By Jason Menard
A special outdoor performance of the critically-acclaimed London Fringe production in preparation for the Edmonton Fringe
Performance length: 35 minutes
Bring your own seats, blankets, snacks, umbrella
Meet and greet to follow
Thursday, July 17 at 7:00 p.m.
Rain or shine
Thames Park on Ridout St. in Wortley Village
Pay what you can (suggested donation $15)
At its best, dance can transcend language and experience. It can take you on a journey – be it one that transports you as far away as locations around the world, or one as close and ethereal as into your mind. To the viewer, dance offers a journey that requires only imagination and an investment of your body and soul.
For the dancer, bringing that journey to the masses is a labour of love. Though, oftentimes that journey requires a more pedestrian investment – simply dollars and cents to mount and stage a production.
For the women behind Breath in Mvmt.’s production of Grey Matter(s) their desire to bring this Forest City production to the City of Champions requires a minimum of $7,000 to get the six-person cast to Edmonton Fringe Festival for its 10-performance run from Aug. 14-23, 2014.
It’s a bare-bones expectation and while they’re looking for a hand in obtaining the funds, they most certainly don’t anticipate a hand out.
“We’re committed to earning this money,” explained director Melisa Boose, adding that while they’d appreciate donations, they’re focused on providing something of value to those who support the cause – including adding a local outdoor performance of the dance presentation.
“Even if we don’t raise the funds, we’re committed to going,” Boose added. “Even if we have to dig deep into our own pockets, we’ll find the funds somewhere.”
When you do the math, you can see that they’re not planning on making this trip into an all-expenses-paid trip to Alberta. All but two of the cast (one for work; one for family reasons) will be enduring a two-day, 12-hour bus trip to Edmonton. The funds raised must also cover food, accommodation, printing costs (for flyers), and other festival-related fees.
I recently had the distinct pleasure of sitting with Boose and her co-directors Jodi Hall and Jessica Ireland over a few cups of coffee. Their story, while not unique amongst the lives of Fringe performers, is nonetheless compelling and worth supporting. Too often, as patrons of the arts, we see little more than the production that’s before us. We may give thought to the rehearsal and time invested bringing it to stage. But there’s so much more – and for a fringe performance it often requires finding a way to bridge the gap between abundant passion and limited means.
It is a story of working to produce art not just for art’s sake, but for the performers. All three identify deeply with Grey Matter(s) (which earned rave reviews at the London Fringe Festival within the digital pages of our very own publication http://donaldsdish.ca/2014/06/08/london-fringe-grey-matters-dancing-on-eggshells-with-grace-energy-and-beauty/). It’s that personal attachment that fuels the power and pathos of the dance performance.
“We all needed this show. This show came from a really, really personal place. We all needed to execute it to move on from ourselves and our personal lives,” Boose explained. “For audiences they’re face-to-face with that and some face issues from which they have to move.
“That message I never want to lose and I would do this show for 10 more years.”
For everyone involved, the show is a personal journey.
“I do it first and foremost for my grandma,” Ireland added. “She used to dance, not formally because she never had the money to do it. But for her to know that I can dance for my whole life and to actually go somewhere else to dance would be very cool.
“I do it for friends of mine who, for whatever reason, want to dance so badly but can’t. I have a friend in Sarnia who I think about often when I do this. And for myself too, to work on being compassionate towards myself and the ugly part that sometimes comes out – to hopefully have audience members see that, recognize their own ugly parts, and maybe not beat themselves up so much about it.”
It’s a production that demands its viewers invest of themselves emotionally
“Because I am the oldest member in the cast [three of the cast members are 17 or 18; three are in their late 20s and late 30s], it’s selfish but it’s also altruistic, it shows that you can age within dance,” Hall added. “The audience that gives feedback to me is moms. I’ve had many come up to me after a show and say, ‘You represent us and you represent our story. And you can perform from a place that is a lived experience.’”
That attachment has already translated into support.
“I had someone say to me the other day, ‘I don’t have much to give, but I want you to take this,’” Hall explained. “I know they were being honest about not having that much, but that’s how much this performance touched her.”
In addition to financial support, the company has received other forms of assistance, including community donations to its planned weekend “garage sale.”
