60 mins | Rated 14+
The Problem With Opera
Content Warnings: Reference to minor injury, reference to disembowelment.
Created & Performed by Terry Knickle
Directed by Mark Vetsch
Tchotchke the Gig’s got problems! And they’re ready to sing about it. After all, inside each one of us is a dramatic tenor waiting to be the last one to belt it out. This work is derived from ‘Tchotchke the Gig in Sweet Milk’ originally created with the support of the 2022 Play the Fool Festival's Rookie Cabaret program and Christine Lesiak
Terry Knickle (they/he) - Performer/Writer
Terry Knickle (they/he) is a non-binary transmasculine vocalist, improviser, and clown. Way back in the day, they studied opera at The King’s University with Merla Aikman and then pursued jazz and contemporary music at MacEwan University with Julie Golosky while still singing the soprano 1 parts. In 2021, they received a full scholarship to Opera Programs Berlin’s Trans* Voices lectures, masterclasses, and showcases with Dr. Stephanie Weiss to deepen their understanding of their newfound baritone voice. From 2015 to 2018, Terry was a cast member of the 11 o’Clock Number at the Grindstone Theatre in seasons 3 through 5. Since studying the art of Pochinko clown with esteemed Canadian clown Jan Henderson, they have enjoyed combining the ridiculousness of opera with the honesty of clown, presenting their original musical-clown works in the clown showcases and Niteclubs of Nextfest from 2020 to 2023. Recently, in 2022, Terry performed the original clown turn Sweet Milk in Play the Fool Festival’s Rookie Cabaret as coached by Christine Lesiak.
Mark Vetsch (he/him) - Director
Mark is a theatre artist and educator in Edmonton, AB. He loves to develop new works and has a passion for clown, physical comedy, and improv – all of which he has performed and trained internationally. Mark has been creating/performing/directing physical-based and site-specific shows with Thou Art Here Theatre since 2012 and is currently an Artistic Associate with the company. Mark has created original physical comedy/clown pieces for a number of companies including: Thou Art Here Theatre, Freewill Shakespeare, Fort Edmonton Park, Nextfest, Kaliedo Festival, Trickster Theatre, and Play the Fool. He is also an improviser and has performed with Grindstone Theatre, Blackout Sketch Comedy and DieNasty Soaps (among others). Select performing credits: Little Women and Spring Awakening (SATCO), Almost Maine (Vanguard Collective), Much ado about Nothing (Thou Art Here), 2 Clowns 1 Bed and One Man’s Trash (Play the Fool). Select directing credits: Civil Blood 2023/2024 (Thou Art Here), Pretty Boy: the musical (SkinnyLove), Spring Awakening (Scona Theater Co.), 11 O’Clock Number (Grindstone Theatre).
The Radical Re-Education of Generation Z, Internet Hygiene and Being AFK
Batrabbit Collective, Edmonton, Alberta
Written by Abby McDougall & Dayna Lea Hoffmann
Performed by Abby McDougall
Directed by Dayna Lea Hoffmann
The veil between the internet and our reality is stretched thin and we need to acknowledge it. The spokesperson for Gen Z, ily, will be examining this through a multimedia neo-bouffon monologue where she takes us through personal experiences that allow us a glimpse into her anxiety-inducing online world, internet hygiene, and how she manages her online persona in tandem with the one she uses IRL. ily (Abby McDougall) sits on a swivel chair on stage, presenting her wildly important lecture in the style of ted talk/tight-twelve. She starts a projector and an equally unhinged PowerPoint presentation slides by as she monologues. The visual aid helps the audience get in touch with ily’s inner thoughts and a generation far removed from reality.
Batrabbit is a collective based on Treaty 6 territory created by emerging artists Dayna Lea Hoffmann (she/her) and Abby McDougall (she/her): two University of Alberta BFA graduates. The collective also features Katie Yoner and Joseph McManus who are not featured in this project. Together, they have been collaborating on clown-focused theatre and film for the last three years. Their focus as a collective is to explore clown, comedy, and gender.
As a collective, Batrabbit seeks to challenge the gender binary and the idea of femme and non-binary bodies in comedy; a historically male-dominated artform. Their body of work includes six clown short-films, The Radical Re-Education… a multimedia neo-bouffon performance which premiered at Skirts-a-fire 2023, Two Pin Idiot the juggling slapstick street performance. Two Pin Idiot was created for the Edmonton Fringe Outdoor Stage, and has since been showcased at the Late Night Cabaret, Fort Edmonton Park, and front page of the Edmonton Journal. Following this, Hoffmann and Yoner were hired as Artists in Residence for Play the Fool Festival and created Rat Academy (2022), on which McManus was hired as director. Rat Academy (2023) toured NextFest, Edmonton Fringe and Vancouver Fringe.
Joylyn Secunda, Vancouver, BC
In The Routine Joylyn Secunda finds the comedic catastrophe in life’s futility. A lonely office worker faces the countless slings and arrows of a pointless job. But unexpectedly they tumble into a magical world.
Created & Performed by Joylyn Secunda
Directed by David Secunda
Mime coaching from Dean Evans
Joylyn Secunda (they/them) — creator/performer
Joylyn Secunda is a physical theatre artist, actor, dancer, and puppeteer based in Vancouver. They have performed their solo physical comedy, The Moaning Yoni, 50 times in cities across Canada. They recently starred as Scrooge in A Wonderheads Christmas Carol (The Wonderheads), and as Zephyr in Crisis on Planet Z (Monster Theatre), and also performed as a puppeteer in The Breathing Hole (National Arts Centre). Joylyn was mentored by Crystal Pite during their Startle Reflex Residency. They are a BFA Acting graduate from UBC and have studied clown with John Turner (Mump & Smoot), puppetry with Peter Balkwill (Old Trout) in Banff, mime with Dean Evans (Cirque du Soleil), and devised theatre at Dell’Arte International. joylynsecunda.ca
David Secunda (he/him) — director
Originally a visual artist specializing in fibre arts David Secunda transformed into a performance artist as he experimented in ritual style performance art at art show openings and conferences. Through the 1980's David Secunda performed physical theatre, experimented with giant woven fibre masks and puppets, and toured nationally
and internationally with Imago and Theatre of Giants. In 1989 he became a theatre arts teacher in Coquitlam. After retiring from teaching he has appeared in several films and plays. He is publishing two novels this year, Balancing Act and Fluid. He is the director and co-writer of The Moaning Yoni and is excited to be collaborating on The Routine.
Dean Evans (they/them) — mime coach
Dean Evans is a Los Angeles based performer, writer, and director. They were named one of the top 50 'players' by New city magazine. They have performed with the Second City, iO, 500 Clown, the Goodman, Cirque du Soleil, and as a solo artist. They are an ensemble member of the Neo-Futurists. In 2019 Dean made their Off Broadway directorial debut with the ensemble Mil Grus. They are the founder of LA’s The Nonsemble. Dean is known for their alter ego Honeybuns. Honeybuns has enjoyed their own career performing in NYC, Chicago, Moscow, Austin TX, and Los Angeles. Dean has created over a dozen full length theatrical productions, 3 full length circuses, and over 100 comedic pieces.
IMPORTANT: Our community includes artists and patrons who are immunocompromised and/or live with chronic health conditions. As a result, all Play the Fool staff, artists, volunteers and patrons are subject to these Health policies.
This is a mask friendly performance. Masking will be optional for the audience while seated in the performance space.
Note that masks are still required in the Backstage Theatre lobby and other indoor Festival areas.