The Pedlar’s Wager

Sometimes you decide to go to the park for the Farmer’s Market, and you end up taking yourself out on a solo date that couldn’t be more playful and romantic if it tried.

I spent 15 minutes watching a beautiful burly man make two gorgeously intricate flower arrangements. I could have watched him for hours.

I spent some time touring around, experiencing the community-driven magic that is Dufferin Grove Park, appreciating that there were at least ten different passions being explored and enjoyed simultaneously. This ranged from basketball to group yoga to music-video creation to open-fire potlucks to… outdoor theatre.

Clay and Paper Theatre are currently presenting a run of their production “The Pedlar’s Wager;” a whimsical exploration of how we, as a people, have traveled from simple farm-driven self-sufficiency to being mere cogs in the giant wheel of industry. It highlights how the allure of “more” has led us to longer work-weeks, and a drastic separation from the products of our labour. I went to the stationary performance, but there are also mobile versions, which hold the 3 different acts in 3 different parks!

Huge paper mache puppets of “The River” and her exploiters “Baron Boots and his consort Lady Grabsome”,  loom over the heads of an enthralled audience of mostly young families. The versatility of the actors, playing narrators, characters, puppeteers, and stage-hands alike, carried the story along with skillful enthusiasm. By the end, the whole crowd is cheering, clapping, and singing along with the boisterous 3-piece ensemble of multi-instrumentalists (my faves were the accordion, the trombone, and the percussion on the bikes).

For a well-written, properly theatre-ey review of the play, read ‘s in Mooney on Theatre.  She and I both got tearey-eyed in our experience of the play. She, because of her appreciation for the beautiful music and the children’s enchantment with the puppetry and I, because of my deep-felt hope that arts funding not be cut, since productions like this are so incredibly important in the creation and upkeep of community and creativity; two factors I believe might just save our world a little bit.

You should probably experience this, it’s pretty much a lot of wonderful:

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2 comments
  1. Tiffany said:

    Great post. Thank you for reading my review. Glad someone enjoyed it as much as I did. :)

  2. Thank you very much for your understanding and appreciation of the show, Ms? Mr? Bigwood. I’m the Artistic Producer at Clay & Paper Theatre this year and I co-wrote, directed & designed the show as well as various other types of co-ordination & production, with David Anderson and the cast, musical directors, admin staff, and many many volunteers. In other words I poured my life into it this year, and the way you describe what you saw shows that we were able to communicate to at least someone. Perhaps many. Makes me shed a tear!

    Dufferin Grove Park needs support these days as the City parks & rec people are against the way things happen there – please check http://dufferinpark.ca/home/wiki/wiki.php to find out more.

    Also check out the CYCLOPS blog as the Squad’s activities continue past the summer show – they’re the mobile arm of the company.
    http://www.clayandpapertheatre.org/cyclops/

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