29 April 2005

Farewell to Winnipeg

Pardon the blog's silence these last 48 hours; it's been a hectic, though altogether rewarding, time in this fair city. Here's a pic for the blog's loyal foreign readers:

[Winnipeg, April 27; the white area is snow-covered, eh?]

This was the view from our hotel window two of the last three days; it has also been hailing intermittently. But I dare not show my trepidation, lest I provoke the contempt of these stalwart all-weather Winnipeggers. Entre nous autres, however, the wind is icy.

We just came from the public show here, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. An impressive building, and an impressive venue: a 200 seat auditorium, complete with expert lighting technician, which we managed to fill to about 1/5th full. Not bad!

We also had the pleasure of seeing Annie Forget at the show, the program coordinator at the Dominion Institute; and many fine members of the Fraser Highlanders were on hand. Mjr James Oborne, who is an authentic modern fur-trader and a director of the North-West Company (which still exists and does a flourishing trade throughout the North, just like back in the 18th century), is their officer commanding, and he gave a very interesting introduction to the poem and to the historical period. He was particularly pleased at the references to the Fraser Highlanders and their key contribution to the British effort in the Siege and battle; I've been working to include more of this, and I'm glad to see it paid off: the Frasers are exigent historians, and they approved.

[Mjr. James Oborne introducing the poem with historical commentary]

The show itself could have gone better, from my POV as performer; I stumbled twice, and there was a good deal of (invisible) stitching and improvisation. Also, I need to work on air/lung-management, especially on spontaneously enjambing lines: being reduced to a desperate, brave, unyielding croak is great for death scenes (of which I have at least two, of course), but a couple of times this happened inopportunely, as in

The officers and volunteers : whose glory now shall never die

which doesn't really get the message across, acoustically speaking.

[onstage at the Winnipeg Art Gallery]

We hit the road bright and early tomorrow for Toronto, passing through Wawa on Sunday. I will try and post (we have another, better video in the pipe) but may be at the mercy of Internet-accessibility. Our gas guage has begun working again, though, which is perhaps all too reassuring.


Added note: I've at last got the Video Clips and Digital Pics archive going on the website: there you can find all the video clips posted to the blog, plus a good number of never-before-seen-photos of both tour and trip.

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