This year’s TaDa! Performing Arts Festival opens Friday, September 13 at the Black Sheep Inn with the premiere of a new Ian Tamblyn play, Nun of It. Though a mad-cap comedy in many respects – it’s the completion of a trilogy about the beleaguered poet Zephyr Fallutin and his girlfriend Phoebe Selmeci – it also takes a satirical look at religion (playing right up to Bill 21), being gay but playing it straight, and the foibles of the artistic temperament. Remember Sister Sourire’s hit song, Dominique, from the 1970s? Put on your nun’s habit and prepare to learn the real story.
On Saturday, just after the market closes at the Centre Wakefield LaPeche, we’ll feature a short, delicate dance piece, Chagall, performed by two dancers of Toronto’s Danny Grossman Dance Company, followed by an afternoon performance from Nathaniel Rankin, a top-notch magician who lives just across the river in Cantley – who knew? -- but spends most of his time on cruise ships visiting exotic locales. Later in the afternoon, we’ll have our always-popular play reading of a newly minted theatre piece from one of the 12 playwrights that applied this summer to work with local dramaturge Peter Haworth.
That evening, we feature a program of dance and comedy/reflection we’ve called Breaking Through the Binary. Four dancers from different cultural and geographic backgrounds will perform solos and a duet that play with age-old cultural assumptions about gender. William Lau will dance a piece in the style of Peking Opera; Hari Krishnan will take both the male and the female roles in a form of classical Indian dance where gender-specific dancing is usually de rigeur; and Eddie Kastrau and a second dancer will present an excerpt from Nobody’s Business, a cheeky duet for two men choreographed in the 1970s by Danny Grossman.
Then Candy Palmater, who most will remember as a recent host of CBC Radio, will take the stage. Describing herself as “a gay native recovered lawyer turned feminist comic who was raised by bikers in the wilds of northern New Brunswick,” Palmater will entertain us with her take on all things gender-bending, and a lot more besides.