Monday, October 28, 2013

The Question...Tommy Taylor (You Should Have Stayed Home)

All You Can Do Is Laugh
by Estelle Rosen

Tommy Taylor is a theatre artist, activist and NGO fundraiser living in Toronto. Recently he was assistant director / video designer on Keystone Theatre’s Dora award-winning silent film meets stage project, The Belle of Winnipeg, adaptor/director of Dear Everybody at the CanStage 2009 Festival of Ideas and Creation and winner of the 2010 InspiraTO 10-minute playwriting competition for Sandwich. Mr Taylor was the director of Vancouver based playwright Jordan Hall’s award-winning Kayak for its North American premiere in the 2010 SummerWorks Festival (CBC and NOW critics pick). He is a graduate of the Centre for Cultural Management (University of Waterloo/ CCCO), The Vancouver Film School and Humber College’s Community Arts Development Program.

Mr. Taylor was arrested (but never charged) and detained during the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto. He has since turned his account of the experience into You Should Have Stayed Home, one of the top shows at the 2011 SummerWorks Festival, now on a cross-Canada tour.

CHARPO: The title says a lot! You spent an unforgettable 48 hours during the G20 weekend in Toronto which is the basis of this piece, with the surtitle  A G-20 Romp. It doesn't sound like a romp! Tell us about those 48 hours. Besides Montreal, you've been touring this piece in Whitehorse, Vancouver, Toronto and later this month in Ottawa. Does your live performance of this story feel like re-living the experience?

TAYLOR: The 'You Should Have Stayed Home' part of the title is based on what a lot of people told me after G20. It seemed like a pretty popular sentiment amongst a lot of Canadians. I titled the play after that in the hopes that people who felt that way would come to see the show. The surtitle, "A G20 Romp" alludes more to the style of the show, which isn't a heavy handed lecture, which surprises people. I've had a lot of folks tell me they weren't expecting to laugh so much at a story about Canada's largest mass arrest. Yes, people find many parts of the show outrageous and sad, but there are some things that happened during my arrest and detention that are so ludicrous, all you can do is laugh. 

It can certainly be a hard story to tell, but I'm very fortunate that there is a scene in the show that features anywhere from 10 to 25 participants who join me on stage as fellow detainees. We've had over 150 Canadians join us on the tour so far to stand up for civil rights, and that's been incredibly powerful. Having those people in each community standing with me is an astounding source of strength. Discovering that Canadians view G20 as not a Toronto issue, but as a Canadian issue has been inspiring. Canadians are seeing the same problems happen in their cities, like what happened with policing of the Quebec Student Protests or the Vancouver Olympic Protests. Anyone who wants to participate when we come to Montreal can email us at - love to have you get in the cage with me Montreal!

You Should Have Stayed Home continues at MainLine Theatre in Montreal October 30-November 2 
Arts Court Theatre in Ottawa November 20-23

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