A triumvirate of theatrical equals delivers three exceptionally intimate and moving plays at this year’s second Tall Tale Theatre Company’s annual Building Blocks fundraiser. The company has created a tripling of theatrical excellence with three original works, Aaron Hrastovec’s You’re Invited, Elena Reyes Sanchez’s Reloj’s Commedia noir, No Marques Las Horas, and Brian Taylor’s ADR. The event is set for one day only, Sunday, March 15, starting at 4pm at Rockstar Music Hall and includes dinner.
In the first play, Aaron Hrastovec shines a light on the tragic life of uptight Thomas William Francis Green who is about ready to celebrate his birthday. To set the stage, Hrastovec provides a number of opening clues about his character’s obsessive-compulsive nature in which everything has a place and everything is in its place.
The gregarious Green is not one to let disappointment spoil his party, a play along the lines of Waiting for Godot. But, in this case, Godot is Grace the lady who delivers his mail and convinces him he is the favourite on her route. It is his birthday so he invites her in obvious anticipation of something good happening.
He is a quirky character who assigns names and roles to audience members and, as organized as he is, divides them up into the unusual collection of fair weather and fake friends, another clue to his personality.
The pacing is exceptional, aided by the cheeriness Hrastovec gives his character and an ability to endear himself instantly to the audience, who, secretly, most likely, without saying the ending, hope for a better one.
Without question, Elena Reyes Sanchez’s Reloj’s No Marques Las Horas, is one of the most compassionate plays of the year from any theatre company. Because it is a Commedia Noir, Reloj, in a very appropriate mask, plays lead character, Lone, an 80-year-old man. And like Green before, the audience arrives during an anniversary of sorts, the day he wed his now departed wife.
Poignantly, Lone seems to be under the spell of all manner of alarm clocks. The reality is both sad and encouraging. It was his wife who guided him through life. Alarms on clocks throughout his house remind him of his next actions.
Despite the mask, it is clear Reloj is enjoying her role which relies heavily on a sequence of physical comedy delivered pantomime like with Lone rarely saying anything beyond amusing grunts and groans, at precisely – and Green probably enjoys this – the right time.
There are so many delightful scenes, like money falling out of Lone’s stocking, and, then, a stunning woman’s red panty falling out of his other sock.
This very heartwarming performance leads into an even more genuine situation. Eric Branget plays voice over actor Guy and Daniela Piccinin performs the role of Ella in playwright Brian Taylor’s ADR. ADR stands for Automated Dialog Replacement in which voice-over announcers redo whatever actors say during filming.
The opening scene is beyond hilarious. Taylor, who has done his share of such voice overs, sets up a most amusing predicament. Branget’s Guy is waiting for an actor to play the female parts. Unable to show up she sends a friend who’s only virtue is French language capability.
The voices are needed to replace the dialogue of a French pornographic video. It, a role requiring a wide range of emotions, is handled exceptionally well by Daniela Piccinin. Both her and Branget have considerable depth and flexibility in their delivery, a true delight.
Ella does so well she earns more roles and often works with Guy and as they meet, in a similar fashion to the characters in playwright Bernard Slade’s Same Time, Next Year, each new job brings them closer together while at the same time exposes the quirks of their ongoing lives.
Branget tells Eyes on Windsor, this ability to humanize actors known only by their voices is what drew him to the play and how it exposes the lives they lead not being all that different from regular folk.
Monies raised through the endeavor will support the Company’s workshops, its 2020 Commedia Noir Tour, Fall 2020 Production, and its brand new Newsletter.
The Company is led by Artistic Director Eric Branget, aided by Educational Leader, Samantha Lillian, Administrative Leader, Averey Meloche, Marketing Director Daniela Piccinin with Collaboration Artists Michael Karloff, Shannon Pitre, Brady Madsen and Michael J. Krym. Its goal as that of employing professional Windsor-based artists to create original, quality theatre and to further education in the arts.
For more details about The Tall Tall Theatre Company Building Blocks Fundraiser visit the Eyes On Windsor events calendar.
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.