L’important, c’est de poser des questions!

Toujours des questions.

Tintamarrathon 2011 was a remarkable journey.  Thirteen passionate theatre enthusiasts set forth to spread their message to people of all ages, demonstrating the important role theatre plays in society and in the building of communities. Celebrating diversity and embracing every challenge as it arose, we accomplished more in three weeks than we thought was possible.

3 weeks
21 days
504 hours
30240 minutes
1814400 seconds
3300+ spectators

Countless special moments and interactions that will remain forever engrained in our hearts and memories as we reflect upon this experience in the years to come.

Wow. There was something special about every audience, and something that excited us about every space we performed in. We had the privilege of meeting people from all over and of participating in excellent discussions about Bouffe’s themes as well as about the Tintamarre process and general life as a Mount Allison student.  The actors were always learning throughout this process, as new questions and points to ponder were brought forward after nearly every show.

After an amazing journey, it was difficult to find a way to wrap things up on here that could somehow be a fair representation of our experiences together.  We’ve decided that we’d like to share some of our favorite thoughts, memories, and moments of tour with you to finish things off.  Of course, it was impossible to recapture everything, but here are some of our reflections on highlights and favorite moments of the three weeks…

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Tour is now over and I am thrilled to have been a part of such a wonderful experience and to have shared it with an amazing group of people.  We made magic happen in so many different spaces, had engaging audiences, and quite the variety of questions from our audiences in our discussions after the shows were over.  This play not only entertained people, but it also gave me insight about all the foods that surrounds us every day.

It was great to live with people who were very much in tune with healthy eating, and I absolutely loved cooking with everyone in the kitchen.  We had an amazing variety of food because of different family backgrounds, allergies, and the fact that we were so aware of what we were eating especially after Bouffe!  Right after a long day on the road we would all come home to Cuthbertson and cook a delicious supper together containing salads, all the vegetables you can imagine, homemade bread (the best kind there is), and some kind of dessert afterward.  We loved to help each other and everyone pitched in whenever there was space in the kitchen, all the while happily singing with each other in harmony.  Cooking and learning new delicious recipes was an incredible experience and even after returning to my hometown, I have introduced many of these healthy recipes to my family.

Thank you to Alex, the cast of Bouffe, and all the audience members for making these past three weeks the most amazing, entertaining, educational and delicious three weeks I have ever had.

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Tinta-marrathon it certainly was.  I found this incredible experience
to be both extremely demanding and extremely rewarding.  Pendant mon voyage en train
j’ai pensé beaucoup aux trois dernières  semaines et aux personnes qui  les ont rendues si géniales et superfantasmagoriques!  I am slowly realizing how unique and longlasting the Tintamarrathon experience is. I feel like the most recognizable thing that I learned/experienced on tour is the magical ability of group creativity and collaboration to produce phenomenal things and also build momentum and energy!  C’est magnifique, ce qu’on peut créer ensemble si on a la direction et la compatibilité.

Something I loved particularly, and found absolutely beautiful, about Tintamarrathon, was all the music we created together all the time.  Singing and Orchestres and jamming and dancing to tunes in the car…  I always feel like creating music together is an incredibly good way of tightening a group and it makes me SO happy.  It is always especially magical when it is spontaneous, as it was much of the time with Tintamarre.  I also really value creating and eating food together as an exquisite part of community, and we did a lot of that in Cuthbertson house!

J’ai adoré la diversité de toutes les écoles et leur rapport avec nous.  Il y avait des élèves qui ont bien aimé Bouffe! dans chaque école mais les réactions et les questions étaient toutes différentes et fantastiques.

I will cherish the memories of the several big potlucks we hosted in Cuthbertson, so much happiness and good food and music.  And also the night we made a Bouffe! dinner to share with Alex and Margaret!  The amount of excitement and enthusiasm and how much we all got so into it was SO much fun and I will always remember!  The pinnacle moment was when we could see Alex and Margaret come out of their house and we went a little crazy because we were not yet fully prepared with a plan.  It was fabulous and hilarious and tremendous fun!

Merci beaucoup à tous les Tintamarriens et Tintamarriennes de cette année et des années passées qui ont contribué à cette collaboration magnifique de Tintamarre, et aussi un hyper-grand merci à Alex qui est toujours le ‘compositeur’ si doué et généreux.
Je vous aime tous, et je vais profiter de cette aventure, et l’esprit de Tintamarre restera avec moi très longtemps, toujours même!

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I think one of the moments that sticks out for me is in a high school one morning when a girl came to talk to us after the show. We didn’t have time for a discussion, so as the kids left we all sat on the edge of the stage and debriefed. Then, a student came up to us alone and asked us some questions about Tintamarre and Mount A. I don’t remember her name, but I do remember feeling really good about what we were doing, and how it could affect people like this girl on a personal level. It is feelings like that one that I think will stick with me the most.

