This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

There are two very important things happening this month. The Orillia Public Library has the annual Remembrance Day display up, with some changes from previous years, and the Mariposa Arts Theatre is opening its first fall production since 2019.

The library’s community services co-ordinator, Jayne Turvey was the instigator of the Remembrance Day activates – it’s more than just a display, and remains as the brain behind it for several years.

The focus has been on exposing students to why our fathers and grandfathers fought in WWW2, WW1 as well, but there aren’t any WW1 vets left, only their stories. It’s a tremendous idea to give the next generation a perspective on what people taken up with inhumane ideology and falsehoods are capable of. The last time school children were able to make it as part of a field trip to the library was in 2019 and 800 students participated during the course of three days.

Jayne Turvey with part of the Remembrance Day display. To her right are images and bio information about Rama veterans.

“We can’t have that kind of numbers through the building,” Turvey said. This is a special year for the history of observing and remembering.

“This year is the 100th anniversary of the Remembrance Poppy. Because of COVID we couldn’t put our normal award winning Remembrance Day event together so I invited the schools, senior’s homes and the youth centre to create poppies and they all did. We did a display in our front window.” There are 300 poppies, some painted, some made of tissue displayed, split between being in the windows, and inside the concourse where they are joined by painted rocks and mobiles.

Over the years teachers have asked for more interactive displays so it’s not a case of filing by and looking at things as kids love to do. Jayne came up with an idea a couple years ago based on her grandfather’s WW1 paybook – yes even in war the accountants want their paperwork. It became a more useful element this year because they could be sent to schools. The idea is the booklets work alongside viewing a video about local war veterans.

“The paybooks we usually give to students when they run around our exhibit went to the schools last year to go with the video, so this year we’re doing that as well. We’re giving out about 600,” Turvey said.

Side note: One of the great things about getting the link to the Remembrance Day videos is discovering the library also has more than 100 other useful videos on their Youtube page.

It’s kind of a sneaky way to have a test at the end of the lesson. Students watch the video and answer some basic questions on the pages of the paybook about what they just watched.

Every elementary school in Orillia and Rama and the Orillia Youth Centre participated, and Turvey also extended the invitation to make poppies to retirement homes, of which 5 participated.

The display also includes original art by Don Ward, and posters from the period, as well as some artifacts. You can see the bulk of the display from outside the building, so if you have a few overdue books, you can buy some time to save up a few more quarters to take care of that. This also means you can check it out on your time 24 hours a day, each day to November 15.

MAT Back In Business

The Mariposa Arts Theatre company has a play, Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore opening tonight. It runs to November 14 at the Opera House in Gord’s Room. Normally a production like this would be in the Studio Theatre. The ticket availability is still only 100, but there’s room to spread out a bit more upstairs.

The script is based on a book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman. The play could have been presented more dramatically. I thought there were opportunities for scenes to have action, but instead it is presented as a dressed up table read with the 5 actresses seated on chairs and occasionally some motion on two feet.

Laurel DeWar, Natasha Paquin, Clodine Sponagle, Janet McMordie and Stephanie Anderson in MAT’s Love, Loss and What I Wore at the Opera House (photo by Lori Beresford)

The essential driver is what the characters wore at key moments of their lives – their first dress, the prom dress, first date, weddings, etc. It’s humourous in the sense you aren’t going to hear anything new or inventive, but the delivery makes the difference and you will laugh out loud a few times.

Women are going to identify with a sense of – I did that same thing. Men in the way of, I watched that same thing go down. It’s almost as if the Vagina Monologues came as a soundtrack on one side of a vinyl record, and this play was the flip side. Unlike the Monologues, in this there is only one scene which broaches serious matter and the rest is the characters explaining in hindsight why they thought and acted at those milestones.

This is going to be a great date night out – guys are you paying attention. You won’t come away learning anything new about your wife/partner/girlfriend – sure you’ll recognize a lot of things, but you won’t get any insight to why. Your seat partner will enjoy it a lot.

Visit the Orillia Opera House online box office for tickets. While you are there, you’ll notice there are some other shows happening. Our great improv comedy group, The Old Dance Hall Players, has a show November 19, it’s called A Shot In The Arm. November 20 a revue of contemporary show tunes called The Music of Broadway comes to town. Ballet Jorgen’s Nutcracker is in November 27, the Barra MacNeils Dec. 3 and tomorrow, Friday, tickets go on sale for the Orillia Concert Band’s December 4t Christmas Prelude concerts at St. Paul’s Centre – the afternoon concert is for the kids. The Orillia Silver Band’s Christmas concert will be at the Opera House December 12. If you really want to ensure the New Year starts right, get your tickets now for the Mudmen’s show January 15 – they regularly sell out.

OMAH Fundraiser Review

Jacquie Dancyger Arnold and Hugh Coleman had a concert at St. Paul’s Centre last Saturday. The afternoon show was sold out (160 tickets), and there were a little more than 100 for the evening gig. OMAH received $6,475 for the effort.

