We have had a whirlwind week! It’s a reminder for those of us that have toured before that no two audiences or schools are alike, and that uniqueness keeps us continually on our toes. Although we’ve got a lot to catch up on in this blog, il faut que nous partageons nos experiences à chaque école qu’on a visité.
We started our tour at Pugwash District High School last Thursday and it was the perfect way to begin our tour. We walked in to see pictures of the scenes and characters drawn by students and posted in their gymnasium. There was a drawing of La Figure de Proue reinterpreted as a horse head on Le Patineur, and many other cool and imaginative art works that anticipated our show. It was amazing to see that the students and teachers had engaged with our story so much before we actors ever arrived — we felt so welcome at Pugwash, and this energized us to perform the first show fearlessly AND to have a great workshop afterwards. Superfantasmagorique!
Next up, we went to Milford, NS to the Riverside Education Centre. This was our first two show day and we performed in a cafetorium. One highlight of our experience in Milford was the audiences’ responses to the way we would freeze in mid-action during school bells, of which there were at least three over the two shows. Every time we “came back to life” after a bell or announcement finished, we could hear their murmurs and laughter but also their increased attention to what we were doing. I guess it doesn’t seem very impressive to us because it’s just what we do. Yet for our audiences, it’s unexpected and gives them a glimpse of how theatre can adapt to life, which makes it so delightful.
After Milford, we had a weekend before our next show at Lauren’s former school, Mirimichi Valley High School. A past Tintamarrienne, Allison, met up with us there and stayed to watch the show. Once a Tintamarrien(ne), always a Tintamarrien(ne)! It was our first New Brunswick show and a great way to start off our week. In the afternoon, we had a show at Bonar Law Memorial School in Rexton, NB. On our way to the show, we passed many anti-fracking signs, premonitions of our Rexton audience’s engagement with the environmental issues discussed in the play. This was a show that went exceptionally well, and it was the engaged and supportive audience that really helped us go to that next level in our performance. Rexton showed us that this tour is not only important to us, but that it also makes an impact on the students at the schools we go to. It was sort of a magical show and it started us off on a streak of amazing performances.
Tuesday’s show was another special performance. We went to the only school that is new to the Tinta-tour, Central New Brunswick Academy. It was a long, long drive and on our way there we passed by a lot of the flooded areas of New Brunswick that get discussed in Villages. The audience was very welcoming and open to what we had to say, and the discussion period afterwards was full of interesting questions. On our drive returning to Sackville, we had the opportunity to pass by the covered bridge that floated down the Canaan River a month ago. Yet another real world resonance with the content of our play.
On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to visit Harmony Heights Elementary School in Salmon River, NS. It was our first performance for elementary school students, and we adapted the show accordingly, softening some of the tension between characters and playing up some of the humour. The audience’s energy was very positive, and we were approached afterwards by two students representing the school news broadcast, Harmony Happenings. We posed for photos, as well a video of our gumboat dance routine. We were flattered!
As we are writing, David and Cate are on CHMA 106.9, doing a special show called Tinta-Hour. Since this has already become a very lengthy blog post, we will be sharing our adventures in Oxford, Sackville and Moncton, as well as Springhill (where we are performing tomorrow!) in our next post.
À plus tard,
Doris, Monique et Figure de Proue.