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The March Hare - Words & Music from Newfoundland - Friday 3 March 2017

Old Foolishness to brighten these dreary days

It’s been a bit of a dreary week, this almost end of winter. Some of you may have been away to the sun, but the rest of us are yearning for sunshine. We get a welcome break this week when the March Hare crowd from Newfoundland hits the road and comes to town. On Friday night, after a gig in New York City, and then Toronto, they will perform for us from the stage of the Charles W. Stockey Centre.

Singer and songwriter Pamela Morgan, novelist and poet Michael Crummey, storyteller and recitationist Dave Paddon, actor and comedian Andy Jones, actor and writer Mary-Lynn Bernard, and Playwright Robert Chafe will fill the stage with the words and music of Newfoundland.

Andy Jones is well known for his appearances as one of the groundbreaking members of the Newfoundland comedy troupe CODCO, in both its theatrical and television incarnations. He has been a professional writer and actor for over 40 years. You’ll have seen him in a leading role in Rare Birds, and as the lecherous Mr. Armstrong in Random Passage.

In recent years, as well as his theatrical work, Andy Jones has been writing award winning picture books for all ages with stories of Jack, and his daring adventures, drawn from the history and mythology of Newfoundland. 

This year we will miss our usual Master of Ceremonies, Rex Brown, who has been grounded by hip replacement surgery in Newfoundland. Mary-Lynn Bernard has stepped in as host.

Mary-Lynn Bernard is an actress of stage, film and television, and has been involved in the St. John’s theatre scene since 1980. She is also a puppeteer performing across the country along with her husband, Andy Jones. Mary-Lynn Bernard is instantly recognizable for her role as the feisty Sarah Vincent in Random Passage.

Robert Chafe is a storyteller, award winning playwright and Artistic Director of Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland known for their daring and innovative work. His most recent production, now on tour, is The Colony of Unrequited Dreams based on the novel by Wayne Johnson.

Robert Chafe’s work is drawn from the true and extraordinary stories of Newfoundland, and hot off the press is his collection of short stories Two Man Tent.  Described as “elegantly written, beautifully structured” and “with a delightful sense of the absurd” these stories are a marvelous debut from a talented writer.

Last spring on the Bonavista Peninsula I attended an evening of music by Jim Payne who talked about growing up in Newfoundland. The adults would be gathered around the kitchen table as he listened from the top of the stairs. He told us that in those days their stories and songs were called “old foolishness” but these days are called “folklore”, and he’s heard you can get a master’s degree in it.

What we are getting on Friday evening will be a lot of old foolishness from several masters of the art – an evening not to be missed! 

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