I like the first half better than the second. The concert opened with Hugh taking the lead and Jacquie accompanying for Mozart’s Concerto in A Major. Laura Aylan-Parker joined them to sing Shubert’s Shepherd On The Rock and If Jacquie hadn’t done three piano pieces before the half I’d say Laura stole the show. A couple weeks ago I mentioned something about having someone like Lance Anderson available to even attempt to try to do Oscar Peterson’s music. Well, with the same sentiment, how is it we also have someone like Jacquie who can bang off Chopin, and Villa-Lobos with the same kind of exactitude and listening enjoyment. We’re pretty lucky to be able to sit in a venue and hear such things from our neighbours. And Hugh, time and again he shows us how well he’s mastered his clarinet.

The second half featured more popular music. Gail Spencer joined the duo to play Swinging Shepherd Blues and some of the other tunes on the dance card. Ross Arnold played drums and accordion and Laura came back to sing a couple tunes. I did not know Tico Tico had words, I have several versions of the tune, but only instrumentals.

Short Takes

Congratulations to Craig Mainprize, six of his pieces were selected for the McMichael Canadian Art Gallery’s Online Autumn Artisan Market. You can see, and buy them here. Craig also has 2022 calendars for sale. You can order them on his Facebook page and pick them up at Creative Nomad Studios.

The Cottage Countrycon is happening Saturday, November 6 at the Mariposa Inn. Richard Comely, the creator of Captain Canuck will be on hand along with WWE wrestlers Cowboy Bob Orton and the Killer Bees, illustrator Rodney Ramosk, and Justin Nimmo. The 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. event also features a Dungeons and Dragons and a Super Smash Brothers tournaments. Get tickets online.

November 20 Mariposa-in-Concert returns with Betty and the Bobs. No Betty and no Bobs, just Wendell Ferguson, Rich Greenspoon, David Matheson, Soozi Schlanger, Suzie Vinnick, Katherine Wheatley and David Woodhead. They played one of Mariposa’s off-season concerts just a few years ago and it was the best night. The show is at St. Paul’s Centre and you can get tickets online.

Terry Fallis (photo by Tim Fallis)

The Orillia Scottish Festival has a fundraising dinner happening November 30 at Creative Nomad Studios. It’s a three course meal catered by Krew Catering Company. The best part, aside from the dinner, which looks good on paper by the way, is Terry Fallis will be on hand to read from his new book, Operation Angus ( which I might point out has not yet won a Leacock Medal) You can get tickets online.

See the Orillia District Arts Council’s online tour of this year’s Hippy Vans art project. ODAC is also doing a fundraiser event with the Hippy Vans November 5 at Creative Nomad Studios; Leslie Fournier will be there to tell stories about the ten years of the street art project, the 2021 winners will be there; there will be news about a Christmas project – and there’s a $500 door prize. Tickets are $30 and you can get them online.

The 2021 Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards are November 24 at St. Paul’s Centre – it’s going live and it’s going to be live streamed too. The doors open at 6 and the awards start at 7 p.m. The objective is to make it a real awards night just like you’d see on TV, so get your evening clothes to the cleaners now. You don’t need to register  just show up, wear your mask, and keep some space around you.

Creative Nomad Studios is having a Holiday Market November 27 and 28. Now is the time to apply to be a vendor. There are other Christmas events lined up.  The 10th annual ODAS Park Orillia Holiday Craft Show is November 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit their website for vendor info. The Westmount United Church is doing their Christmas sale online from November 12 to November 15. You can check out some of the items for sale now, but you have to wait until the 12th to buy. Quayle’s Brewery (12th Line of Oro-Medonte just off Mt. St. Louis Road) is having a Christmas Market November 27 and 28, and December 4 and 5; now is the time for vendors to apply.

The Orillia Concert Association has a 2021/22 season. The next concert is with Peter Stoll and Adam Zukiewicz on November 28. They go live February 20 with violinist Maria Millar and Shawn Wyckoff on flute performing as Sonic Escape; followed by the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry band March 27 and the Toronto All-Star Big Band May 1. You can get the very reasonably priced season tickets ($70) at the Opera House box office.

Glen Robertson has just finished the album he’s been working on. The last tune to be included, Breakin’ Down, and the rest of it can be heard on Youtube. After you’ve listened to it (you’ll like the music) click the tab to his home page for more music.

Check out the Somniatis Wearable Art Show video and then head over to their fundraising page. The Somniatis folks want to keep the momentum going on the fundraising side of the event. Last time around when it was live they raised over $12,000 and they hope the community will try to at least match that amount this year to support Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital’s mental health programs.

Sarah Carlson

At the galleries… Sarah Carlson has a solo show at Cloud Gallery until November 7; Cloud also has solos shows and receptions booked every two weeks through to December; See work (in order) by Gordon Harrison (reception Nov. 12, tickets) , Julia Veenstra and Kyle Sorenson… Norman Robert Catchpole’s art is at Peter Street Fine Arts for the month; the gallery is also having their 6×6 show again and artists can join the fun, details… Hibernation Arts opens the Carmichael Too exhibit Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. … OMAH is opening the Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition: Tradition Transformed and an exhibit called We Are Still Here, works by D. Ahsén:nase Douglas on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.; the annual Carmichael Lecture is online this year and it’s with Anna Hudson of York University on November 17 and the topic is The Legacy of the Group of Seven and you can register here;.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Jayne Turvey with the Orillia Public Library’s Remembrance Day display.

Rants & Raves

Support Independent Journalism