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 they are the same as everyone else. They have the same hopes, dreams, and aspirations as anyone else and whether they have a support system or not they have each other so they have become a sort of family.”
Savoie says he has put a little bit of himself into every character. He started production on the hour long show early and is really pleased with how everything is coming together. The Gore Mis-Fits also has a common theme from Savoie: hope. “By writing plays now and being a part of the Fringe community, I’ve been able to move forward in my own life.” Savoie says he’s done a lot of soul searching in the last few years and wants to dispel some assumptions people have about the folks downtown and challenge some common labels. “Some of us know statistics, some of us know sports, and it’s fascinating. If you don’t take the time to talk to us, which a lot of Hamilton’s finest don’t, they just assume that we’re all sitting there getting high and drinking. And – no. I have a home to go to.”
Says Savoie: “The play speaks to the fact that togetherness helps with any problem. Disabilities are only there if you want them to be. We accomplish a great many things. I want to use all my abilities to make them shine. These people have the same feelings as everybody. In the group we push and encourage each other further. We became a family. Outsiders see them in a negative light. I want to show their humanity.”
Win two tickets to see The Gore Mis-Fits! Tell us Where The Heck in Hamilton this is. Email your guess to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your phone number please! And Ginny F. wins 2 tickets to The Gore Mis-Fits! Congratulations Ginny!
On The Fringe is written by Denyse Terry
Denyse is a local freelance writer.
A Fringe volunteer for the past 5 years, she has served as a member of the Board of Directors since 2011.
Her short story ‘Boom’ has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize: