Editor and Publisher turns into Author and Performer!
Though Doug Gibson offered proof that he can spin quite a yarn on the page in Stories About Storytellers , and in Across Canada By Story, he then went one step further, taking his stories to the stage for all of us to enjoy. The first two stage shows were based on the books, and, like the books, are STILL AVAILABLE. (See BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR BOOKINGS )
Stories About Storytellers, the first one-man stage show, has now run well over 100 times, right across Canada, from Haida Gwaii to Newfoundland, and has also appealed to audiences in Beijing, Shanghai, Mexico City, and London.
From Fall 2015 he has also performed the second show, Across Canada By Story, well over 60 times, in many provinces, with new events at Literary Festivals, Libraries, Bookstores, Universities, Schools, and Cultural Groups almost every week .
But now, to celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial, he has created a NEW STAGE SHOW, ONE NOT BASED ON A NEW BOOK.
150 YEARS OF GREAT CANADIAN STORYTELLERS . . . 1867-2017
A new stage performance by Douglas Gibson.
The new show — again created with the help of Anthony Jenkins — celebrates our greatest storytellers since Confederation . . . English, French , and Indigenous.
Staging the lively, surprising show will strike many people, in many communities, as a fine way to celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial.
The power-point show follows our history decade by decade. Each decade begins with a burst of popular Canadian music from the time. To further set the scene, on screen we see a familiar photo from the decade (“Ah, yes, that was the time of the Klondike Gold rush”), and then several iconic pieces of Canadian art from the time, by people like Cornelius Krieghoff, or Lawren Harris, or Mary Pratt.Then the burst of music stops and the Jenkins caricature of the chosen author fills the screen, while lively stories (“stepped out in front of a train”) or (“boiling his moccasins to make soup”) about the author and his or her best book are excitingly told.
Usually, in each decade only one novelist or short story writer in French and one in English will be chosen. Inevitably, this means that the show will be controversial (“How could you possibly leave out X from the 1980s?”), but Doug Gibson will be happy to provoke spirited debate about our best authors. And while the show will be in English, everything on the screen, such as book titles, and their titles in translation (“Kamouraska and Kamouraska , you say?”) will be bilingual. We all may learn more about our great French authors, and about our epic Haida storyteller, Skaay, revealed to us by Robert Bringhurst.
To learn more about booking the show, AT ANY POINT IN 2017, FROM MAY TO DECEMBER, contact Jane Gibson at email@example.com or 416 489 1929
NOTE FOR POTENTIAL BOOKERS
Covering Canada’s major fiction writers from 1867 to 2017 is a hugely ambitious project. The first part of the show runs for 60 minutes, when we reach 1967, and have a 15-minute Intermission. The final 50 years (1970-2017) runs for 30 minutes, so the entire show runs under two hours.
BACKGROUND ABOUT THE EARLIER SHOWS
From coast to coast to coast (Ungava Bay, aboard an Adventure Canada cruise ship!) former editor and publisher Douglas Gibson has given over 160 performances of the dramatized versions of his first two books. Against the backdrop of the brilliant author caricatures by Anthony Jenkins (of Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau, and many others) he has told behind-the-scenes stories about the men and women writers he got to know well.
Internationally, he has taken his show celebrating Canadian authors to Scotland and England (where in London he fell off the Canada House stage, a West-End triumph) to Beijing, to Mexico City, and beyond.
