting to write a play about this particular space.” Savoie researched the Gore’s history, “And then I paid more attention to the people I was around. I went out to dinners with them. I invited them out. I heard their stories, their triumphs, their failures, loves lost. A remarkable story was there and I just had to tell it.” Savoie’s first two plays also opened at the Fringe, Escape and Out of Mind! – Back in Five tackled social issues (child abuse, drug addiction) and The Gore Mis-Fits is no exception. He has cast some familiar faces in this social commentary on love, loss, friendship and family. The play features five seemingly disparate characters, all composites, who are going to a wedding later in the day. Gord Nelson plays ‘Blue Hat’, the man getting married. He is joined by singer/actor Jamie Taylor as the bouncer Joe, AKA Fat Man. Joe’s belief in God has been shattered; he is angry and disillusioned. Actor/director Luis Arrojo (Paul & Marie, Amigo’s Blue Guitar) plays pro-wrestler and single father Johnny O. Shilo Nelson (Out of Mind! -Back in Five, Santa’s Big Sleep, Oliver) plays Maggie, a young widow who has a brotherly relationship with the story’s main character Josh, played by local musician and singer Jonny Kerr. Josh is a wheelchair bound father with cerebral palsy, who narrates and keeps the action going.  Enjoying preparations for his acting debut, Kerr says his character has, “A good outlook on life.” Arrojo agrees, “It’s a rare thing to see a positive portrayal of a person with CP.” Director Patti Cannon, co-founder of Northern Lights Theatre Company, has extensive Fringe experience. She directed the popular show Interface in 2011 and says The Gore Mis-Fits is mostly a character study. “It’s dialogue driven. It’s really a very tender story. We’ve got some strong, good actors. Some characters have a bit of an edge to them. It’s about their interactions and to show that this is a group of people who for one reason or the other are down on their luck or they have certain other challenges, or their life didn’t go the way they planned it. Maybe it is going the way they planned it, but outsiders sometimes have a tendency to see the people that are downtown in a negative light. We just want to show that...

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