Saturday, January 31, 2009

Holy Mo: Artistic Director's Notes (Final Draft)

Feb 6 - Mar 7
Pacific Theatre | 604 731-5518

Okay, if you promise to keep this just between you and me, I'll tell you something I've hardly told anybody ever before. Promise not to tell Cia? Okay, good.

Back about a hundred years ago, when I asked Lucia what she was working on next, she told me she was going to do a three-woman show for the Fringe festivals that would take the Old Testament story of Moses and tell it with three clowns. One of whom was a mime. I said that sounded great, but I was lying: it sounded really, really stupid. Like one of those "clever, creative" ideas people come up with for their church drama group – one of those "clever, creative" ideas people come up with over and over again. Never learning from each others' mistakes.

And to do their Bible drama in the Fringe? I figured that was the last I'd ever see of my friend Lucia. They'd tear her limb from limb.

When HoMo arrived at the Vancouver Fringe, as a courtesy, with my guard up, already rehearsing the evasive things I could say when I didn't like it in case somebody caught me before I could escape after the show, I slipped in at the last minute, braced myself, and... Marveled. At the work itself, which was outrageous, wise, hilarious, sad, holy, profane. Human, divine. True. And at the audience, who were with the show every breath – and who applauded the Ten Commandments! (Don't feel obliged. I think it was a one-time thing.) They even liked the mime. I even liked the mime!

Instead of evading Lucia after the show, I hunted down Lucia backstage and embraced her. ("Tackled" might be closer to accurate, though it doesn't convey the measure of affection and awe that came into play). We had to have it at Pacific Theatre, had to share it with our audience. Only... It was, like, only fifty minutes long. Could she, I don't know, do it twice? Make up some stuff? Talk really slow?

As usual, she was a step ahead of me. "Oh, I want to do the story of David! I could just add that on! Call it Spew Boy!" At this point, who was going to argue?

So this is the third time we've had the show in our season here at PT – a three-timer, a certified Pacific Theatre Favourite, putting it in the rarefied company of only a handful of shows. Cotton Patch Gospel, Damien... Maybe that's it. Fine company to keep. For a bunch of clowns.

And a mime.

Thanks, Lucia. (Oh, but don't tell her I said that.)


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