Richard Turtle, well-known local actor, writer, director and journalist has performed David Carley's outstanding play 'Al Purdy at the Quinte Hotel' several times in recent years. People who have seen this performance want to see it again; those who've missed it regret it. Everyone will have another opportunity this coming Saturday at 3PM at Active Arts Studio in Rednersville.
"About a year after the fact, I heard that Gordon Pinsent had done a Purdy play for CBC - produced back in December 2003 - and was a bit surprised and a bit disappointed I'd missed it because I like them both, and I listen to CBC. So that one somehow slipped past.
I probably googled it at some point and discovered Dave wrote it so I got in touch and he sent me a copy. Then I read it and then it sat there for years with me wishing I could put it on somewhere.
Then I went to see C.David Johnson do the Carley-directed version at Westben (2007 I think) and that's when I realized just how well it plays.
I mean, it read well because Purdy's poems are the anchor to the whole thing but the story-telling in between them is the driver behind it, and it really does cut a broad swath through a big chunk of Canadian time and space. There's an indescribable (at least for me) quality to it that I couldn't see when I read it. But I know it's there now. As an audience member it was kinda like participating in a conversation without having to say a word. As an actor, it's much the same, except you get all the words.
Part of what I like about Purdy (and I put him in a class with Stompin' Tom in a lot of ways) is how he celebrated Canada simply by experiencing as much of it as he could. And then he wrote very concisely about it. And almost exclusively. So in a large part because of that I think he has a lot to tell us about ourselves as Canadians. He saw a lot more of it than most of us ever will.
And anyway, after a couple of false starts I got the opportunity to perform it for the first time at the Active Arts Studio last year. So very much looking forward to going back there. And maybe in the fall, exposing some area high school students to this side of Al Purdy, if all goes well.
And then there's Andy Thompson. He's a recording/sound engineer, composer, singer...genius (and that last one's just my opinion) and is also music director for George Fox as well as part of his touring band. And then a few others. So he's had a really busy summer but as luck would have it, George is playing near Ottawa August 31, so Andy will be available to run sound for the Purdy play the day before (which includes a recording of his original music score that accompanies many of the poems). I can't thank Andy enough for his contribution to this show and he really deserves a lot of credit. He is an amazing guy to work with. And he knows an awful lot about music and words."
Great play. Great actor. Great sound. Great opportunity to support APAFA.. If you've already booked Saturday's Al Purdy Aframe Association fundraising performance, you're in for a treat. If not, what's stopping you? Here's the Active Arts link. See you there!