I spy with my little eye something beginning with #mntf2012. I see Brian, Karen and Patti; Peter and Jillian; Beth and Denise; Mark B and Denise C; Kerry and friends; Erin and Mark H; Michael, Alyssa and Lauren; Ann and company. Every Calgarian (or Canadian) has a story to tell and theirs have likely been told. And then there’s Ellen, and I’m curious about hers.
Ellen was in a simple blue smock that reminded me of Bill Cunningham . As she was crossing the foyer before the performance, I interrupted her stride with a “It’s good to see you [insert name]”. She echoed the same phrase with a beaming smile and gently told me her name is Ellen. Uh oh, I had mistaken her for an acquaintance in the arts community and she was so gracious about it. From what I observed throughout the evening, Ellen is a Front of House usher, coat checker, “who you gonna call” support person and someone who makes every guest feel like a VIP. She is one of the many FOH staff and volunteers that the community rely on for events and she must be here for the love of theatre. I wish to honour her and the Ellens out there.
Oil and Water was the perfect opener; it is an amazing production that can be enjoyed by a wide range of audiences. The rocking ship prop was ingenious and the choreography was beautiful to behold. I was lulled and coddled by the ostinato of the cappella and mesmerised by the rhythmic human pendulum of a giant metronome – the old-school kind, not [GASP] the flashing light.
It was comfortable. I was wanting the “in your face” and “make me squirm in my seat” kind of show. I didn’t buy the Kumbaya myth as portrayed in the Newfoundland of yore and how we can feel smug for being much better than our Southern counterparts. That is what’s so great about arts and culture – we can all celebrate it ensemble even if we are different and hold our points of view more precious than life itself.
The reception was nicely balanced with good food and drink, camaraderie and just the right dose of speeches. I enjoyed a donut with blue sprinkles as a starter, followed by ribbons of smoke salmon on little breads, bruschetta, brie, mango ginger stilton, sprig of asparagus, rice wrappers (YES, notice the use of plural – always when it comes to food glorious food) with vermicelli filling, and finished the evening with a valrhona chocolate donut.
Here are some images from opening night.
Fung Ling Feimo is the Finance and Operations Specialist for Calgary 2012. What matters most to her, aside from arts and culture, is about capturing ideas, people, moments, and revelling in everything.