Stand up for Justice

A song for your long weekend listening, from me and Sedition, or "Kindness Makes Me Cry Like Nothing Else":the JB McLachlan StoryGo to hear song Click through and play on the site.

From the Summerworks page (look for the face)

“This story I tell you is true, my friend / This story of a miner, a man they couldn’t bend. / In the annals of labour, there’s none stands as tall, / As the great J.B. McLachlan, who fought for one and all.” Jacob tells the story, start to finish, in that order. With the occasional break for a song, in this first taste of a new work.

VENUE

Factory Theatre Courtyard, Sat August 11 and August 15 The Great Hall, Sat August 18

SCHEDULE Sat. August 11, Afternoon Wed. August 15, Afternoon Sat. August 18, 4:00pm

August 11 and 18 Jacob will find you. Free (20 minutes) Tickets for Sat August 18 are Pay What You Can

JBMcLachlan 344 cropped

Surprisingly timely

I wanted to take some time on our day off yesterday to write a little more about the show. The pressures and mode of presenting at a festival mean that I spend a lot time yelling “Come see us” and I end up feeling disconnected from any interesting conversation about what we’re doing. At least online. We’re having great conversations after the show.

When Chad, Ame, Kilby and I decided to return to Perhaps in a Hundred Years we didn’t know if the work itself would feel dated. It was one of the mysteries of doing a show from 6 years ago.

Now, a week into the run, the show feels absurdly of the moment. As if we might have been out-of-time the first time we did it. It’s a show about friendship and tender resistance in isolation. It’s about three people, stuck in a time and place trying to make it through together.


When we made the show, Torontopia was in full swing. We weren’t a part of it - or at least nobody knew we wanted to be - but the energy was in the air. We were poor, in various states of unemployment, but it seemed possible that performances in little rooms could be a part of a new city and part of a new life for us.

We haven’t changed the material in the show (though we’re better at performing it) but things have changed around us.

Harper and Ford and the threat of a three level love-in have brought the hard-right turn in Western politics to Canada and Toronto; the world economy is falling apart, there are riots in England - not to mention all the things we don’t hear about. And there we are. Holding out and holding on together with a small group of audience members in a small, sweaty room, finding a way to sing together, be vulnerable and keep moving..

Of course an intimate performance in a summer festival in Toronto isn’t going to change voting patterns or fix tax systems or massive class inequality - that’s a different, important kind of work.

But it might do something - to the people in the room at the time. A step enroute to action must be that we come together, and come together with openness, pleasure and silliness and other important shared values.

I’m looking for both a community theatre and a populism I can stand behind. It can be hard to reconcile this search with the “alternative” theatre scene. But it’s present or can be, if we want it. Carl Wilson wrote a great piece for the Toronto Standard on “Torontopia in the Age of Ford” that I keep returning to, including comments by Dave Meslin and Darren O’Donnell.

These responses offer possibility - a possibility I also feel at Hub 14, performing the show and talk with people after.


Writing this post in the middle of the festival feels as scary as doing the show does each night. I fear it’s too grand, to “serious” “sincere.” Oh well. If I don’t start here, there’s nowhere we can go.

To start to talk about genres

Perhaps in a Hundred YearsI like genre pieces. which shouldn't be surprising. I learned to read and imagine in the worlds of pulp fantasy and slightly better science fiction. Even now, when I read fiction, it is usually some clear genre - sci-fi and fantasy have been joined by mysteries (the harder boiled the better), spy novels and historical fiction.

I'm not an expert in any of these genres, which is maybe why I don't identify them as influences as much as maybe I should. But writing about up-coming work recently, there were two science fiction projects (Upper Toronto and Perhaps in a Hundred Years [opening at Summerworks on Thursday]), one ghost story and I had just received an email about a hard-boiled radio show I had done 10 years ago. Dedicated to the Revolutions is a science vaudville - not a common genre, but I think still a genre.

Genre obviously gives a frame and some distance that allows for different stories to be told, for a different kind of thought experiment or "what-if." This observation is nothing new, but in theatre it's less talked about.

It's certainly not part of the critical discourse or "legitimate art"* theatre.

Why is that?

*I'm not even show what I mean by that, but I still think it holds true.

More coming on this subject. I would love to hear thoughts or get links.

Voices from the past about the future

cross-posted with the Summerworks blog

I’m riding around the city listening to voices from six years ago. The voices of Chad, Ame and I performing Perhaps in a Hundred Years at Cafe Esperanza in Montreal at the end of our Eastern Canada mini-van tour in the winter of 2005.

Over the years since, we’ve talked about bringing the show back. About wanting to spend that time together again, wanting people to see this thing that meant so much to us. And now we are. Original venue, original cast.

Perhaps is so optimistic, so gentle and vulnerable. Three friends alone in a room together, stuck in a heat wave, making a play about three friends alone in a room together, stuck in outer space. There’s a lot of music. There are interviews, aliens, Linus Pauling and tricks involving fire and tea bags. There’s an earnestness that is nerve-wracking to return to. It’s a little bit Godot, a little bit Dedicated to the Revolutions, a little bit freezie induced sugar rush. It’s the beginning of something.

We’re going to play it as a period piece, where the period is 2005 and a science fiction show made by three people fighting isolation in Toronto. A time probably not so distant from now.

- Jacob Zimmer, Artistic Director of Small Wooden Shoe

@Hub 14 - 14 Markham St.

Thursday August 4 — 7pm Friday August 5 – 9pm Saturday August 6 — 5pm Sunday August 7 — 5pm

Monday August 8 — 7pm Tuesday August 9 — NO SHOW Wednesday August 10 — 7pm Thursday August 11 — 9pm Friday August 12 — 7pm Saturday August 13 — 7pm Sunday August 14 — 3pm