The 2nd Artword Festival of the Human Voice
(How many ways to tell a story?)

15 performers, 10 events in double-bills
May 8-18, 1996

The Artword Festival of the Human Voice -- a two-week extravaganza celebrating the many ways to tell a story -- is back for a second year! More than fifteen performers in 10 events are combined in a different double-bill each day, for 8 days. Events range from song to dance, from theatre to storytelling, full of surprises and delights.

Artword Festival of the Human Voice (1996): The Shows

1. The Most Incredible Thing: storyteller Lorne Brown tells the Hans Christian Andersen story about the power of art to conquer tyranny. Banned during the Nazi occupation of Denmark (1940-45), the story was circulated by the underground. Brown tells two other tales about art and music triumphing over adversity: The Ballad of King Orfeo (evoking the legend of Orpheus), and Elsie Piddock Skips (about a champion skipper in a Sussex town beset by factory builders). (Wed. May 8, at 8 pm)

2. Sound Poetry Improvisations: Nobuo Kubota, a noted Toronto musician, sound poet and installation artist performs solo voice work integrating voice and mouth sounds and facial mime. He is strongly influenced by Japanese opera, contemporary sound poetry and jazz. (Wed. May 8, at 8 pm)

3. Beneath Our Skin: songs written and performed by singer Mhairi Fyfe and keyboardist Archie Hughes explore, with unexpected juxtaposed images, the pain, passion and pleasure that are below the surface of human interactions. (Wed. May 8, at 8 pm)

4. The Journey of Happyfish: guitarist and songwriter Cyrus performs songs and prose, "a philosophical road movie with fins." A blend of sitar-like textures and tones to create a cross-cultural pollination that draws from Indian, Caribbean and Western pop music roots. (Thur. May 9 and Fri. May 17, at 8 pm)

5. Oswald Von Wolkenstein: classical guitarists Larry Lewis (as Oswald) and Brian Katz (as Frederick) tell what really happened to Oswald, the 15th C. musician, and his brother over the past 594 years. Spins off into a zany meditation on the state of the Canada and the world, with a little help from some puppets and a crankee picture show. A Crankee Consort production, written by Larry Lewis and directed by Allan Merovitz. (Thur. May 9 and Fri. May 10, at 8 pm).

6. The Moorish Queen's Servant: noted ethnomusicologist and performer Judith Cohen sings Sephardic ballads from the Judeo-Spanish tradition, with medieval fiddle, Middle Eastern oud and percussion, and weaves in stories about the ballads and how she learned them. (Fri. May 10 and Sat. May 11, at 8 pm)

7. Sweet Marie: a play remembering the life and music of Canadian vaudeville and movie star Marie Dressler (1868-1934), written and performed by actor-singer Sharon Marie Dyer, with pianist Derrick Lewis, co-written and directed by James Howard. A showcase presentation of the first act of the play takes us from Marie's first public appearance at age 3 where she learned the power of making people laugh, through highlights of her career as Queen of Vaudeville, to selling Liberty Bonds during WW1. Grand old songs, and the fascinating story of a remarkable entertainer, who went on to a career in the movies, Tugboat Annie, Dinner at Eight, Tillie's Punctured Romance. (Sat. May 11 and Wed. May 15, at 8 pm)

8. Fire and Ice: selections from Balder's Dream, the Norse myth of creation, told by Carol McGirr. In this epic, Balder, the god of light and beauty, describes his dreams of the beginning of time when there was no earth, "from the north came layer upon layer of ice and from the south came tongue upon tongue of fire," and foresees the destruction of the world - a tale of rich images and high language. (Wed. May 15 and Thur. May 16, at 8 pm)

9. Build a Person: a spell-binding journey through the emotions, by a cappella singers The Wellington Lambert Trio (Susan Davy, Shelley Hines, and Greg Lambert). Through vocal acrobatics, the trio reflect what we all feel as we search for independence and a reason for existence. The show combines material from the trio's first CD release Agnus Dei with new songs from their upcoming release, presented for the first time in a theatrical setting, with images by Toronto artist Manon Gosselin. (Thur. May 16, and Sat. May 18, at 8 pm)

