And just a whole Helluva lot faster than it came, it’s all over. Fresh Meat Festival 2014 is a wrap, or expired, or whatever the correct metaphor/simile would be, and there’s nothing to do but look back on what went down (before we start looking forward to next year, that is). It was a wild weekend for me, and I’ll start with a quick recap of the shows I done seen and enjoyed from some amazing artists I’m proud as punch to call pals.
There was DOUBLE DUTY from FG[squared], written and directed by Laura Hall and starring the comedy triple crown of Brooke Cameron, Des Warmington and Jordan Hancey. A merrily goofy tale of sinister plots of intergalactic war and rather ambitious janitors trying to save the day. Features one of the best spit-takes of all time.
Then came Seedling Theatre and GARDEN IN THE SKY, a touching and funny story from creator/star Lily Sutherland about a 12 year old girl who neither understands the rapid changes in her life, nor has any intention of surrendering to them without a fight. Beautiful stuff.
May Can Theatre threw a very special party with TUSK TURNS ONE!, and turned in one of their most vividly theatrical and effective pieces to date. A seriously great show, and one I hope they’ll return to or remount someday.
Saturday night saw some special guest stars in the mystery performer slot, and we were treated to not one but two performances, as local heroes ANDY MASSINGHAM and TIM OBERHOLZER delivered wildly different pieces based on the same inspiration items supplied to them only 3 days previously. The end result was an alien transvestite musical from Tim (who clearly has ROCKY HORROR on the brain for some reason…) and the unforgettable onstage transformation of Andy Massingham into Leonard Cohen. Brilliant. And kudos once again to the first week shows, Backpack Theatre’s MY CARDBOARD LIFE, Cart Before the Horse’s ME AND MY MONSTER, Will Somers and Dave Brown with FORSTNER AND FILLISTER PRESENT: FORSTNER AND FILLISTER IN: FORSTNER AND FILLISTER, Thunk! Theatre’s smash.bam.kapow., and Traced Theatre’s THE BIG WEED. Delights and wonders all.
And then there was that OTHER show.
With my wonderful and awe-inspiring teammates Madeleine Hall and Jodi Morden, the premiere show from Strange Visitations, FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING came about on Thursday night, the second show of the evening. More than five weeks of steady rehearsals all came crashing down into one 20 minute onstage explosion, and we would finally find out if anything we were doing would click with people at all, at all. Well, I’m happy to say that yes, things did indeed click. In fact (or at least, in my potentially skewed opinion), the response to the show that night, and on the following two performances, exceeded all my hopes and childish little dreams. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic, and I could not be prouder of what our gang brought to the Fresh Meat table. On behalf of us all (including our onstage personas Simpleman, Bruiser, Mystic Flower, Muscles Krenzer, Puff Mommy, Sexy Dreamgirl, Dreamy Nerdgirl, Hannah Gloriana, Helena Handbasket, Dancing Queen, Bonnie N.Clyde and Datebot 5000), a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out and supported not only us, but the entire beautiful DIY initiative that is the Fresh Meat Festival. Almost teared up a bit on closing night when Andy Massingham shared a reminiscence about the origins of the event with Jonah Allingham and the OTS. Proud to have helped keep the connection going this year.
Thanks also to the amazing FM stage management team of Katherine Dermott and Connor Price-Kelleher, who were fantastic and professional all the way through, never missing a beat. Plus the entire Fresh Meat production team, sponsors, mentors, the whole mob of’em. I already miss the vibe, and look forward to whatever comes next in my theatrical life. For right now it’s back into rehearsals for Chamber Theatre’s 2015 production of Eugene O’Neill’s THE HAIRY APE, and plotting out a thing or two on the side and in the future in the meantime. Has the world seen the last of Faster then the Speed of Dating..? Time will tell. But thanks again, Ottawa (and Toronto, in the case of the amazing Nadine Thornhill who drove all the way over just to catch our show…love ya!), it’s been tremendous, it’s been heartwarming, and hopefully it’s been just the beginning. Ding!
Peace, Love and Soul,
Kevin Reid (and Winston)