One Last Time at the Well of Stories
Holy Trinity Anglican Church (10037 84 avenue) August 15 – 24 (every day)
An interview with David Belke.
Describe your show in five words
Writer struggles to recover his muse. (Okay, that’s six. Sorry about that. It’s been a while since I wrote fortune cookies.)
Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?
Novelist Neil Silvers is at the end of his rope. He is convinced that he has lost his talent. However guided by a student of Classical Literature, who just happens to work in a local coffee shop, Neil discovers that there may be a mythological muse who is supplying his ability to write. Luckily the muse seems to have revealed herself. Unfortunately it seems to be Neil’s ex-girlfriend. Now it appears that the only way Neil can write again is by winning back the love of his ex.
One Last Time at the Well of Stories is the 30th play you’ve premiered at Fringe. What is it you like about debuting plays at Fringe?
The Fringe offers artists enormous freedom to create. There are no artistic directors to impress, no juries to win approval from, no mandates and production boundaries to obey. You can literally write whatever your muse offers (sorry). I think it is the core strength of the Fringe Festival model developed in Edmonton. It is a liberty of creation that draws and inspires artists to not only follow their visions, but also inspires them to be their best. Ambition can be rewarded at the Fringe. Talent can be nurtured. It is an arena where literally anything can go and the audiences benefit for the artist’s audacity. Why in a festival where you can do literally anything you imagine ends up yielding so many one person shows with only a stool for production values is a discussion for another time. On top of all that, the Fringe has one of the best audiences out there. They are not only willing to risk the unknown, but enthusiastically embrace it. And after decades of Fringe-going , they are one of the most experienced and best educated theatre audiences in the world.
One Last Time at the Well of Stories seems like it may have some autobiographical elements, being that it’s about a writer. What did you want to get across to audiences through the play?
Entertainment? Okay. That’s the obvious answer. Maybe some insight into the world of an artist? A sense maybe of the personal struggles? I’ve written numerous plays about artists and creation, and it’s a subject that I find infinitely fascinating. Art, at its best, is a raw personal expression of an individual. That breeds vulnerability. That exposes foibles. And it demands difficult choices. All those elements are means of illuminating the life and personality of the characters. This play contains autobiographical elements, no doubt. But then so do all my plays.
Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?
It’s a comedy with elements of drama, reality and fantasy. I’m really enjoying watching it come to life.
Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?
There’s another outstanding group of artists working on this project. Jamie Cavanagh, Kristie Hansen, Reed McColm and Ellie Heath are all stunning talents and are great people to work with. They bring warmth, humanity and comic precision to their roles. Glenn Nelson is directing and he’s a director I’ve worked with many times now. Perhaps better known as an actor, Glenn is also a superb crafter of plays with a careful eye to its humanity and a sure hand for comedy.
The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe is August 14 – 24. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.