10. Echo and Narcissus: A Mirror for Our Time, a 20th C. look at the legend of the woman Echo who becomes only a voice surrounding us, and the man Narcissus who falls in love with his own reflection. A collaboration conceived and directed by Ronald Weihs, choreographed and performed by dancers Hedy Minten and Michael Du Maresq, with recorded electronic music by Eugene Martynec, and a collage of computer images and sounds. Is our sense of self manipulated by cultural media around us? Have we become obsessed by images of the icons of desire? Have we lost the ability to communicate with someone else? (First presented as an Artword work-in-progress March '96.) (Fri. May 17 and Sat. May 18, at 8 pm)

PLUS: Artemis Café, written by Brenda Muller, a cabaret with Artemis, Eurydice, the goat and other beasts - a shadow world where poetry, songs, satire and fairytales (not for children) mingle with music (improvised and classical). Performed by actor Carolyn Guillet, cellist Brenda Muller, flutist Laurie Glencross, and mezzo-soprano Nancy DeLong . (Fri. & Sat. May 24 & 25, at 8 pm).

Artword Festival of the Human Voice (1996): Who's Who

Lorne Brown (The Most Incredible Thing, #1), storyteller, singer and 5-string banjo player, has been active in the storytelling community for many years. He co-founded The Storytellers School of Toronto in 1979 and is active in the national organization, Storytellers of Canada/Raconteurs du Canada. He recently formed The Ballad Project, dedicated to performing the traditional folk ballads in sung and told versions. He is editor-in-chief of Appleseed Quarterly, the Canadian Journal of Storytelling.

Judith Cohen (The Moorish Queen's Servant, #6), singer and ethnomusicologist, is involved with Judeo-Spanish Sephardic music both as a performer and as a scholar. She has travelled widely doing fieldwork recordings in Spain, Israel, Morocco, Istanbul, Thessaloniki, Paris and Canada. She performs, and lectures on, various musical traditions, including Judeo-Spanish, Yiddish, Medieval, Hispanic, French Canadian, Balkan. She also teaches music at York University.

Cyrus (The Journey of Happyfish, #4), guitarist and writer, has been a professional musician, singer, songwriter and producer for more than ten years. Originally from Madras, India, Cyrus draws from his eastern and western experience to create his unique musical pop sounds. His track "Dance, Dance, Dance" is on the Mariposa '95 compilation CD (track 5). He is the recipient of a Toronto Arts Council composer's grant. His first co-write "Lonely in a Crowd", has been picked up by Peermusic Publishing.

Susan Davy (Build a Person, #9), singer and actor, is known for her stage, TV and film work. Her film credits include Camilla, Devlin and the lead role in Color Me Blue. As a singer Susan has performed across Canada, US and Europe and has recently released her second single as a solo artist. As a member of the Wellington Lambert Trio, Susan has discovered a true blend of artistic and personal satisfaction. After five years of singing just for the love of it, it has to be magic!

Michael Du Maresq (Echo and Narcissus, #10) is an independent dancer/choreographer based in Toronto. He developed the role of Narcissus in Artword's workshop presentation of Echo and Narcissus in March. He presented his latest works Homopoly (at Dancers for a Small Stage) and Treading Light (at the '95 Fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists) to critical acclaim.

Sharon Dyer (Sweet Marie, #7), actor, singer and playwright, has worked in most major theatres across Canada. She has portrayed Auntie Mame in the musical Mame, Bloody Mary in South Pacific, Peggy in O.D. on Paradise, Molly in Thin Ice and Kate in Brighton Beach Memoirs. On television she was part of the critically acclaimed CBC series 9B and received an ACTRA Award Nomination for her work in Slim Obsession, For The Record on CBC. Her play, Sweet Marie, was first developed for the Muskoka Festival in 1994. This is the first presentation, outside of workshops, in Toronto.

