The Man Dora Chose
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois
Ed Roy's various activities as a theatre practitioner include directing, writing, dramaturgy, acting, teaching, lecturing and producing. During his 25-year career, he has participated in the creation of over 80 theatre productions. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and nominations including the Pauline McGibbon Award for Directing, Dora Award for Outstanding Direction (Including five Dora nominations for Outstanding Direction), two Dora Awards for Outstanding Production (including four Dora nominations for Outstanding Production), and the Chalmers Play Writing Award (including two nominations). As an actor, Mr. Roy was nominated for a Dora Award for Outstanding Performance in VideoCabaret's The Life and Times of Mackenzie King. His is also the proud recipient of Toronto's Harold Award (independent alternative to the Dora Awards). His productions have toured extensively throughout Canada and internationally; New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Great Britain, Wales, Paris (France), Haarlem, Amsterdam, and Tokyo (Japan national tour). Presently, he is developing several new shows including his one-man performance lecture The History of the World, Bully in the Ballroom (a dance/theatre piece) and Blood and Chicken Wings a Rock-a-Billy Musical.
CHARPO: When did you first get the call to do the Gala and how fast did you have to be all over it?
ROY: If memory serves me I believe I was contacted by Jacoba Knaapen [the Producer of the Doras and TAPA's Executive Director] in Sept./Oct.2012 and offered the opportunity to direct the Gala. By December 2012 we were discussing how the Gala had worked in the past, what Jacoba's expectations were and what my responsibilities entailed as basically creative and show director.
CHARPO: How big a team do you work with?
ROY: Ummm . . . let's see well there's Jacoba (who is the final arbitrator of all decisions), the writer Chris Earle, Waylen Miki as musical director, Production Manager Andrea Lundy; Naomi Snieckus and Matt Baram (co-hosts), Blair Francey graphic designer and projection designs, Cameron Davis video designer, 2 stage managers. Then there will be the 16 VIP presenters, 8 statuette carriers, and the TAPA team that coordinates the rest of the GALA from the pre-show party, post show party, etc.
However personally I'm working with 10 people (not including presenters, etc.)
CHARPO: How much are you involved in every aspect: writing, lights, design, presentations, length?
ROY: I've got my fingers in every piece of the pie and am very specific on the "flavour of the show", script, how I want things to look from set design to influencing the design (branding) of the new Dora logo.
CHARPO: Is it crazy-making?
ROY: Not at all. I'm treating it the same way I do when I'm creating or directing one of my shows. I'm always deeply involved with all aspects of my shows so this is par for the course.
CHARPO: Now the Doras are one of the delights of the theatre season - how much do you feel the envelope has to be pushed or is there a formula?
ROY: Well one of the things I emphasized to everyone involved this year with the Doras was that I wanted the show to be contemporary, fresh, celebratory, and entertaining. I wanted to highlight the diverse talent we have in the city, our performance venues, and the city itself.
We are definitely adding elements to the show that have never been done before and we have two extraordinary improvisers to host the show so that's a good start.
I'm definitely pushing the envelope with the encouragement and support of Jacoba and the entire team. With the inclusion of new awards, we have all had to re-think certain elements of the way the shows have run in the past, however Jacoba knows what has worked best in past shows and I'm more than happy to concede to her wise counsel when my concepts might exceed the resources available.