The Artword Festival of the Human Voice:
How many ways to tell a story?
23 performers, 12 events in double-bills
May 24-June 10, 1995

How many ways to tell a story? Artword presents a three-week festival of story, music, opera, theatre and art. Twenty-two artists in eleven events in fourteen different double-bill combinations -- plus an art exhibition. Produced by Artword Theatre (Ronald Weihs, Artistic Director and Judith Sandiford, Managing Director and Lighting Designer).

Artword Festival of the Human Voice (1995): The Shows

1. The Storyteller at Fault, with storyteller Dan Yashinsky and fiddler Oliver Schroer. (Wed. and Thurs. May 24 and 25, and Wed. June 7, at 8 pm.) A storyteller must save his life when his mad king invents a memory machine that can remember stories more efficiently than the storyteller. A fiddle and hammered dulcimer - and some doo-wop audience choruses - accompany the storytelling. The Storyteller at Fault was a Critic's Choice at the Edmonton Fringe Festival.

2. An Ambiguous Innocence, a new chamber requiem by William Beauvais commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Kent State University tragedy. (Wed. May 31 at 8 pm, Sunday June 4 at 2 pm, and Wed. June 7 at 8 pm.) With soprano Linda Eyman, tenor Alan Gasser, violist Julian Knight and guitarist William Beauvais. This intimate work contemplates a social tragedy and its consequences. Also a new song cycle, Four Love Lyrics, composed by William Beauvais with poetry by Robert Priest.

3. Singular Parents: Three Stories of Growing Up with Two Extraordinary People, by storyteller Joan Bodger. (Thurs. and Fri. June 1 and 2, and Thurs. June 8, at 8 pm.) Joan Bodger illuminates her 20th Century life by interweaving it with myth and folk tales. Two chapters and a narrative poem from a book Joan is writing about her unusual life story.

4. The Niece's Tale, by storyteller Shawna Watson. (Thurs. May 25, Wed. May 31, and Thurs. June 8, at 8 pm.) Shawna's story is a response to The Wife of Bath's Tale, from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. What happened to the woman who was raped? The Wife's niece tells of one woman's quest to rediscover her voice/power after she has been sexually assaulted. An inspirational story for our time which explores violence against women, women's solidarity and the magic of story to transform us.

5. Hartzedike-Lider (Heartsongs), traditional Jewish music by actor/singer Allan Merovitz and musician Brian Katz. (Fri. and Sat. May 26 and 27, at 8 pm.) Hartzedike-Lider brings together well-loved Yiddish songs with original stories of Jewish Canadians, by turns entertaining and poignant. Cossacks, bubbies, zaidas, ghosts, rabbis and cowboys dance with Jewish melodies as the Mayseh (tale) unfolds.

6. Bassan, meaning "broom" in the language of Africa's Ivory Coast. (Wed. May 24 at 8 pm, Sun. May 28 at 2 pm, and Sat. June 3 at 8 pm.) Yolande Sery, Jean-Paul Ako Béché, Justine Gogoua and Emmanuel Douho create a spectacle of traditional music, dance, song and storytelling. From the essence of Ivory Coast culture, "Bassan" has wrought an art as universal as the household tool they're named after.

7. Cu'Fu?, stories from a Sicilian family, by Calogero (Charly) Chiarelli. (Sun. May 28 at 2 pm, Sat. June 3 at 8 pm, and Sun. June 4 at 2 pm.) "Cu'Fu?" is a Sicilian response to bad salami or the origin of the universe - and most everything in between. Through storytelling, singing and harmonica play- ing, Calogero Chiarelli unfolds his Sicilian-Canadian reality full of warmth, tragedy and humour.

8. The White Horse, a concert with story by Ardeleana. (Fri. and Sat. June 9 and 10 at 8 pm.) Fine chamber music woven with poetry and song, with cellist Brenda Muller, flutist Laurie Glencross, pianist Ann Edwards, and actor Carolyn Guillet. Music by Damase, Fauré, Gardiner and others. Poetry and stories by Brenda Muller. Broadcast on the CBC and toured in Ontario, this popular program uses mythical images in a whimsical and intensely personal response to the goddess Demeter.

9. The Miller's Tale, by Chaucer, told by Dan Yashinsky. (Thurs. June 1 at 8 pm.) One performance only of this fabulous and bawdy tale told in Middle English by Toronto's renowned storyteller.

10. Songs that Tell Stories, a concert by alto Theodore Gentry and pianist Eric Cobham. (Fri. June 2, 8 pm) Theodore Gentry possesses a rare and beautiful male alto voice. The program ranges from John Dowland songs to Schubert lieder to French Canadian folksongs and black American spirituals.

11. Japanese storyteller Miki Sakurai. (June 3 at 8 pm) A special guest appearance. Sakurai tells traditional stories in Japanese and English using the Kamishibai Theatre picture box to illustrate the stories. She is President of the Japanese Storytelling Association.

