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Stephen Leacock's "My Discovery of the West" Re-Tour 2017
by Voyageur Storytelling
Leslie Robbins-Conway and Paul Conway
from Northern Bruce Peninsula
Weaving Edifying Garlands of Mariposies and Unsolved Riddles
Revised September 7th, 2017
Repertoire for our 2017 Leacock Re-Tour
|On his western tour Stephen Leacock performed 32 times, and we have a rough idea what he performed in each place, or at least its title. Further archival research is under way, and should prove fruitful, because the file of clippings from the tour (now lost) is said to have contained more than 250 items. Searches of newspaper archives should bring them to light.
The repertoire that we will assemble for the Re-Tour will not duplicate his, of course. We are not planning to impersonate him. We will perform pieces that he wrote, in our own style, and tell some stories about him. We have done this before, as you can see from our 2015 concert called "A Pocketful of Mariposies".
For the Re-Tour we will take a fresh approach, however, adding new repertoire and polishing the old.
Stephen Leacock has always been a somewhat enigmatic figure for those who delve into him, and the more we find out the more enigmatic he becomes. For example, Professor Ed Jewinski has called "Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town", Leacock's most famous book and considered by many to be his best, "a supreme achievement of fragmentation, incompleteness, and inconclusiveness". What's the difference between that and a plain mess? An amusing mess, for sure, but still ...
Such considerations, however, need not bother us in a Leacock storytelling concert. Even a plain mess can make a good story, as can the life from which they grew. Beyond those possibilities he wrote some highly crafted small masterpieces that perform very well. We will have enough to give our Re-Tour audiences what they want to hear, and fully deserve.
We have pretty well achieved a full schedule in each port of call. We offered eight programmes, of varying kinds. Some attracted more interest than others. A few attracted none at all, or nearly. We have therefore removed them from the list. From here on we will concentrate on the six that remain.
Programmes for the 2017 Re-Tour
A "Mariposie" is a story or other performance piece by or about Stephen Leaock.
"Talk-and-Tell" events mingle nosegays of Mariposies with questions and conversation,
|Dr. Leacock, I Presume?||Meet and Chat sessions for press and public to open the Re-Tour in each port of call. We introduce Stephen Leacock, his 1936-37 tour, and our Re-Tour||"'Professor Stephen Leacock,' said the chairman, every chairman, from Fort William to Victoria,—needs no introduction.' Owing to this bright thought, I never got any."|
|A Field of Mariposies : Great Works of Stephen Leacock in Performance||Full concerts, as dinner theatre or on stage.||"Personally, I would rather have written Alice in Wonderland than the whole Encyclopedia Britannica."|
|A Garden of Mariposies : Brilliant Shorter Works of Stephen Leacock||Recitals or dinner concerts where we perform between courses with mingling and conversation before, during and after||It takes a good deal of physical courage to ride a horse. This, however, I have. I get it at about forty cents a flask, and take as required.|
|The Unsolved Riddle(s) of Stephen Leacock||Leacock Talk-and-Tell for Public Libraries and similar occasions||"Do not ever try to be funny, for it is a terrible curse. Here is a world going to pieces and I am worried. Yet when I stand up before an audience to deliver my serious thoughts, they begin laughing. I have been advertised to them as funny, and they refuse to accept me as anything else."|
|Historical Stephen Leacock : What he did to History and what History did to him||Leacock Talk-and-Tell for Museums and Historical Societies||"I did not realize that the old grave that stood among the brambles at the foot of our farm was history.|
|Stirring the Occurring : Stephen Leaock and the act of artistic creation||Leacock Talk-andTell for authors, writers, and storytellers.||"Writing is no trouble : you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself—it is the occurring which is difficult."|