Skip to main content

5 Minute Fringe + One More (Sour Grapes has a WHAT on the poster?)

Due to a technical glitch with our phone lines, Allan Turner couldn't participate in the live recording of my 5 Minute Fringe showcase. So here is Allan's  pitch to get you to go see Sour Grapes. By the way, when I asked these questions, I hadn't scrutinized the poster. I saw a cute dancing coyote, but somehow I missed the (ahem!) appendage. Now I can't stop seeing it! Thanks, Allan (in more ways than one).

donna g: "Life's a vineyard and fuck you." That's a bold tagline? 

Writer, Actor, Allan Turner

Allan Turner: The play’s called "Sour Grapes", an expression that comes from the Aesop Fable where a fox desperately tries to get at some grapes, but can’t, so goes away muttering, “Probably sour grapes anyway.” When we want something we can’t have, we lie to ourselves that we didn’t want it anyway. This play is about a suicide survivor grappling with a second chance at life. As far as he’s concerned, not only are the grapes sour, but so is the whole vineyard--because life is a disappointment, he’s convinced himself he doesn’t want to be alive anyway.

donna g: Your cast includes a Coyote, a clown, a doctor and a spider? Without the tagline, this reads like a lineup for a FRINGE KIDS show, but there is a mature language warning. Hmmm...Why should adults pay $10 to see these characters?

Allan Turner: Two words: AIR CONDITIONING. This is definitely not a play for children. There’s a giant cock on the poster. It’s a comedy, but a dark one that deals with suicide, nihilism, chaos theory… There are a lot of big ideas and heavy themes. All of this is communicated through the mask of myth. Nowadays, a myth is often assumed to be the same thing as a lie, as in, “That’s NOT TRUE, that’s a MYTH.” Yes, myths aren’t meant to be taken literally, but they are metaphors used to convey truths. In fact, using metaphors makes it easier to talk about truths that would otherwise be difficult to address. It is like performing in mask. It might sound contradictory, but a mask doesn’t hide you, it frees you to show yourself.

donna gYou mention the "mask of myth".  Will the characters be wearing masks in this play, as they sometimes do in Trikster plays?

Allan Turner: None of the characters wear actual physical masks, but we are inhabiting the masks of these characters Coyote, Clown, Spider, and so on. These are very old characters, archetypes that reappear in many cultures the world over. Clowns have existed in every culture there ever was and even in non-human animals. Wild gorillas have been observed clowning. Coyote and Spider, or Iktomi the Spider-Man, are First Nations Tricksters. There’s another Spider Trickster, Anansi, in West African lore. Aesop’s Fables were jokes, and at parties, the aristocracy competed to see who could remember more and be the wittier. I picture a bunch of Greek Oscar Wildes standing around telling each other about the Fox and the Grapes. So you see, animal names does not have to imply kid stuff. Even if I were to say Bugs Bunny, there again, not for kids. Not originally. Bugs was created by a team of brilliant professional artists who were just trying to make each other laugh. Bugs connected with a worldwide audience of adult moviegoers because he was an ingenious spin on the familiar Trickster archetype. When I say Trickster, don’t think evil. If anything, he’s amoral. He is mischievous, sure, but also a highly regarded hero. And also a fool. Bender on Futurama is a great current example.

donna g: Sour Grapes includes audience participation. Oh, oh! Should the inhibited sit near the back of the theatre?

Allan Turner: Don’t worry, no one will be pulled onstage and I’m not going to hypnotize anyone into thinking they’re a sexy chicken. But even though I’m not wearing a nose, I am a clown, and this is no-fourth-wall theatre. That means there’s no imaginary boundary between you in the audience and us on stage. It’s a tightly scripted show so we’re not out improvising among you, but we know you’re there. We know we’re performing for you, even if you are sitting in the back. Actually I know I just said I’m a clown, but more accurately, this time out, I’m a bouffon. I don’t want to start using too much jargon but I can sum it quickly by saying a clown loves you, a bouffon does not. But if it makes you feel any better, I promise I’ll be more afraid of you than you will be of me. Also there’s a girl clown and she’s cute.

donna g: One final question, how are you feeling about this production that you've written and will be acting in?