12. Still Life in an Earthquake, an exhibition by Anthony Arnold of acrylic paintings on canvas. Arnold's sources are a wild and wonderful mix of Japanese woodblock prints, comic books and Greek myths, and - rare in the art scene - a wry sense of humour.

The Artword Festival of the Human Voice (1995): Who's Who

Anthony Arnold (Still Life in an Earthquake) is a painter who has exhibited in Toronto, New York and Chicago. He is the creator of "Le Flâneur's Diary" and "Roly's Windbags" for Artword magazine. He is one of the founding members of the Necessary Corrective Collective, an irreverent trio of visual artists who poke fun at the art world. The Collective performed their opus No Mo' PoMo at Artword Theatre last fall.

Bassan means "broom" in the language of the Ivory Coast. This troupe of four extraordinary performers, Yolande Sery, Jean-Paul Ako Béché, Justine Gogoua and Emmanuel Gneon Douho, creates a spectacle of traditional music, dance, song and storytelling. They draw on the traditions of Ivory Coast culture to create a universal art form. Founded in 1987, Bassan has performed in Africa, England, Europe and North America at numerous music, theatre and puppetry festivals. The four have also been members of the Ki-Yi group, a pan-African group of performers that toured internationally. The group Bassan is now based in Toronto.

William Beauvais (An Ambiguous Innocence), composer and guitarist, has worked with some of the finest Canadian musicians, giving premieres with groups such as the Canadian Chamber Ensemble and the Evergreen Club Gamelan Ensemble. In the fall of 1994, a CD made with the noted Canadian violinist Moshe Hammer was released on the CBC Musica Viva label. This was his third CD project. Beauvais has initiated a number of projects that extend the boundaries of traditional guitar repertoire. Working with text and narrators he is developing a concert theatre, including projects with actors Carolyn Guillet and Mhairi Fyfe. Other collaborators include Hedy Minten (choreographer), with whom he will appear at the Art Gallery of Ontario with violist Julian Knight during the month of June.

Joan Bodger (Singular Parents) is a writer and a psychotherapist who has derived strength from storytelling for almost fifty years. She is living proof that acceptance of story is an acceptance of being. Joan is currently writing a book about storytelling and her life. Excerpts have recently been published in Toronto Life and Common Boundary. Her performance Singular Parents is two chapters and a narrative poem from the work-in-progress.

Calogero "Charly" Chiarelli (Cu'Fu?) is an accomplished storyteller and musician who has had several appearances on CBC's "Cloud Nine" and at the Toronto Festival of Storytelling. He is also quite adept at the lost art of setting up pins in a bowling alley, but that's another story. Charly presently lives and works in Kingston, Ontario, but recently he and his family went to Italy for a year where he gigged as a blues/jazz harmonica player. Charly claims audiences are probably still scratching their heads at his rendition of blues tunes sung with Sicilian lyrics.

Eric Cobham, (Songs that Tell Stories), pianist, has been a musical director and performer for a variety of musical theatre productions in Toronto and southern Ontario. He has been a faculty member and adjudicator at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto. He lived in Holland for eight years, where he was accompanist and vocal coach in association with the Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam.

Ann Edwards (The White Horse), pianist, is a new member of the chamber group Ardeleana. As a solo performer, she has given numerous piano recitals in Toronto. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music, where she obtained a Master of Music degree in Music Performance, studying with Boris Lysenko. She is currently a faculty member of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto as well as being an examiner with their Board of Examiners.

Linda Eyman (An Ambiguous Innocence), soprano,is known for her ease of performance both in concert and on stage. She has appeared as soloist with numerous ensembles, choirs, festivals and other organizations across Ontario and has also been heard in concert throughout Germany, Austria and in Florence, Italy. Her stage credits include Mimi in La Boheme for Opera East (Nova Scotia), a season with the Shaw Festival, and performances with the Kitchener-Waterloo Opera Guild, and Concentus Arts. Most recently, Linda appeared with pianist Stephen Satory in a series of contemporary music concerts at the Music Gallery, the Royal Conservatory Concert Hall and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Alan Gasser (An Ambiguous Innocence), tenor, has sung experimental music in Minneapolis (with LISTEN and for the Minnesota Opera), jazz in Toronto (with Union Station), and the folk and liturgical music of Georgia (with the Kartuli Ensemble and the trio Kavkasia), as well as extensive church and choral work. Mr. Gasser writes on musical subjects for Toronto Symphony Orchestra programs and CBC Records. He is the conductor and artistic co-director of the Echo Women's Chorus, and leads a new Georgian choir in Toronto. He hosts the weekly radio program on CKLN, Nightingale, on Monday nights.

