tracks written and performed by T.J. Dawe, adapted from Jack London. Presented by Big Sandwich Productions at the Tarragon Mainspace (30 Bridgman). July 6 and 11 at 9:30 pm, July 8 and 10 at 3:30 pm, July 12 at 5 pm, July 13 at 6 pm, July 14 at 6:30 pm.
one man star wars trilogy written and performed by Charles Ross, directed by T.J. Dawe. Presented by Chicken for Supper Productions at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (79A St. George). July 5 at 5 pm, July 7 at 2 pm, July 8 at 8:30 pm, July 11 at 10 pm, July 12 at 7 pm, July 13 at 11:30 pm, July 14 at 2:30 pm.
No one captures the spirit of the Fringe Festival better than T.J. Dawe. For the past five summers, the Vancouver-born writer, actor and now director has taken his low-tech, high-talk plays and criss-crossed the continent, conquering what's known as the Fringe circuit.
"I've just spent 28 hours on a bus from Charleston, South Carolina, to come here," he tells me over a much-needed glass of water.
"The fests run east to west, every two weeks," he says, knapsack at his side. After our talk he heads for the bus depot and the Montreal Fringe. "This has been my life for the past few years."
He chills out, he says, in the fall. "I watch videos for a month solid," he laughs. "Until October."
That's quite a sked for a guy who started out in a Daniel MacIvor play, a 19-year-old theatre school grad who'd never even heard of the Fringe.
Now he's got friends and a couch to crash on in every Fringe-fest port, not to mention eager audiences willing to line up to see what's new in his life.
Local crowds know him best for his two autobiographical monologues -- Tired Clichés, about working dead-end jobs, and Labrador, inspired by a trip to Newfoundland and Labrador while touring in a kids' show.
Each show was shot through with laughs and insights, the stories looping around each other and, at the centre, the tall, gangly, born-storyteller Dawe holding our attention.
His new Fringe show, Tracks, signals a departure. It's not based on his life, although there are similarities. Instead, it's his adaptation of The Road, a book by Call Of The Wild author Jack London that chronicles London's two years living as a tramp and freight-train hopper in the 1890s.
"I was born a century after London, but the funny thing is that my life in some ways is similar to his," explains Dawe, who discovered London while a student at the University of Victoria. The writer's simple language and adventures -- running from cops, witnessing beatings, brushing up against extreme poverty -- gripped him.
"He meets these road kids and is intrigued with their lives. And that's what happened to me after the first year in the Fringe subculture. It's all about being young, raw, hungry and on the road."
As in his previous shows, the technical requirements for Tracks are minimal. The single prop is a mini-scaffolding unit 0.3 kilos under Canada Post's weight limits, meaning Dawe can mail it to each venue.
Tired Clichés required a couple of boxes; Labrador needed a cushion or two.
"My shows are about the words," says Dawe, who names MacIvor and Spalding Gray as his biggest influences. "You can't have a big set or lots of cues in the Fringe, and a stage manager adds to the costs."
He's also avoided working with a director on his solo shows, although he's debuting as a director with his university buddy Charles Ross's Fringe show, One Man Star Wars Trilogy.
"I think Charles watched the original Star Wars trilogy 473 times growing up," says Dawe. "I told him he had to do a one-person show.
"He's got a genius for impersonations and sound effects -- he can pull off these elaborate violent fantasies where his head explodes, his eyes pop and leak down his face and his throat is ripped open."
Eventually, Dawe -- who lives in Toronto most of the year -- would like to break into the local theatre scene, but he's used to having 100 per cent artistic control.
"I'd rather spend my time doing my own material and collaborating with others than auditioning for plays and commercials.
"That's why I love the Fringe. No editors, no artistic directors -- it's just you and the audience. I doubt I'd get that again if I ever left."firstname.lastname@example.org