Oak Bay News caught up with TJ Dawe about his upcoming performance of Roller Coaster.
Q – What can the audience expect from this performance?
A – My style is to braid seemingly unrelated things and bring them all together in the end. The seemingly unrelated things in this show are thoughts about pop culture, Barbara Ehrenreich’s theory on why humans go to war, my relationship with Orlando, Florida, and Donald Trump being president.
Q – What were your intentions with focusing on these particular threads?
A – One of my hopes is to tap into what people are thinking and feeling and get people talking and doing something. Not to blow the ending but I’ll just blow the ending – it ends with an activist’s call-to-arms. Donald Trump’s presidency has made a lot of people, including myself, who were somewhat complacent about politics previously, step up and get better informed and better engaged and vote when they might not have before and get involved in local politics when they might not have before. And donate. And pay for journalism. And to be more dexterous and flexible when conversing with people who don’t share our views. The ultimate hope of the show is to galvanize people.
Q – Where do you look for inspiration? What are you reading these days?
A - Naomi Kline for one thing. She just wrote a book called “No is not enough” which is about exactly where we are right now. It is a good quick read and it is powerful and inspiring. Barbara Ehrenreich’s books. I have a list of her books on the program for my show. She’s in her 70s now but she is still active and progressive and everything she writes is hugely insightful. Another favorite writer is Rebecca Solnit. She is an essayist and fabulously creative. Her prose is so sharp as well as her insights. Ta-Nehisi Coates. Same thing. I just love his ideas. Matt Taibbi, a writer for Rolling Stone. He wrote a book that consolidated the articles he wrote during the presidential election last year. And another huge light for me is Margaret Atwood. She’s pushing 80 and she is just as prolific as ever. I hope to be that active and creative and committed when I’m that age.
Q – Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
A – I kind of go back and forth. I see it as a horse race where we are neck and neck -where there is an ending where we sort it out and survive and there is another possible future where we really blow it. I hope I live long enough to see if one of those futures pulls into a sizable lead. And right now I can’t say. One of the things that give me hope for civilization is that more people are finding their voices. More people are sharing their truths. And more people are interested in hearing them then ever before.
Q – Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. I look forward to seeing your performance at the Dave Dunnet Theatre in Oak Bay on Oct 21.
A – I’m also doing a two-day workshop on how to do a one-person show. It explores how to mine your ideas and stories and how to turn them into something that can be done on stage, whether it is five minutes of 90 minutes. It is open to any experience level. It’s really fun watching people harness what is inside them and to see how inspired they get. That is happening on Saturday and Sunday, Oct 21 – 22. People can get in touch with Oak Bay Recreation if they are interested in joining.
Award-winning playwright/actor/director, TJ Dawe, will be in town this weekend to perform his latest one-person show, Roller Coaster. This humorous yet chilling look at an autobiographical monologist in a post-apocalyptic world, weaves together threads of seemingly unrelated things and ties them together into an activist call to arms.When: Saturday, October 21, 2017 Doors at 7:30 PM Show @ 8:00 pm
Where: Dave Dunnet Community Theatre (Oak Bay High School), 2121 Cadboro Bay Road
Cost: $25 adults/$15 students ($28 door)