Runaway Moon Theatre puppeteer Anna Fin shares the suitcase play The Moon Baby with her audience of children and accompanying adults during this year’s Unplug and Play week events. The show will be part of the upcoming Theatre on the Edge festival at Shuswap Theatre. (File photo)

Bold, brave and intriguing theatre lined up for Edge festival

Theatre on the Edge showcases local and visiting talent at Shuswap Theatre

By Barb Brouwer,

Contributor

Eclectic, provocative and often powerful, the fifth annual Theatre on the Edge (TOTE) at Shuswap Theatre offers seven productions over three days in July.

From Vancouver, Two Dollar Shoes Productions presents Woody Sed, a play about the life and times of Woody Guthrie and the songs he sang about them.

Vancouver actor Thomas Jones plays a cascade of 25 colourful characters in a true-to- life take on Guthrie, a prolific and provocative writer considered by many to be the father of the 1960s folk revival.

Jones’ interest in Guthrie was sparked by a 2006 documentary film and reinforced through reading his autobiography.

“He was the bridge between foundational American music that came from the British Isles and the modern songwriter who is commenting politically on what he saw,” says Jones. “His politics were very left-wing.”

Jones, who has performed in seven Caravan Farm Theatre productions and worked with Cathy Stubington at Runaway Moon Theatre, says Guthrie was Bob Dylan’s main influence.

Jones’ research on Guthrie’s life included working with Alan Lomax, a folklorist with the U.S. Library of Congress.

In the biographical Woody Sed, Jones portrays Guthrie’s wives, parents, teenaged bandmate, son Arlo, Dylan, and more.

“It would be a bit of a bio-flick if it were a movie,” laughs Jones.

Also from Vancouver, actor Stephen Lytton presents the powerful Can You See Me, a tour de force by one of Canada’s most compelling First Nations actors.

Lytton blends powerful narratives about what it means to grow up aboriginal and disabled and surviving residential school yet flourishing in Vancouver’s infamous Downtown Eastside.

A member of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation, Lytton is an actor with Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way, a writer and community activist.

The 64-year-old has cerebral palsy but refuses to let it define him.

“For me, I don’t see it as a disability; I was born with it and I grew up with it, but society sees it as a disability,” Lytton says, noting his role models were the doctors and hospital staff who worked with him and friends he has made along the way. “There is something greater in me. I don’t know what it is but I think it’s the people around you and the challenges you overcome.”

Lytton says Can You See Me is about an awakening – how people see another person without really “seeing” them, how falling down seven times means getting back up eight and the struggles to prove oneself as both an Indigenous person and one with a challenging illness.

Read more: Theatre on the Edge returns to Salmon Arm

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Also new to the festival, Vancouver’s Rapid Pitch Productions presents Big Sister, a comedy about the relationship between two sisters and what happens when one of them changes. Poignant and funny, Big Sister explores a world of evil siblings, fat shaming, and unlikely collaboration.

“Children and adults alike will love The Moon Baby, presented by Grindrod’s Runaway Moon Theatre,” says co-ordinator/producer Scott Crocker. “Puppeteer/actor Anna Fin tells the tale of the Moon Baby, who falls to Earth one night and finds herself on the end of Granny’s fishing line.”

This production features a special ticket price just for kids.

From Kamloops, TOTE festival alumni The Saucy Fops are back for their fifth year, with another sure-to-sell-out show filled with witty hilarious short plays.

Kelowna’s Fred Skeleton Theatre Company returns with Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, an ensemble experiment that changes with every performance as it presents 30 Plays in 60 Minutes. Each two-minute play is performed in random order with an interactive audience.

“An onstage 60-minute timer keeps everyone honest,” says Crocker. “It’s funny, weird, experimental, thoughtful and dynamic. TML has something for everyone.”

Read more: Childhood friend fears growing up in Theatre on the Edge offering

Read more: Marionette show part of Salmon Arm’s Theatre on the Edge

Salmon Arm Actors’ Studio will both open and close the festival with their presentation of The Lone Rider & The White Dog. The Lone Rider travels from one adventurous situation, to another. From being arrested for murder (she’s innocent of course), to being tracked down by the One Eyed Man on a moving train, to finding out from Chen that the White Dog is not a dog but a Guardian Lion, to being hunted down by a Lloyds of London investigator, and more.

Performances begin at at 3 p.m. Friday, July 19, with the festival running to July 21. Live music, great food and craft beer and wine will be offered at the popular Edge Club between shows. Tickets are $12 each, with special with great package deals available online at http://shuswaptheatre.com/tickets/ or at Intwined Fibre Arts at 161 Hudson Ave.


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The Salmon Arm Actor’s Studio opens and closes this year’s Theatre on the Edge with the play The Lone Rider and the White Dog. (File photo)

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