Theodore Gentry (Songs that Tell Stories) possesses a rare and beautiful male alto voice (a natural alto, in contrast to a countertenor voice that uses the falsetto register). He has performed leading roles in RA and Hermes Trismegistos by R. Murray Schafer, in Benjamin Britten's Canticle IV - The Journey of the Three Magi, and Humphrey Searle's opera, Hamlet. He has performed at the Holland Festival, the Guelph Spring Festival, New Music America Festival, Festival of Liege, Belgium, among others, and as a soloist with The English Chamber Orchestra, Washington Choral Arts Society, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, Opera Atelier and the Canadian Opera Company. He recently performed a concert at Christ and St. Stephen's Church in New York presented by the Adonai Arts Foundation.

Laurie Glencross (The White Horse), flautist, is a founding member of Ardeleana. Laurie has performed across Canada, the United States and England. She has recorded for the CBC and other radio stations. A native of Montreal, Laurie received her Masters of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. She has studied with many of the world's most famous flutists including James Galway, Geoffrey Gilbert, Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser, Peter Lloyd and Robert Aitken.

Carolyn Guillet (The White Horse), actor, joins Ardeleana for the first time. She has appeared with numerous theatre companies, including The Banff Advanced Actor's Workshop and Theatre Gargantua. Roles have ranged from Clytemnestra in The Greeks to Cinderella in Bedtime Stories. She has recorded a variety of text and poetry for the CBC and other radio stations. Most recently she performed Mythologies, a collaboration with musicians William Beauvais and Julian Knight, based on poems by Gwendolyn MacEwen.

Brian Katz (Hartzedike Lider), guitarist, pianist and composer, draws on jazz, classical and world musics to form his personal sound. He is acclaimed for his solo performances and collaborations with the late Fred Stone, Jane Bunnett, and the world jazz ensemble Solana. With guitarist William Beauvais, Katz has recently released the new CD Bridges.

Julian Knight (An Ambiguous Innocence), violist,has studied with a number of the preeminent violists of our time, including Jaroslav Karlovsky, Rivka Golani, Lillian Fuchs and Serge Collot. Julian graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Music from Juilliard School of Music. Thereafter he gained professional experience working for the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Canadian Opera Orchestras. In December of 1993 the ensemble Resonance was created with William Beauvais. This partnership has been the beginning of a whole new musical exploration that has seen monthly live to air improvisations on CKLN (a Toronto radio station) and performances at the 1994 Toronto Jazz Festival, the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts and the Artword Centre.

Allan Merovitz (Hartzedike Lider), well known to audiences as the lead vocalist of the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, is also a gifted actor, playwright, storyteller and raconteur. Allan has toured extensively with his one-man theatrical tour de force, If Cows Could Fly.

Brenda Muller (The White Horse), cellist, is a founding member of Ardeleana and its artistic director. Known for her involvement in innovative projects, Brenda has premiered many works of new music and has performed widely as a chamber musician. She has recorded for the CBC and other radio stations. Ardeleana's CD Spinners of Starlight, the first classical CD to feature only music by Canadian women, has been played on major radio stations in Canada, through USA and in Europe. The CD is heard frequently on CBC-FM, where Bob Kerr has called it "a musical gem."

Oliver Schroer (The Storyteller at Fault), fiddler, plays traditional Canadian fiddle and has a strong interest in jazz, improvisation and world music. In 1987 he founded an acoustic and jazz quartet Eye Music that performed in the 1988 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. His current band, Stewed Tomatoes, features some of Toronto's finest traditional, jazz and new music performers and has a busy performing schedule. He is a Juno nominee for his CD "Jigzup". He wrote and performs the music for The Storyteller at Fault.

Miki Sakurai (Special Guest), is the President of the Japanese Storytelling Association and a professional storyteller in Tokyo. She uses the Kamishibai Theatre technique, a picture box that illustrates the stories.

Shawna Watson (The Niece's Tale) has appeared at the Toronto Festival of Storytelling for the last two years. She has performed The Niece's Tale at the Northern Storytelling Festival in Whitehorse, Yukon. In 1994, she appeared in the Storytellers School of Toronto's production of A Night at Boccaccio's. She regularly attends 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling. Fluent in French, she has a special interest in French stories. Shawna leads storytelling workshops in schools and tells stories on radio and at special events.

Dan Yashinsky (The Storyteller at Fault and The Miller's Tale), storyteller, is the editor of Tales for an Unknown City and Next Teller - A Book of Canadian Storytelling. He has performed throughout Canada, the U.S., Europe and Israel, and has told his stories at the Rivoli, the Yukon International Storytelling Festival, and his son's daycare. He co-founded The Storytellers School of Toronto and founded, in 1978, the world's longest ongoing weekly open storytelling session for adults - Toronto's own "1,001 Friday Nights of Storytelling."