Friday, 25 May 2012

The IANA Theatre Company

Tim Porter standing in front of the Marble Church Arts Centre

    The first time that I ever met Tim Porter was in the late fall of 2010.  He was teaching a children's theatre program in Tweed.  I walked in to the Marble Church and saw this young guy with this curly hair and this open and trust worthy face.  Tim Porter helped my Grace to unlock her inner extrovert that was a prisoner of the outer introvert.  When my Gracie started that program she was too shy to even speak.  By her second set of classes she was singing a solo part.  It's amazing.  Now my Gracie has sung all by herself for her school talent show to an audience of hundreds of people, and has been asked to sing O' Canada for Tweed's Canada Day celebrations.  She has come so far, and that credit in large part goes to Tim Porter ( and to Grace for doing something she loved even if it was scary).  
    When Tim did not come back to teach the drama class in Tweed, Grace and I were devastated.  I just kept thinking if he could get her to do that in such a short length of time, what else could he teach her.  I became like a stalker of poor Tim Porter.  I would email him asking if he was going to be teaching anywhere in our area.  I'm sure that although he gives me a friendly kind smile he's really afraid of me.  "Oh God, it's that crazy woman who is going to ask if I could teach her kid.  Quick someone hide me!"
I knew in my heart that he wanted bigger and better things.  Don't get me wrong, I wanted Tim to do bigger and better things, I just wanted him to do great things all the while teaching my shy little child.
    When I had finally extinguished that torch that I had held up high in the hopes that Tim would quit his IANA theatre gig and come home and teach, I decided it was time to support him.  Tim founded the IANA Theatre Company in 2007 as a way to create and promote original Canadian musical theatre.  I love musical theatre.  I don't get to Toronto to see the plays the way I would like to.  I am the mother of four kids, I don't have the time or the money to go to Toronto more than every few years to see a play.  Now I was beginning to get excited, what if I didn't have to go to Toronto to see a play, what if it didn't have to cost a week's worth of my husband's wages?
    For Mother's Day I bought a ticket for my mother, and a ticket for myself to go and see Stalkyard Hurts.  Stalkyard Hurts is a musical about a highly successful band from the early 1990's.  It is about their rise and their fall, and reunion 15 years later.  The play is done in a mockumentary style.  Sounded like fun.  
    Fast forward to Thursday, May 24.  Mom and I had already discussed outfits.  We were very excited to see the play.  The play started at 8:00 p.m.  I told Mom I would pick her up at 7:15.  I did not want to have to fight for a parking spot, or get bad seats.  I picked Mom up at 7:15 and off we went.  There was only one other car in the parking lot, strange.  We decided to wait in the car and chat.  Better early than late.  I was beginning to wonder if I had screwed up the dates.  I checked my ticket again, no the date was right, strange.  Another car pulled up beside us five or ten minutes later.  They went in.  It's uncomfortable to be the first ones there, so now we weren't.  Mom and I decided to go in, I did want to get a good seat, and it was o.k. because we weren't the first one's there.  We walked to the doors, only to discover that the people who had come in after us were helping to take tickets at the door... we were the first ones there.  The doors opened at 7:30 and we found good seats after saying hello to Tim (and asking if I could take his picture for this blog, now he really thinks I'm a stalker).
    It turns out that we had no need to worry about good seats because there were maybe twenty people in the theatre.  8:00 the play started.  I had high expectations.  At first I did not know what to think really.  I didn't think I liked it.  How could I have told Tim that I was writing a blog about his play, the play that he had helped to write?  I could feel the waves of panic taking over as I raced through what I could say that was positive.  As my mind was racing, someone behind us was laughing just a little too loud, and just a little too much.  What could I say that was positive?  As the play progressed my panic diminished ever so slightly.  I stopped hearing that too loud laugh.  I became enraptured with this extremely talented group of performers.  The girl who played Carmen (Danielle Leger) sounded like the love child of Meatloaf and Melissa Etheridge.  Man that girl has some rock and roll pipes.  She would not be the least bit out of place fronting a rock band.  Then there was Louis (played by Michael Colin Jones).  His voice was soft yet strong it would not have at all sounded out of place singing opera.  He had such a beautiful voice that was full of control.  Byron the boy who developed an English accent at age 5 (played by and co-written by Justin Collette), I could not take my eyes off of him.  I found myself straining to see him in every act.  He had this easy lovely voice and when he sang I did not want him to stop.  Then there was Maggie (Karine Berube) here was a girl who was beautiful enough that she could easily be on movies or on t.v. with a voice that was just as beautiful.  The last of the main performers was Tori (Tricia Black).  She had the most amazing comic timing.  I expected her to be the funny one, and then she sang.  I kept waiting to see angel's wings bulging under her costumes.  She had this glorious voice.  This talented cast could easily be in any Mivish Production.
    The play that I didn't think that I liked became that play that I was lost in.  I found myself tearing up at the end, looking around sheepishly to see if anyone had caught me.  When it was over I wanted more.  I wish that they could have just stood there and sung to me for a few more hours.  The music was amazing.  The song "Love" which had perhaps 6 words to it was by and far my most favourite.  I wish that they had a cast album.  What an amazingly talented cast!  What an amazing Mother's Day gift to me!
    As we were leaving I asked the cast if I could get their picture.  A genuinely nice group of people.  You would not expect people who are that talented to be that nice and humble.  They stopped what they were doing so that they could gather for a picture.  As we were leaving my Mom told me "I would definitely see that again!  When's the next one?"  To her I smugly replied, "I already have my tickets."

Karine Berube, Justin Collette, Michael Colin Jones, Tricia Black, and Danielle Leger
The amazing cast 

    Many of the same cast members will be back for the July production of Godspell (the musical about the Gospel of Mark set in modern times, almost entirely done in song).  You owe it to yourself to come and see this amazing group of performers and their amazingly talented director.  Godspell runs July 5 - July 14.  Tickets are only $20.00 for adults and $15.00 for students and seniors.  
    It is a crime that theatre was not sold out. It is a crime that there were so few people there.  We need to use it or risk loosing it.  We are so blessed to be offered high quality entertainment at a very reasonable price.  Try driving to Belleville to the Cinneplex Theatre for $20.00.  You'll pay $20.00 for the gas alone.  We need to support this theatre company.  If they thrive, our community will thrive.  It will bring in tourism which will help our restaurants, our stores, our motels it helps Tweed.

For more information about the IANA Theatre Company visit their website

1 comment:

  1. Christopher and I went to see the show again last night, it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!!
    The show was even better last night, on the closing night. I sure wish that the cast would record a show album .... hint hint hint.