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La fin du tournee…

Whirlwind. That is what I would call it. A delightful whirlwind that tucked us into parts of the Maritimes I have never seen, and that I fell in love with. There was so much to learn from each other, and from the students we met wherever we set up our colourful set!

It’s hard for me to sum up my feelings about the fantastic pocket of time we all shared these past weeks, but I can share a memory with you, a memory that is a little glimpse of what the Tintamarathon was for me…

It was the morning of our second day touring, our first show of our first three show day (!!). All the actors tumbled out of our vehicles, and trooped over to the front doors of Birchmount Elementary School. The sunlight was golden, it was a grand spring morning, and, quite spontaneously, we began to sing.

Sunrise, he bring in the morning,
Sunrise, he bring in the morning,
Scattering the rays all arou-wow-wowo-wow-wowo-wow…….

We were happy, excited and raring to go, and our voices kept building on top of each other, waking up, stretching out (a good thing to do before a show!). A teacher was walking just a little ways in front of us, and as we kept singing, she started to dance! She turned around and told us she wished we were there everyday, because this was the way to start out the day! Something about that little exchange sticks with me. It was just our second day of touring, but already we were all connected to each other, listening and collaborating. Once we reached the doors we waited for the “Go” from Alex, and unloaded our Bouffe world into the Birchmount gym. With such an energy between us, we could go into a new space happily, and build a relationship between the audience as we performed, to help us create the world of Bouffe.

Merci. Je vous embrasse tous, et j’ai hâte pour les aventures qui vous attendent! MERDE!!!

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It is impossible for me to pinpoint just one moment to share with you as, for me, the magic of tour started back in April when we were at the university call center, contacting anciens Tintamarrien(ne)s from all over the world. Alex always tells us that the Tintamarre community is far reaching over space and time, and that “once a Tintamarrien, always a Tintamarrien”. I never realized how much truth there was to this statement until I had the opportunity to chat with people who had graduated decades ago and still cherished their memories from Tintamarre as some of the highlights of their youth. It was an amazing experience to reminisce with these individuals, some of whom participated in the very first Tintamarrathon, and to find out where they are and what they are doing now. Strangers by all other means, but joined by one golden thread: Alex Fancy et Tintamarre. We talk about community amongst ourselves, but this extended community was amazing to see. As I am entering the last year of my degree (and my last year in Tintamarre), it was comforting to see that Alex’s ‘catch-phrase’ is true.

As for tour, there were many magical moments. One that stands out happened after a show at a school in Nova Scotia. After loading everything back into the van, we stopped to debrief in the beautiful sunshine before heading to our next show. Alex informed us of a discussion he’d had with a teacher following the presentation, where she informed him that a class of 26 special needs students were in the audience to see Bouffe. She was quite emotional, as she said she’d never before seen them so attentive for such a long period of time. This was incredible, as the students were so engaged in the show that we never would have known they had any particular challenges, and we had some really neat questions from that school. Many of the actors were teared up after Alex’s story, as it reminded us of the value in what we were doing.

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 Of all of my memories of Tintamarre, perhaps my favourite was our long Friday, May 6th. It was an excellent showcase of how Tintamarre can be entertaining for diverse audiences, when we performed for a high school in Amherst, NB, an elementary and high school in Oxford, NS and the PEI Food Security Network in Charlottetown with resounding success. The day was long, the longest that we had, and by the time that we got home from Charlottetown it was nearly 2 am. Undoubtedly, it was a day I will never forget.

It was one of those days that felt like a week, because so much happened. I was feeling really sick, and felt like I was not going to make it through the day, but the energy of the group powered me up (only to help me crash the next following days when we were resting). After feeling absolutely zonked, we managed to put on 3 very good shows. The highlight of the day itself had to come from Oxford, when two of the helpers that came to help us unpack had already read the script. I kept my eye on both of them during the show, and as they were following the script, I could see how much wonder filled their eyes as we performed. They let us know that before we arrived, they had been reading through the script, and one of the girls had the script on hand so that she could follow along when we were performing. Afterwards, I chatted with one of them and her happiness was something that made me totally content.
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The touring cast members have now gone their separate ways for the summer. Five of the twelve have graduated and have exciting adventures awaiting them. We couldn’t have imagined a better way to end the year than with Tintamarrathon 2011, and we’d like to thank all of the teachers and students at the schools we visited for making it all possible.  We’d also like to thank our supporters and les anciens Tintamarriens that helped us to raise funds for this experience; without your help, we could not have done this.

We’d also like to send the biggest of thank yous to Alex and his wife Margaret for providing us with this invaluable opportunity, and for the lovely meals we’d find on our doorstep after a long day on the road.

Je vous souhaite, à tous et a toutes, une très belle été! Merci beaucoup.🙂

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