Spin at the St. Lawrence Stage

 

It’s a big month of ‘firsts’ for the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage. This will be one of the first times in their seven year history that they are presenting two shows only a week apart. 

“We’ve been taking our vitamins and getting ready,” board president Sandra Whitworth said with a small laugh. “We had already booked the fabulous Terra Hazelton for November, and then we had the opportunity to bring in Evalyn Parry’s SPIN on November 24th.”

 “This is a show we’d been keeping our eye on for a while, we were so excited to learn we might be able to bring SPIN to Morrisburg,  we decided to go for it.” 

The board members of the Acoustic Stage had been keeping their eye on SPIN because it is such an innovative show:  part musical performance, part spoken word, part documentary. The reviews describe it as “brilliant” and “a breath of fresh air.”

SPIN uses the bicycle as a metaphor for social change, but also as an actual musical instrument – the bicycle (along with percussionist Brad Hart) is Evalyn Parry’s co-star. 

In an interview Parry notes that this is one of the attractions of the show. 

“We’ve played the show in big fancy theatres and also in small community halls – it’s versatile that way, and seems to work in both intimate and larger settings.   Part of the unique thing about the show is the musical bicycle – and that always seems to go over really well wherever we play – Brad Hart is a talented drummer, and creates an amazing accompaniment with the bike.”

A musical bicycle? As Whitworth points out, that will be another first. “We’ve had a lot of musical instruments played at the Stage, but never a bicycle.” 

Describing her motivations in creating SPIN, Parry says that it brought together not only themes she wanted to explore, but also different parts of her creative life. 

“I had spent my artistic career with one foot in music and spoken word, and the other in theatre, and I felt I wanted to create a show that would bring my two worlds together into one show.”

“I am an avid cyclist, and thought it would be fun to create something about my passion for my bicycle.  Also, I’m a bit obsessed with advertising and the way things get “spun” – so I thought the theme of “spin” could encompass both the bicycling and the advertising, and maybe result in something interesting.   And finally, I had also heard somewhere that there was a connection between the bicycle and the early women’s emancipation movement in the 19th century, and I wanted to research that.   So I dove into the research – and discovered all these unexpected and amazing historical characters and information which connected all my chosen themes.”

SPIN has recently completed an eight-show run in Kingston, most of which were sold out. Some of Parry’s favourite venues are in smaller communities. 

“I love performing in small communities, where people seem to especially appreciate things that are different.   SPIN is a pretty ‘outside the box’ show, even in a big city context, but the show seems to be enjoying a pretty broad appeal. The themes and stories about the history of women and cycling, and consumerism, and advertising, and ‘freedom’ within the show are certainly not only relevant to city-dwellers – they are pretty universal. “

Whitworth commented that the show is drawing a lot of attention. 

 “I do hope the local crowd gets their tickets and has a chance to see this.  I can’t tell yet whether we will be sold out, but there’s been more interest than usual with a lot of online sales from Ottawa, and that’s wonderful of course. But we brought this to Morrisburg to make sure our community has a chance to see it.” 

 Make sure to get to the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage in the OETIO/Morrisburg Meeting Centre  to see this fabulous show. Tickets are $18 in advance at Basket Case or online www.st-lawrencestage.com. The door price is $20, show time is 7 p..m on Saturday November 24th!

 

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