Searching for Dick: A Paranormal Comedy at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Searching for Dick: A Paranormal Comedy

Tara Travis in Searching for Dick: A Paranormal Comedy. Photo credit: Jim Travis

Tara Travis in Searching for Dick: A Paranormal Comedy. Photo credit: Jim Travis

Acacia Hall (10433 83 avenue), August 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 23
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An interview with Tara Travis.

Describe your show in five words.

Afterlife journey comedy with brownies.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

This is my (believe it or not) TRUE STORY of seeking out psychic mediums to meet my deceased in-laws, Louisa and Dick, whom I never met in life.

I was about to get married to their wonderful son, and I wanted their approval so desperately, I was willing to try anything– even if people thought I was crazy. This show was created by my husband and I using verbatim text from visits with a multitude of psychic mediums.

Louisa appeared and clarified her famous brownie recipe (I bake them for the audience during the show)…and a whole host of unexpected relatives pop out of the woodwork with life-changing messages, but at the end of the day…I’m still Searching for Dick. Do I find him? Come see!

What got you into puppetry? Why do you think seeing a puppet show has appeal across any age group?

I discovered puppetry early in my acting career, which saved me. I love the versatility of puppets and animated objects…especially as a 6’1″ tall woman– it really expands the number of roles I can play! Puppetry can be so powerful, and it gives us freedom to go places we can’t go with our human bodies. Puppets are liberated creatures, they can do or say anything with universal permission, and audiences are naturally more emotionally open with them. In this show, the puppetry elements fill in part of my back-story, but also visit the afterlife in an unexpected way. OoooOOOOoooooo.

Quite the true story this show is based on! Why did you want to turn it into a play?

Jim and I knew we were taking a risk because this piece is rather different from the work we usually create.
I felt compelled to share the story, like it was a calling of sorts. I figured, even if folks don’t buy into the “talking to dead people” thing, I’ll lighten it up with comedy, puppets, music and treats…then everybody wins!

Can you tell us about some of the most memorable ways audiences have reacted to the show?

Well, we’ve inspired a lot of business for some of Vancouver’s best mediums, that’s for sure!
I’ve had the whole gamut of responses, from a lady in New Orleans who held me and cried after the show– she had recently lost her mother and took great comfort in my story, to skeptics that are re-thinking their views, to folks who say, “I don’t buy any of this spiritual stuff, but it was a super fun show. Very entertaining.”And that’s great!

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

If you know me from my work with Monster Theatre, come see me do something totally different! (Well, not totally different, I still play a bunch of characters and make stupid faces, but it’s a personal, crazy, revealing story). It’ll be fun and weird. I’d love to see you there!

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?
Jon Paterson from Ribbit RePublic Theatre saved my butt by helping me fix my sound design! ( We did Best Picture together last year, and now he’s doing a new show with Martin Dockery called Inescapable)

ALSO- I’m performing in a remount of Monster Theatre’s beloved classic The Shakespeare Show: Or, How an illiterate Son of a Glover became the greatest playwright in the World at Rutherford School with Ryan Gladstone, who is also bringing back the just-as-beloved “The Seven Lives of Louis Riel” to The Suzanne Thibodeau auditorium. Whew!

Have a great Fringe, everybody! See you out there!

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23. Get your tickets at starting August 4.

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