For an idea of the stage show, watch Doug Gibson talking about Pierre Trudeau:
POSSIBLE OPTIONS FOR YOU TO CHOOSE
THE FULL 90-MINUTE STAGE PLAY, IN A THEATRE, LISTED THUS:
STORIES ABOUT STORYTELLERS: An Evening with Doug Gibson, and Many Famous Canadian Authors
(Prepare to Meet Alice Munro, Pierre Trudeau, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, John Diefenbaker, Mavis Gallant, Hugh MacLennan, Peter C. Newman, Brian Mulroney, Morley Callaghan, Paul Martin, James Houston, Peter Gzowski, W.O. Mitchell, and many more)
OR ACROSS CANADA BY STORY: A Coast-to-Coast Literary Adventure
(Prepare to go across the country, province by province. Along the way you’ll meet authors like Margaret Laurence, Gabrielle Roy, Grey Owl, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Trevor Herriott, W.O. Mitchell, Andy Russell, Carol Shields, Jack Hodgins, James Houston, Margaret Atwood, Marshall McLuhan, Linwood Barclay, Edna Staebler, Alice Munro. Michael Ondaatje, Alistair MacLeod, Wayne Johnson. and many more.)
These one-man shows have Doug Gibson, in traditional Publisher’s uniform of navy blazer and grey flannels, strolling about the stage — from a podium, to a chair at a desk/table, to an armchair — telling stories about the authors he got to know well in the course of his 40-year career as an Editor and Publisher, ending as the Publisher at McClelland & Stewart.
Each of the authors he discusses at length appears on a central screen behind him, in a lively caricature specially created by the mischievous Tony Jenkins. Bursts of music also enliven the show, which can be adapted from the full version, which runs almost two hours (including a 15-minute Intermission) all the way down to a tantalizingly all-too-quick 20-minute tour.
In short, the show can be tailored to fit the venue, and the occasion, and the time available — although Writers’ Festivals in Ottawa and Edmonton and Moose Jaw, for example, chose the 60-minute show in a 200-250 seat theatre. Almost every Writers’ Festival in the country snapped up the show.
At the end of the show, an autographing session in the foyer is an important part of the proceedings, as Doug Gibson signs his books.
The staging requirements are very simple. A travelling body mike, a projector and a prominent screen (to show the caricatures stored in his PowerPoint laptop, which he, or his “Techie”, Jane , operates via his own long-range slide changer), and the podium, desk and two chairs noted above. For the musical “stings,” he can if necessary supply his own small desktop speakers.
The evening has been described as “unique,” and “hilarious,” and “full of great stories,” the kind of show that could only come from someone with such a long and fascinating 40 year career working behind the scenes with some of the most memorable men and women of our time.
A SHORTER VERSION OF THIS STAGE PLAY, ADAPTED TO SUIT TIME & VENUE REQUIREMENTS
This is also based around the PowerPoint presentation of the Tony Jenkins portraits of the authors, although it can also be performed without any electronic enhancements.
It can run as short as a (too-rushed ) 20-minute summary, with little time for good stories about each author, to a 40-minute or 60-minute version. Times are variable, and can be adapted to suit. Question and Answer session available at the end.
TWENTY-, THIRTY- OR FORTY-MINUTE TALKS, WITH Q&A FOLLOWING
Suitable for any venue, including lunch. Potential topics include:
- “Great Canadian Fiction Writers Up Close: Working with Hugh MacLennan, Morley Callaghan, W. O. Mitchell, Mavis Gallant, Jack Hodgins, Alistair MacLeod and Alice Munro — and Others.”
- “Canadians Who Changed Our Country: Working with Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, Bob “Greenpeace” Hunter, Peter C. Newman, James “Igloo-Dweller” Houston, Paul Martin, Peter Gzowski — and Others.”
- “How Stephen Leacock Has Ruled My Life” (Given at the Leacock Summer Festival in July 2011, this talk shows how Leacock brought D. G. to Canada, and even helped to find him a wife!)
- “What Happens After My Book Is Published?” A rueful look at the horrors of Murphy’s Law in the book trade
- “Harder Than I Thought: A Publisher Tries To Write A Book.” Rueful is the operative word here.
Shows can be sponsored by bookstores, by literary festivals, by clubs (as in Toronto’s Arts and Letters Club) or by professional associations, such as the Editors’ Association of Canada .
For event bookings and information please email JANE GIBSON firstname.lastname@example.org .