Day Two of interPLAY dawned early and sunny in my house, although my Intrepid Junior Bloggers had burnt the candle at both ends on Day One and decided that a day of extreme laziness was in order. So, I headed off to King Street solo in order to get my tickets for the day and get a second day begun.
The box office opens at ten and being a vaguely neurotic type (as in "will have a meltdown if I can't get in to see a show I want") I like to be there when it opens. The only problem with this is that while the box office opens at ten none of the rest of interPLAY opens until 11, and none of the street performers start until then, either. Fortunately I had picked up a coffee on the way so I settled in with it and a newspaper to await the doors opening for my first event of the day - the play "One Man Macbeth".
People, "One Man Macbeth" is yet another interPLAY must-see. Jeff Hoffman brings both a pathos and humour to Macbeth that I certainly never expected. There are elements of comedy and tragedy, drama and downright silliness. There were moments that evoked Monty Python sketches, and at one point when he was beating a small rag doll on stage with a Nerf sword (to raucous audience laughter) I realized there was a delicious absurdity to it all. Jeff is a stunning actor, with incredible range and a gift for involving his audience in his vision (including "stabbing" my companion at the play, Russell Thomas, who was cast as "Duncan" in a very impromptu way). I walked away from Macbeth both deeply impressed with Jeff's talent, and still giggling about certain ridiculous moments in the play (the witches in particular are a hoot!). Look, I didn't know Macbeth could be funny, either, but Jeff Hoffman did, and he does it well by both staying true to Shakespeare's vision and yet also incorporating his own in a way that leaves you a bit breathless from laughter and surprise. Go get your tickets for this one, people!
I must admit that like my junior blogger crew I was bit weary from so much interPLAY on day one so I headed home for a bit to rest and take care of some errands. Last night, though, I returned to Keyano for an event much anticipated, and for which I had invited a group of friends. The event? The Aerial Angels Naughty No-No Show!
Now, if you are an interPLAY fan like my family then you may be familiar with the Angels. They have been visiting interPLAY for years now, and they do a delightful street performing act involving aerial hoops, aerial silks, fire, and whips. They are a collective of wonderfully talented, inspiring, and beautiful women, and my daughter has adored them since the moment she first laid eyes on them. She even attended The Starfish Circus Camp associated with the Angels a few years ago, and since then has quite likely become their number one Fort Mac fan. Now, their street show is a family act, suitable for children, but the Angels have another side. A naughty side. A very, very, naughty side, which comes out at night for their adults-only burlesque show - and people, what a show it is!
I brought with me my husband, best friend, a friend originally from England, and a new friend from Ireland who is now working in Canada. When I told them about the show I explained I'd never seen it, but couldn't imagine how a burlesque show involving whips, fire, and acrobatic contortionists could be anything less than spectacular - and I was right.
The Angels combine confidence, humour, beauty, talent, and burlesque into a show that takes your breath away from start to finish. Audience participation is crucial, and at the end of the night the stage is littered with various articles of clothing - only some of it belonging to the Angels. I'm not going to give anything away, but if you go do wear more than just sandals, shorts, and a T-shirt - trust me, if you get called on stage you'll be glad you took this advice.
The show isn't vulgar - actually, it's anything but. It's sexuality in a healthy, confident, honest way, with humour and jokes (and okay, whips and fire, too). You find yourself sore from both laughing at their jokes and gasping with amazement at their incredible talent on the aerial silks and hoop.
One audience participant, a young man named Marty, will likely stick in my memory for a very, very long time as the poor young man was enlisted for help in the whip portion of the act, and, as Isabella, the Angels troop leader, said it was like molesting a kitten. When the whip came out poor forlorn Marty, standing there in his underwear, socks, and t-shirt, looked imploringly at his friend in the audience to save him from these obviously crazy women, but the Angels managed to convince him to stay until the very end. The crowd was going crazy, chanting "Marty! Marty!", and the poor young man probably woke up this morning still wondering what kind of insane tsunami tore through his life last night. But I bet he's never going to forget the experience, either.
The Naughty No-No Show is X-rated, and this is definitely an adult show. There is suggestive language, definitely suggestive situations, and mild nudity (and Isabella, as a woman of a "certain age", all I can say to you for your bravery and confidence during the final act on the silks is "thank you" - you are an inspiration to women like me everywhere, and while my daughter adores you, so do I!). People, the Naughty No-No Show runs tonight, too, and this is my vote for best act of interPLAY. You need to see it for the laughs, the beauty, the talent, the skill - and if burlesque is your thing, then you need to see it for that, too. Aerial Angels - you are true geniuses of the performing world, and inspiring role models for women everywhere! (Now, people, go get your tickets for their show tonight, and thank me later, okay?)
After the Angels ended I took my crew (including my now dazzled, overwhelmed, and slightly speechless Irish and British friends, who happen to be men) over to the beer gardens to see Fozzy. Now, metal is not my thing - and neither is wrestling, so this band being led by wrestler Chris Jericho didn't mean much to me - but it did to the small but very enthusiastic crowd attending the concert. I haven't seen that much head-banging action since the 80's, and it was lovely to see so many young adults taking in the event. The sheer enthusiasm and worship of the crowd delighted me as I love seeing people appreciate music and the arts even if it happens to be a style or form I don't personally embrace, and while I can't say I am a Fozzy fan I am thrilled to have been there to see so many Fort Mac youth rocking the night away.
I am proud to say that my crew pretty much closed down the beer gardens, leaving only when it was clear that if we didn't leave soon they would kick us out as they had stopped serving and were starting to clean up. We walked off into the night, chatting about burlesque and wrestlers, beer gardens and interPLAY. Once again it was a full day of merriment, and once again I woke up this morning tired and yet so profoundly grateful to live in this community. interPLAY this year has undergone yet another transformation and revival in it's new home on King Street, and I am so pleased to be a part of it.
Today, I am off to interPLAY yet again, junior intrepid bloggers in tow as they wish to involve me in laser tag (I've been warned to wear "sensible shoes", which I find an oxymoron, but I digress), and I may take in another play. I also plan to be at the interPLAY Film Festival tonight to see the results of the 48-hour challenge and the awards, and I cannot wait to be a part of that, too. Fort Mac, it's rainy and grey today - but the spirit of interPLAY, and this community, cannot be dampened by a little rain. Come on out to interPLAY and join me in seeing what this city has to offer. Fort Mac - it's the last day of interPLAY - and I don't "hope" to see you there. I expect it!