Back in college, we once had a project where we had to be historical figures interviewing each other. I just happened to receive the role of Stephen Leacock, and to this day believe that this project represented one of my finest moments in theatre. I was asked a surprise question by my classmate (who was portraying Shoeless Joe Jackson) how I felt about losing my wife Beatrix, and the answer I gave along with gently released touch of emotion stilled the room entirely…you could have heard a pin drop, evolve into a higher being and leave the room for the next bus to Chicago. Trying to find moments like that is one of the reasons I have continued in theatre to this day.
Jump forward ten years. During the show Infidelities! I was talking to one of the actors in the show, Ninette, who was responsible for setting up at Ghost Walk in Georgina for Halloween, and she was looking for people to play historical figures in the area. My ears perked up…Stephen Leacock and his family lived in the area for quite some time…that means I could take another shot at playing him again. I immediately volunteered and it was never mentioned again until the opening week of Honestly, Now!. Ninette, who played my love interest in this show, brought it up again, and though my schedule was slightly tighter now I continued my interest.
Geez…I was under the gun, now. I had to find a costume, a panama hat, and re-do my research pretty damned quick. So I frantically searched around for everything, and basically had the works together on Thursday evening…so I could do a final cram of information.
Then the events of Friday occurred and I was forced to cancel my appearance for that night. Even though we had good news about the pregnancy, we were still shaken up from the event and decided to have a quiet night at home.
I promised Ninette I would be there the following night though, so picked up my hairspray and fake hair so I could create the moustache effect. The picture above does not do that bit justice…I look more like Guido Sarducci. But I trimmed it down a bit and the final result was pretty darned close to the photo I was using as a reference.
The actual ghost walk was fun, though I was slightly stressed. Because of Friday, I was not AS prepared as I would have liked to have been – even though I knew pretty much his entire biography. In hindsight I would have perhaps used one of his stories in my bit…just giving information is a little dry for an evening out. However, people seemed satisfied, and I even was applauded by the different groups coming in which was a pleasant surprise.
I have offered to help Ninette out next year…perhaps turning the role of Stephen into a tourguide instead of just a stop on the tour…I think that would be even more fun. And it gives me the chance to fill the shoes of this wonderful writer at least one more time.