I’d like to share an article that came out last week in the Calgary Herald about my upcoming presentation of “Assassinating Thomson” at Lunchbox Theatre in Calgary.
The run in Calgary will be a great challenge for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the show was written to run 75 minutes with a short break and then an auction of the piece I paint during the show. Lunchbox Theatre runs during the lunch hour, so I have to get it down to 55 minutes total.
Whew. That’s a bit of editing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to do this and one idea I had was to start from scratch. Well, not scratch exactly, but I think I’ll go back to the roots.
Allow me to explain.
When director Ryan Gladstone and I first started rehearsals for the show back in 2013 I had no script. I showed up with my easel and a canvass and I told Ryan to sit down and I’d paint his portrait and tell him a story. He did (and he took notes). After I finished his portrait we went for lunch and talked about what I had just done. I wrote story points that worked on a big chalkboard. The next day, we did it again. And again. We invited his brother and sister in law to come and watch, and then more friends, and more friends, until it was ready to go on the road.
I had been painting portraits for about two years and had done close to 300 one-on-one sittings with friends, colleagues, and whoever was up for it. During the sittings I would most likely end up telling my own story of how I lost 91% of my eyesight and eventually became a painter, and I would most likely talk about my influences, including Tom Thomson. I like theatre that engages with a good story, a bit of mystery, and I LOVE theatre that makes me feel connected. Ryan and I wondered if maybe this idea; paint a portrait of the entire audience and tell a good story would be just the thing.
So, over the next month and a bit I’m going to go back to the roots of that idea. I’m booking one-on-one portrait sessions at the Tangled Art and Disability Gallery in Toronto, which will give me plenty of opportunity to connect with people and share what’s been going on in the world of paint for me, and maybe find some new jokes. I knew starting out that “Assassinating Thomson” would never be truly finished. It would always be changing and shifting to fit the space and the time. I’m really eager to get back at it and to share it with a new group of people.
Join me in Calgary in February, won’t you?
If you’re in Toronto January 3-23, I’ll be at the Tangled Gallery doing portrait sittings. Contact me if you’d like to have one done!
See you on the road