Monday, 26 October 2015

I'll Fly Away

         The small renovated church sits quietly, waiting to fill with tears and laughter.  The lights are dim, but bright enough to see.  The burgundy velvet seats harken back to a time when communities gathered together to share in talent and togetherness.  Their elegant design along the sides of the seats, and their wooden backs echo through time to the decades when design was more important than just cost.  The Marble Arts is about to brim over with talent.
    I feel like sometimes I sound like a broken record, but sometimes records break at a great part of the song, today's kids would say that their ipod's stuck on replay.  I have chosen to live in a beautiful part of rural Ontario.  The village I live in is surrounded buy rolling aces of farmland.  The people in my community are good, hardworking people.  I love my little piece of the universe.  I exchanged the hustle and bustle of city life.  Part of that exchange was with the knowledge that I could / would  return to the closest city for material goods, and I could make the trip to Toronto for culture.  As it happens the last part of my self made compromise was unnecessary.   The city came to me, in a sense.  We have Tweed native, Tim Porter.

    Tim Porter has brought an amazing original Canadian production to Tweed.  I'll Fly Away was written by Tricia Black, Joel MacMeeken and Tim Porter.  It takes place in a time that seems so foreign to us now, a time when radio ruled and television was just in it's inception.  The story tells the last days of The Barn Door Country Classic Jamboree, but more it shows the dynamics of the three recently parentless Dawson sisters and their family dynamics.  There is that too familiar static of sibling rivalry, the fight for top dog.  There is that heavy burden of continuing the family legacy.
Riley's dance school got to perform
in the play too.  Doing a little
Hoe Down.
    I have now seen the show three times and could easily see it again.  It was excellent. Tim put together this amazingly talented cast of professional actors (and a few really talented young locals).  The three female leads Sara Wilkinson, Sarah Strange and Sarah Higgins had the most stunningly beautiful voices, and the harmonies sent shivers.  Joel MacMeekin stole the show with his character Maverick and his impeccable comic timing.  I will admit I have a very LARGE soft spot for the Lovely Little Lady Lullabies / The Privit sisters because my Grace played Daisy.

Grace and Tim
     Five years ago a young almost fresh out of college Tim Porter began to teach acting classes at the newly renovated Marble Arts Church.  At that time my Grace was painfully shy.  She could not bring herself to even speak to her teacher at school.  We knew that little shy girl had a big voice, and was an extravert cruelly trapped in the body of an introvert.  We really pushed an extremely scared and reluctant Grace to take Tim's class.  It was the best thing that we ever did for her, and the beginning of her big voice being shared.
    It seems crazy that five years have flown by so quickly and that young actor teaching classes would go on to create his own theatre group first named The Iana Theatre, and now Tweed and Company to better reflect it's and his beginnings.  Tim has gone on to tour the country professionally.  Our painfully shy girl, is still very, very shy, but is now able to belt out her big voice for hundreds of people without batting an eyelash.  She is now a vocal music major at a local high school for the arts.  It was so amazing to me as a parent to see her come full circle and have Tim, not just as a teacher but now as her director in a professional play.  To say that I am proud of Tim and his amazing accomplishments would be an understatement.  To say that I am proud of my Grace would be the understatement of the century!
Grace and Joel

Grace and Abby
     Last night was closing night for I'll Fly Away at the Marble Arts Church.  It ran four amazing evenings.  Those days will be forever a beautiful memory for Grace, and for me.  The cast was so beautiful, like a family to all of the three young girls in the cast.  They were everything that cast should be, kind and supportive.  This morning the first words from a very tired girl's mouth was "I'm really going to miss doing that show.  I'm sorry it's over." 

Grace and Katie

Grace and Sara

Grace and Collin
     So now the show is over, our evenings are once again our own, well as close to "our own" as we will get with four kids with busy extra curricular activities.  Part of me is glad for the return to normalcy, but a big part of me is sad the show is over.  I loved going to the show and marveling that this young local boy, is so talented.  I loved sitting in the audience and becoming lost in the excellent story every single time I went to see the show.  I loved looking around the audience to see if anyone saw me crying.  I will miss seeing my little shy girl's big smile up on that stage and seeing that joy oozing out of her.  I will miss the hauntingly beauty beautiful songs those three AMAZING Sarah's shared every night.  I will miss seeing Joel up on that stage like a deer caught in the headlights.  I will miss Collin's spitting out his drink and his "Just Wait a Tick".  I will miss Katie's crazy stage momma.  I will miss it all.  It was the best play that Tim has done to date, and I have seen most of them.
Grace and Sarah Higgins

Grace having fun with Sarah Strange

    If there are any big time fancy smancy producers reading this, please give Tim a call.  This is a wonderful production, that deserves to grace the stage again and again.  This is a play beautifully written that honestly in my opinion deserves to win an award for writing.  It was so very good, and I really hope to see it again.

The Whole Cast