Mhairi Fyfe (Beneath Our Skin, #2) is an actor, singer and songwriter. She starred in Artword's 1994 production of me2, based stories by Alberto Moravia. Other roles include Beatrice in Middleton's The Changeling, and the daughter in Kolpack's Dragon's Teeth. She has taken a two-year hiatus from theatre to train as a Swedish massage therapist, but has continued her singing and songwriting partnership with Archie Hughes. They can be heard on the upcoming CD Shiver Logic by the Molly Blooms.

Shelley Hines (Build a Person, #9), is many things to many people - manager, composer, singer, voice-over artist, actor and owner of Shelley Hines Creative, a Toronto-based publicity/communications/ management firm serving the arts (check out SHC/ for more about Shelley). She has performed with the Wellington Lambert Trio since its inception in 1992. She enjoys the creative challenge that the trio presents - its bold emotion and unusual blend of theatre, music and movement is a departure from Shelley's more mainstream works.

Archie Hughes (Beneath Our Skin, #3), keyboardist and composer, plays with the local Celtic rock band Taliesin. He also composes scores for small films, and composed and performed the score for the Artword production of me<J240>2<J0>, starring Mhairi Fyfe. He and Mhairi have been writing and performing songs together for three years.

Brian Katz (Oswald Von Wolkenstein, #5) is a guitarist, pianist and recording artist who has made a career of improvisation. He draws on jazz, classical and world music to form his personal sound. He is acclaimed for his solo performances and collaborations with the late Fred Stone, Jane Bunnett, Allan Merovitz and the world jazz ensemble Solana. With guitarist William Beauvais, Katz released the CD Bridges last year.

Greg Lambert (Build a Person, #9), singer and writer, founded the Wellington Lambert Trio with Susan Davy and Shelley Hines five years ago. Greg writes all the trio material and then the pieces evolve as the group workshops them. One result is the trio's 1993 CD release Agnus Dei. They are now exploring a theatrical component in their show at Artword. Greg has also written and recorded several solo releases, a self-titled release in 1989 and 2.5 Children in 1991.

Derrick Lewis (Sweet Marie, #7) is a pianist, organist, teacher, conductor, singer and trombonist. He has performed with Boyd Neel in Toronto, Robert Kraft in Los Angeles and Boris Brott in Hamilton. In 1978 he won the Louis Applebaum Award for Best Musical Direction for Gilbert and Sullivan's Gondoliers.

Larry Lewis (Oswald Von Wolkenstein, #5), guitarist and writer, is co-founder of Crankee Consort. He as toured extensively as a musician and actor in Ontario and northeast US with five different Crankee Consort productions. He has also composed and performed scores for Theatre Columbus, The Twelfth Night, and Cascade Theatre.

Carol McGirr (Fire and Ice, #8) is a noted Toronto storyteller. She founded the Fireside Epic series to promote the telling of epic tales in an informal setting - the tale of Havelok the Dane is the most recent evening. Carol has told a wide variety of stories in many different venues, including festivals, schools and art galleries. She also teaches a summer course in storytelling at Canadore College, North Bay.

Hedy Minten (Echo and Narcissus, #10) is an independent dancer, choreographer and teacher in Toronto who has made her mark through works of committed intensity and has been described as "singular in her subtle expressiveness." (Dance Connection Magazine). This is her second collaboration with Ronald Weihs - she choreographed and played the role of Criseyde in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde in 1995.

Ronald Weihs (Echo and Narcissus, #10), director and playwright, founded Artword Theatre in 1993. In addition to concerts and multi-disciplinary events, the theatre has produced three full-length productions: Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (1995), a theatrical treatment of Chaucer with piano score; me2 (1994), a play based on stories by Alberto Moravia; and Mama Says You Are What You Do (1994), a musical by Weihs. Artword also produces the Artword Festival of the Human Voice (how many ways to tell a story?). As a playwright, Ronald Weihs is known in Toronto for The Wobbly, a collaboration with George Luscombe at TPW and The Beavers, for Native Earth and Theatre Resource Centre; and in BC for Hands Up! (The Bill Miner Story) for Caravan Stage Company. He wrote and directed the musical Highball! that toured logging communities in BC.