Allan Turner: I’ve written a play that combines all these passions of mine with the very serious subject matter of my experience as a suicide survivor. And it’s a madcap comedy. I’ve described it as Waiting For Godot with The Marx Brothers. Another way is Nietzsche Goes Looney Tunes. Having Bruce Hunter as director has been a phenomenal experience. He’s a legendary comedic performer and director and after working so closely with him these past few weeks, I can say his esteemed reputation is well deserved. And I’m very lucky to have such an outstanding cast. Chloe Payne, Dave McKay, and Darryl Pring have given it their all. We’re going to make you laugh, and laugh a lot, and then we’re going to leave you thinking.

Toronto Fringe Festival
July 3 - 14, 2013

Sour Grapes poster

Show length: 60min.
Warnings: Mature Language, Audience Participation
This performance is not accessible for non-English speakers
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama

Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace

July 05 11:00 PM

July 07 04:00 PM

July 08 08:45 PM

July 09 04:30 PM

July 11 07:00 PM

July 12 06:15 PM

July 13 12:00 PM


Popular posts from this blog

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 2 aka The Miscasting of Renée Zellweger


Appaloosa wasn't on my "Must See" list of films, simply because my Festival experience is seeing the films without the big stars that may not get distributed. Appaloosa is directed by my love, Ed Harris (who also stars in the film) and has such notable names as Viggo Mortensen and Jeremy Irons. I love Westerns, and an invite to the film had me in line at the elegant Elgin Theatre. While I enjoyed the Marshall (Harris) and his gun-toting, literate sidekick (Mortenssen) battling it out with the bad guy (Irons), I did not enjoy Renée Zellweger in the role of the woman who clings to whatever alpha male is dominating the scene. I kept trying to re-cast her, but it wasn't until I got home that Virginia Madsen's name popped into my head. Virginia would have been perfect and also luminous. Renée may be from Texas, but I wasn't buying her in this one. If you think I'm being harsh everything I've just written was also said by two guys walking behi…

Ross Petty's Sleeping Beauty BFFs: Meet Alexandra Beaton & Taveeta Szymanowicz

Fall/winter theatre favourite Ross Petty Productions is back with another fairy-tale pantomime! This year's treat is Sleeping Beauty-The Deliriously Dreamy Family Musical. The beauty is Kinky Boots star, AJ Bridal and playing her best pals are Alexandra Beaton and Taveeta Szymanowicz of Family Channel's The Next Steps. Taveeta and Alexandra were in rehearsals but took time out to share some insights into their roles.

donna g: Were either of you familiar with pantomime before being cast in Ross Petty's version of Sleeping Beauty?
Taveeta: Yes! I saw Ross's production of Peter Pan when I was in Elementary school. I remember having such a lovely time. I was thus very excited when I was cast in Ross's 2015/16 production of Peter Pan in Wonderland last year. I was thrilled to be cast again this year! 
Alexandra: Of course! Growing up in Toronto, going to the Panto at Christmas  time was a tradition for a lot of my friends. I even saw a few myself.
donna g: You both play Bea…

TIFF '15 Interview : Director, Sanna Lenken on "My Skinny Sister"

  My Skinny Sister (Min Lilla Syster) screens as part of TIFF Kids, but this Swedish film about eating disorders is far from being an after-school special. I was especially impressed by the casting of this smart, realistic film with its portrayal of sisterhood and family dynamics.

donna g:You are so right in your Director's Statement that eating disorders are as common in families as alcoholism, yet the subject is never given equal attention.  Based on this lack of awareness, did you have any problems getting this film made or was funding readily available for this project?
SANNA LENKEN: It  wasn’t as hard as I had expected even though we, of course, had some meetings without luck. The main problem was distribution in Sweden. The distribution companies didn’t believe in the film as a commercial product, mainly because of the cast, two young girls, and the heavy subject. I was really scared for a while because in Sweden you can’t get all the money before having a distributor. In t…