Boose, Hall, and Ireland are aggressively working towards raising funds:
- The aforementioned garage sale takes place on Saturday, June 5th from 8-12 p.m. at 31 Belgrave Ave. in Old South;
- Starting Sunday, July 6th, Boose will be teaching Karma Dance classes in Wortley on the Green;
- On July 24th, they will be hosting a coffee house and performances at a soon-to-be disclosed location; and
- An on-line GoFundMe campaign, accessible here (http://www.gofundme.com/aqf92k)
“All of our donations come with ‘incentives’,” Boose explained. “If all I can offer in return is that I can teach, I want to give something back to the community that supports us.”
The main thrust of the fundraising will be a July 17, 2014 return presentation of Grey Matter(s) in London at the Civic Gardens located at 625 Springbank Dr. Rain or shine, the outdoors production will go on.
“It’s payment by donation,” Boose added. “We’ve suggested a $15 donation, but if someone wants to come and can only afford to give $1 or $2, we’d love to have them there.
“We never want to turn anyone away from dance because they can’t afford it. It’s more important to us that they see the performance.”
The three are also planning on reaching out to local business interests for support.
Beyond the fact that these three women are driven to represent London on the national stage, fans of local art should be champing at the bit to support this venture. Unlike many who look outside the Forest City for their artistic future, Boose said she’s committed to leaving a lasting impact on her adopted city.
“So many people talk about leaving London for opportunities,” she said. “I’m not originally from London, but I’ve been here for 10 years and I love this community. I want to build something here for the long term.”
Supporting three talented and dedicated women looking to help London put its best foot forward through dance on the national stage? Helping bring Grey Matter(s) to the Edmonton Fringe Festival is truly a no-brainer.
For more info., visit https://www.facebook.com/events/651768401568243/
Jay Menard is a communications specialist by day, freelance man about the media by night — and father first and foremost. Born in Montreal, Jay has bounced between Montreal and London writing and broadcasting on all media: print, Web, radio, and TV. More known for business, news, and sports writing, Jay has always loved attending and writing about the arts, and brings an outsider’s perspective built upon a broad foundation of experience to his work.
We cover theatre and film….London, Stratford, Shaw, Petrolia and our plan is to cover the Toronto International Film Festival this September!
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Announcing New Fall Show: Hosanna
In Association With
London Community Players
by French-Canadian writer Michel Tremblay
Translated by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco
at the Procunier Hall
the first two weeks in November, 2014
(Image: Cover – Latest Translation 1991)
Mini synopsis: The story takes place in Montreal, Quebec and centres around the relationship between Hosanna, a drag queen dressed as Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra, and Cuirette, an aging “stud” and homosexual biker.
Cuirette: Dave Semple
Hosanna: Donald D’Haene
This production will be a collaborative effort…more announcements to come (if you would like to go on a list re: tickets, email email@example.com or call 519-434-5795 ext 1)
We can state the following are on board Team Hosanna:
Set/Lighting Designer: Mark Mooney
Stage Manager: Anne Mooney
Costume Designer: Whitney Bolam
Makeup Design: Charles Martin, Melanie Richards
Sound Designer: Lisa Desgroseilliers
Props Manager: Katrina Callahan
Poster Designer: Rod Keith
Videographer: Richard Martin
Dave Semple (Actor, Co-Producer)
Dave has been involved in the London theatre community for the last 25 years as an actor and director. He is an educator, singer/songwriter, martial artist, and, most importantly, husband and father. The idea for this show came to him while looking at old photos of past productions. Dave played the role of Cuirette 30 years ago at the University of Windsor in a student production and when he saw the photos he thought, “I’d like another shot at that one.” He immediately thought of Donald and said, “Let’s make this happen.”
