[photo: Brandon Oakes as “Clem” by Juan Camilo Palacio]
our time at the Fort started off with an adventure. the truck for our workshop set was pushed into place by 7 stubborn and generous humans as co-director/founder andy moro steered our one tonne friend along its way. the second day, actors joined and it was clear our workshop would be a summer art camp to be remembered. day by day, an empty events tent filled up and the world of The Ministry of Grace came into view.
ben was our loyal canine companion for several days. he took to the presence of groundhogs as keenly as we did. ARTICLE 11 provided lunch for the hard working lovelies, and the highlight was, without question, fish tacos from Pancho y Emiliano. each artist approached the work with a unique take, and each contribution seemed to jive with very few hitches. the hitches were handled gently and became learnings.
to our delight, costume designer jeff chief created three original dresses for the show. patti and lindsey were transformed into 1950s church-going ladies. brandon was an adorable life-sized teddy bear of himself in his overalls “I was raised in these, man.” and after many auditions, the perfect jacket was cast to suit up the tall and lithe mr. mccarthy.
andrew penner joined us after his other tent show closed (congrats http://selfconscious.ca/) and brought with him some very twisted and tasty guitar stings and hymns. penner and moro commandeered the fabbed up mini booth (Fort Andrews) and jammed on the performance throughout rehearsal’s second week. all the while, brittany ran (cycled) like a banshee, assuring our every need was met AND organized.
we lucked out on weather, with the torrents pouring down only on the “day off” which forced moro to work only nine hours on site that day. of course that brought him home for work on video design.
the greatest gift of the work at the Indigenous Festival @Fort York was, perhaps, the audiences who came to the three showings. our first evening was a beautiful chaotic festival crowd. young children running to and fro, including the boys of craig lauzon battling with swords as a sideshow alternative – very fierce. our late night show brought our most devout and focused crowd, stolidly enduring the rapidly declining temperatures in the tent and remaining until the bloody end to applaud madly. our final evening was a dream audience. what better can one do than to have spontaneous applause when the antagonist takes a shovel to the head? three nights of standing ovations, and a brilliant opportunity to make changes to the work for each presentation made the whole undertaking a true-art-love experience.
those of you who came out, thank you for doing so. those of you who asked when you can see the show in its full splendour, please stay posted. we will be back, replete with shovels, song and superstars.