Saturday, 29 June 2013

5 Minute Fringe + One More (Sour Grapes has a WHAT on the poster?)

Due to a technical glitch with our phone lines, Allan Turner couldn't participate in the live recording of my 5 Minute Fringe showcase. So here is Allan's  pitch to get you to go see Sour Grapes. By the way, when I asked these questions, I hadn't scrutinized the poster. I saw a cute dancing coyote, but somehow I missed the (ahem!) appendage. Now I can't stop seeing it! Thanks, Allan (in more ways than one).

donna g: "Life's a vineyard and fuck you." That's a bold tagline? 

Writer, Actor, Allan Turner

Allan Turner: The play’s called "Sour Grapes", an expression that comes from the Aesop Fable where a fox desperately tries to get at some grapes, but can’t, so goes away muttering, “Probably sour grapes anyway.” When we want something we can’t have, we lie to ourselves that we didn’t want it anyway. This play is about a suicide survivor grappling with a second chance at life. As far as he’s concerned, not only are the grapes sour, but so is the whole vineyard--because life is a disappointment, he’s convinced himself he doesn’t want to be alive anyway.

donna g: Your cast includes a Coyote, a clown, a doctor and a spider? Without the tagline, this reads like a lineup for a FRINGE KIDS show, but there is a mature language warning. Hmmm...Why should adults pay $10 to see these characters?

Allan Turner: Two words: AIR CONDITIONING. This is definitely not a play for children. There’s a giant cock on the poster. It’s a comedy, but a dark one that deals with suicide, nihilism, chaos theory… There are a lot of big ideas and heavy themes. All of this is communicated through the mask of myth. Nowadays, a myth is often assumed to be the same thing as a lie, as in, “That’s NOT TRUE, that’s a MYTH.” Yes, myths aren’t meant to be taken literally, but they are metaphors used to convey truths. In fact, using metaphors makes it easier to talk about truths that would otherwise be difficult to address. It is like performing in mask. It might sound contradictory, but a mask doesn’t hide you, it frees you to show yourself.

donna gYou mention the "mask of myth".  Will the characters be wearing masks in this play, as they sometimes do in Trikster plays?

Allan Turner: None of the characters wear actual physical masks, but we are inhabiting the masks of these characters Coyote, Clown, Spider, and so on. These are very old characters, archetypes that reappear in many cultures the world over. Clowns have existed in every culture there ever was and even in non-human animals. Wild gorillas have been observed clowning. Coyote and Spider, or Iktomi the Spider-Man, are First Nations Tricksters. There’s another Spider Trickster, Anansi, in West African lore. Aesop’s Fables were jokes, and at parties, the aristocracy competed to see who could remember more and be the wittier. I picture a bunch of Greek Oscar Wildes standing around telling each other about the Fox and the Grapes. So you see, animal names does not have to imply kid stuff. Even if I were to say Bugs Bunny, there again, not for kids. Not originally. Bugs was created by a team of brilliant professional artists who were just trying to make each other laugh. Bugs connected with a worldwide audience of adult moviegoers because he was an ingenious spin on the familiar Trickster archetype. When I say Trickster, don’t think evil. If anything, he’s amoral. He is mischievous, sure, but also a highly regarded hero. And also a fool. Bender on Futurama is a great current example.

donna g: Sour Grapes includes audience participation. Oh, oh! Should the inhibited sit near the back of the theatre?

Allan Turner: Don’t worry, no one will be pulled onstage and I’m not going to hypnotize anyone into thinking they’re a sexy chicken. But even though I’m not wearing a nose, I am a clown, and this is no-fourth-wall theatre. That means there’s no imaginary boundary between you in the audience and us on stage. It’s a tightly scripted show so we’re not out improvising among you, but we know you’re there. We know we’re performing for you, even if you are sitting in the back. Actually I know I just said I’m a clown, but more accurately, this time out, I’m a bouffon. I don’t want to start using too much jargon but I can sum it quickly by saying a clown loves you, a bouffon does not. But if it makes you feel any better, I promise I’ll be more afraid of you than you will be of me. Also there’s a girl clown and she’s cute.

donna g: One final question, how are you feeling about this production that you've written and will be acting in?

Allan Turner: I’ve written a play that combines all these passions of mine with the very serious subject matter of my experience as a suicide survivor. And it’s a madcap comedy. I’ve described it as Waiting For Godot with The Marx Brothers. Another way is Nietzsche Goes Looney Tunes. Having Bruce Hunter as director has been a phenomenal experience. He’s a legendary comedic performer and director and after working so closely with him these past few weeks, I can say his esteemed reputation is well deserved. And I’m very lucky to have such an outstanding cast. Chloe Payne, Dave McKay, and Darryl Pring have given it their all. We’re going to make you laugh, and laugh a lot, and then we’re going to leave you thinking.

Toronto Fringe Festival
July 3 - 14, 2013

Sour Grapes poster

Show length: 60min.
Warnings: Mature Language, Audience Participation
This performance is not accessible for non-English speakers
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama

Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace

July 05 11:00 PM

July 07 04:00 PM

July 08 08:45 PM

July 09 04:30 PM

July 11 07:00 PM

July 12 06:15 PM

July 13 12:00 PM

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

June 21 is Global Screening Day in Support of ALS

I AM BREATHING in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver as part of a Global Screening Day to raise funds and awareness of ALS/MND. Diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease) at the young age of 33, new father Neil Platt documents his last months in order to leave behind a record for his infant son. You will be moved by Neil's life and motivated to help find a cure for this terrible disease. A portion of the ticket sales from the Toronto screening (6:45pm at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema) will be donated to ALS Canada. There will be a director Q&A via Skype after the screening.
Calgary: Globe Cinema at 5:00pm
Vancouver: Vancity Theatre at 6:30pm
About the film and the global screenings:
About ALS:

Monday, 10 June 2013

What Are You Seeing at Toronto Fringe 2013?

The Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival is coming July 3 -14, 2013, and I am in the midst of planning my annual 5 Minute Fringe Showcase. I am knee-deep in emails from shows all vying for a spot in this year's line up. With only a one-hour show, I am limited to selecting 10 shows, each of which will have 5 minutes to tell you why you should spend your ten bucks to go and see their productions. With 148 shows that include dramas, comedies, musicals, solo shows, indoor venues, outdoor venues...there's a lot to consider, and only ten spots to select. Stay tuned to see who gets chosen and the air date for this Fringe special.

5 Play and 10 Play packages are on sale now, with general tickets sales starting on June 17th. 416-966-1062 or visit

I was reviewing past coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and realized that as good as it is to use social media, I m...