Donald life’s been a stage whether on or off. A highlight off: wrestling a Moroccan midget in Amsterdam’s red light district – he won! None of his on stage antics can top that one but he thinks these came close: House of Frankenstein (Elgin Theatre Guild); Lend Me A Tenor (Port Stanley Festival Theatre); A Chorus Line (Purple Patches), Opening Night, 7 Stories, Moon Over Buffalo (LCP), Man In Chair, The Drowsy Chaperone (MTP). For his other stage career, drag persona “Michiel”, he won Mr. Halo 1987 impersonating Marilyn Monroe (Diamond Are A Girl’s Best Friend), top 10 Annie Lennox impersonation, Much Music, 2nd in Scene Magazine’s Marilyn look-a-like contest, and Interactive Male North America Grand Prize Drag Impersonator. He won a Brickenden for Best Musical with Jennifer Fagan (co-directing and co-producing), Brownstone B – Big, Bold & Beautiful! (2008), shared a Ballyhoo Brickenden with John Pacheco for PS Your Cat is Dead (2009), won Brickendens for Best Musical and Best Production with John Pacheco for The Producers (2010).
Mark is amazed (and dismayed) to realize he has been involved with theatre for over forty years. His work on Oklahoma! for Music Theatre Productions was a 2013 DISH nominee for lighting design. Other recent designs include Venue In Fur – Fountainhead Theatre Works/LCP, Skin Deep – Trish West, and Belles – Out of Sight. He has also lit shows for area schools and university theatre groups.
Mark also designs sets (Queen Milli of Galt, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, The Last Resort – LCP; Jenny’s House of Joy – Theatre Woodstock; Fox on the Fairway - Elgin Theatre Guild, Into the Woods – Theatre Kent), and directs (The Woman in Black, Plaza Suite, The Foursome, The Homecoming, and Ethan Claymore [2006 WODL award winner for best direction and production] – LCP; Fox on the Fairway – Elgin Theatre Guild; I Hate Hamlet – St. Marys Community Players). He also acts on occasion.
Mark is an adjudicator on the Theatre Ontario Talent Bank and also conducts workshops on acting and directing.
Anne has been working in theatre for almost 30 years. Highlights include Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman (WODL Best Actress 1995), Pierrette in Les Belles Soeurs (WODL Ensemble award 2002), Director of The Dining Room (WODL Ensemble award 1998), Director of The Last Resort (Dish Beatnik Award 2011) and Director of the world premier production of The Book Club (Ride a Wild Horse Productions). Stage management gigs include Marion Bridge (LCP), Stepping Out (LCP 2009), The Gondoliers (MTP 2009), Welfarewell (St. Marys Community Players 2011). She is the Community Theatre Coordinator at Theatre Ontario.
Hosanna marks the 20th production costume designed by Whitney, and she couldn’t be happier to be a part of this incredible love story. Special thanks Donald and Dave for inviting her to design the costumes for Hosanna. Other selected costuming credits include: The Matchmaker, Edward II, Goodnight Children Everywhere, Antony & Cleopatra, and The Three Musketeers. Whitney is the owner of The Costume Shoppe, and will be attending Fanshawe College this Fall for the graduate program, Technical Costume Studies.
Charles has been involved on and off with community theatre (acting, directing, stage managing, hair, make up, prop) since 1990 when he played The Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, Elgin Theatre Guild). He has been involved with two plays that have made it to the SouthWestern Ontario Drama League festival and acted in productions in LOAF and Fringe London.
Melanie is a two-time Dish Award winning, Internationally published, creative and passionate makeup artist. Her skills and affable personality provide clients a dependable and detail-oriented professional fully prepared to create any look required. She has the innate ability to bring out the natural beauty of her subject, no matter the gender, ethnicity, or character portrayal required. Melanie is also an accomplished face painter and FX artist. Melanie is beyond excited to join this amazingly talented cast and crew on what is sure to be a show to remember!
Lisa has been involved with the local theatre community since 2006. Lisa enjoys all aspects of stage production. In the past few years, Lisa has stage managed, operated sound and lights. Recent projects include stage management for Edith Spanner (Iz Productions 2014) and A Different Drummer (Fringe 2013). Sounds is where it all started for Lisa and recent projects include: Skin Deep by Trish West and Queen Milli Queen of Galt for London Community Players. If the sound cannot be found, Lisa can turn it around to something more profound.
Katrina is a London native who has been involved in London theatre for two decades wearing various hats (playwrighting, acting, stage managing, props). Katrina is happy to be part of Hosanna and looks forward to working with the team.
Richard Martin completed three years as a judge of London amateur theatre on both The Brickendens’ Core and Youth Panels.