Ron Pederson will run a tight ship.
Ron Pederson - actor, writer, director and co-founder of brilliant improv troupe the National Theatre of the World - will be all over this year's SummerWorks. Not only is he playing a precocious seven-year-old who communes with wolves in Ron Jenkins's play Extinction Song, but he's also hosting a series of late-night soirées at the Lower Ossington Theatre. Along with Atomic Vaudeville, the folks behind the award-winning Ride The Cyclone, Pederson - or his alter ego, Captain Ron - will introduce everything from multidisciplinary match-making sessions to letter-writing parties.
You're doing so much at this year's SummerWorks that I hear they were thinking of renaming the festival to reflect that. What would it have been called?
Umm... Mardi Groan?
Why didn't it happen?
Everyone concluded that it was a terrible idea. Except Michael Rubenfeld. He's the only one under the impression that I'm popular.
In Extinction Song, you play a seven-year-old boy. What was the key to creating him?
Everything comes from Ron Jenkins's excellent script. That, and I'm also radically immature.
You also play an alcoholic dad. Draw on any real-life figures for that?
Not a real person, no. But I did a lot of research in saloons and drinking alone at home. Sad thing is, all my exploration and probing was for naught. I've forgotten it all.
The show's been a hit all over the country and won a Sterling Award in Edmonton. How will Toronto respond?
I think they'll be overwhelmed by the power of Ron's writing. My hope for the theatre I produce has always remained intact: I just want girls to like it.
The festival got its federal funding restored for 2012 and 2013. How much of that went into your pocket?
Not a lot. Fun-fun cocaine binges, however.
You're also hosting this year's Performance Bar series, called Captain Ron's Ship Of Friendship. How do you ensure an entertaining voyage?
Gemini nominee and beloved actor/improviser Kayla Lorette is playing my first mate, Poopy. She's guaranteed laughs! Plus Atomic Vaudeville for gawd sake!
Ginger or Mary Ann?
First one, then the other.
What's Captain Ron going to do in his off hours?
Loving up SummerWorks, his favourite time of year! Also, did I mention cocaine?
Extinction Song opens Friday (August 10) at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace; Captain Ron's Ship Of Friendship happens from Friday (August 10) at Lower Ossington Theatre Cabaret Space.