I had a great time performing at the Atlantic Fringe Festival this summer. Here’s what the Chronicle Herald in Halifax had to say:
It’s the perfect performance for combined child engagement and adult consideration. Festival veteran Dalling gives an energetic, interactive performance. He not only had the audience participate but the inquisitive kids present asking important questions about life.
Kelsey Power, The Chronicle Herald
Read more here:
Bring your parents, bring your kids, bring your love to be
When I was in theatre school we did a lot of ranting, slamming beers down on tables and complaining that most main stream theatre was being made for the ‘blue rinse’ crowd at Neptune. Nothing was fresh enough. Nothing was edgy enough. Nothing was now. This was back in the days before the internet. Before smartphones. Before every now became a ‘like’ and a comment and a very quickly forgotten honey-badger, yesterday.
Good grief, I’m getting old
Now, I’m not part of that blue rinse crowd. But I remember the old days. Way back when Halifax was ‘Seattle North’ and Joel Plaskett was a gangly kid – barely a teen, playing to his parents with Thrush Hermit at the Flamingo. I remember the first Atlantic Fringe Festival. It was outstanding. Well, it was exciting anyway. Something new. Something youthful, something fresh. Something now.
So here I am, doing a show I’ve created for family audiences at this years Atlantic Fringe. The show, Loki’s Big Dream, isn’t a show for young audiences. It isn’t a show for the blue rinse crowd. It’s a show that brings people together across generations. It’s a show about how special people can have a huge impact on our lives. It’s a show about love and death. It’s a show for people who have lost someone special. It’s a show for people who have loved.
This show was inspired by my relationship with my grandfather – now gone – and my grandmothers (still living). Grandparents are fantastic. Grandparents get to do all the fun bits of parenting without having to venture into the heavy area of consequences. They get to be heroic and give candies for bee stings, soup when everyone in the house is sick. Grandparents can be used for sleepovers, but don’t have to be there for the constant struggles over how cold it is outside and whether the child needs a hat. Grandparents are the keepers of stories. They remember – and if you’re lucky – will tell you what your parents were like when they were your age. Grandparents can let you know that whatever is going on in your life right now, they’ve probably seen it before and everything is going to be ok.
I’m lucky. I’ve had this relationship with my grandparents. I’m watching my kids have this with theirs. Look at these guys – this is my dad and my son. My dad and I have a great relationship, but for my son, Granddad (or Mrs. Meatball) is just a magic, mythical figure – he talks about him all the time. He loves him so much. Fun stuff.
So, come see Loki’s Big Dream with someone you love
Or remember that special person in your life. Because this show isn’t the kind of edgy revolutionary theatre I called for while at Dal. It’s not for the ‘blue rinse’ crowd either. It’s comfortably middle aged and full of love. See you there.
I’ve been performing Loki’s Big Dream for close to eight years now. I’ve had close to 200 performances. It’s been seen in schools. Lots of them. I’ve also been engaged to perform in some nice theatres.
My favorite show was however not in a theatre. It was in the McMichael Canadian Collection. There I performed in a gallery full of works by Norval Morrisseau. I love his work. I got a big kick out of his huge canvasses there. My shows there had a special energy. It was an experience I won’t forget.
Highlights include back to back sold out shows at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, The Vaughan City Playhouse, Young People’s Theatre in Toronto, The Meadowvale Theatre and for some great community based series in remote and rural areas of Ontario.
Now it’s your chance Halifax.
I’m doing Loki as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival.
You can find me at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History at the following times:
Friday Aug. 29 – 8:45
Saturday Aug. 30 – 5:15
Sunday Aug. 31 – 4:05
Monday Sep. 1 – 4:15
Tuesday Sep. 2 – 6:00
Wednesday Sep. 3 – 8:10
Thursday Sep. 4 – 7:30
Friday Sep. 5 – 7:30
Saturday Sep. 6 – 2:35
Sunday Sep. 7 – 4:05
Tickets are $10
You can get advanced tickets here:
Let me paint a bit of a picture for you
It was October 2006. My daughter had just been born. Laura was doing course work for her Phd. I had just returned from a second call back in New York for the Blue Man Group. They said thank you, but no. Though happy about being a dad, I was feeling gutted from the rejection. 10 months of drum lessons for what?
Meanwhile, life went on. I was sitting in a hotel room in Sarnia Ontario, getting ready to showcase Little Big Frog for Faustwork Mask Theatre at Ontario Contact. I knew I had to earn money to support my family. I had to earn more money than I could performing Rob’s show. I had to be sensible. I had to get a job.
Instead I, made a play
I had been performing in schools for quite a while. With hundreds of shows across Canada since 1995 I knew the earning potential. I’m not an actors union member so I wouldn’t have to share my earnings with a stage manager. I just needed a show that would sell.
That was my tragic flaw
Though I needed a show that would sell, I wanted more than anything to create that one special show. The show I could be proud of. The show that I could perform and love as much at seventy years old as I did the moment I built it. My ‘Morgan’s Journey’. My mic stand routine. A place for my spirit to shine. I had that show brewing up inside of me for a while. I had a that I had to make. I had a story I had to tell. This story became Loki’s Big Dream. Watch the video below to find out more.
I worked with the experts
Kids. I spent two years improvising, workshopping and tweaking Loki’s Big Dream in front of audiences. Over the course of sixty performances, ‘Loki’ took shape. It’s a clown show about love and death that I’ve been trying to sell to elementary schools. Some teachers love the poetry, the beauty and sophistication of Loki’s Big Dream. Others are quite uncomfortable when the ten year olds ask them questions about death and dying. Many want a show that explicitly links to curriculum. A performance that is didactic and tied to outcomes in clear ways. The kind of “hey kids don’t bully each other” crap that make me want to do terrible things to the anti bullying organizations mascot… Loki’s Big Dream isn’t that kind of show
This all happened by mistake
Loki’s Big Dream was originally meant to be a simple school show. I set out to make a show for young audiences that adults would tolerate. What I ended up with is a show for grown ups that children can enjoy. It crosses generations in it’s appeal. It’s deceptive in how it unfolds. It’s impact is akin to that of Life is Beautiful or Big Fish. Seemingly benign at first – amusing perhaps, then wham! It hits you.
So Halifax friends, come see Loki’s Big Dream at the Atlantic Fringe Festival this summer. And leave with your heart a little warmer and a sparkle in your eyes.