Tintamarre tours comedy about memory to Maritime schools

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Performing in Oxford on Wednesday, at E.B. Chandler on Thursday

Founded by professor emeritus Alex Fancy, Tintamerre, Mount Allison University’s bilingual theatre company, will be performing at two Cumberland County schools next week including Oxford on Wednesday and E.B. Chandler on Thursday. 

SACKVILLE, N.B. – What would you do if ancestors emerged from portraits on your living-room wall? More than 3,000 Maritime students are encountering this question as Tintamarre, Mount Allison University’s bilingual theatre company, performs ALBUM during their annual school tour that runs until May 17 at schools across the region.

The group will be performing at Oxford Regional Education Centre on Wednesday and at E.B. Chandler Junior High on Thursday.

Every year, a group of passionate volunteers from throughout the campus create an original, fast-paced, activist comedy that entertains while raising serious questions.

Fourth-year English and anthropology student Bernard Soubry of Montreal says that the school tour, or ‘Tintamarrathon’, “gives us an unparalleled opportunity to connect with students of all ages through theatre, to learn much more about our world, to become a real troupe for a few weeks. How fantastic is that?” 

While 30 students performed in the Mount Allison production, 12 will stage the school version featuring what Alex Fancy, founder-director of Tintamarre, calls “a complex, chaotic family too overcome by the present to have any interest in their past.”

Soubry, for example, plays the eccentric grandfather who is alienated from the family — “I’m connected everywhere, with Facebook friends to spare, but who was my Pépère?”

ALBUM recounts the moving story of a grandmother whose secret love perished in World War Two, and who cherishes his memory while also loving and caring for a large, extended family.

She is played by Rosalind Crump, a fourth-year geography, aboriginal perspectives, and drama student from Ottawa.

She says, “The tour is an amazing way to learn through teaching, an experience everyone should have.”

Fancy adds that, although brief, the Tintamerre scripts are multi-faceted, and that ALBUM is a comedy that gives spectators an opportunity to reflect on “all those influences that can interrupt our connection with the past on the eve of the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, such as the 21st century short-term memory crisis and our fictitious family’s inability to make ends meet on a day-to-day basis.”

Teachers receive a learning kit, and performances are followed by an audience talkback. Tintamarre’s unique collaborative process will also be shared through workshops in several schools. 

Music for the show has been composed by Luke Trainor, a third-year history, philosophy, and religious studies student from Moncton and by Amber Tucker, a fourth-year honours English and drama student from Pasadena, N.L.

David White, a fourth-year English and French student from Oakville, Ont. is assistant director and plays all the mysterious people who live in the basement.

Tintamarre’s goals are to celebrate our differences and the role theatre can play in our world. The tour is supported by the Crake Foundation, Leadership Mount Allison, Mount Allison alumni and other friends of theatre and Tintamarre.

Organizations: Mount Allison University, Oxford Regional Education Centre, Crake Foundation

Geographic location: Maritime, Oxford, Mount Allison Montreal Ottawa Moncton Pasadena Oakville

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