Twitter has become my go-to source for breaking news. If it happened, that's where I'll hear about it first. This morning I became immediately curious when "DePape" kept popping up through my feed. Could it be?... 2008 was a good year for shows at the Ottawa Fringe Festival. That year I was doing This Is A Play by Daniel MacIvor with Evolution Theatre, but I remember seeing a lot of other great stuff. That was the year of Nadine Thornhill's The Wedding Night (BTW, check out my interview with Nadine on her blog now!), Die Roten Punke rocked the house at the Alumni Auditorium, A Leave of Absinthe, Crude Love, and some incredible solo performances in Jayson McDonald's Boatload and Brigette DePape's She Rules With Iron Stix.
Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVED Boatload. It definitely impacted me both as an audience member and as a performer. I never realized until then that one person could do so much on stage with so little and still tell a beautiful and compelling story. But the one that really stuck with me, the one that made me go "Holy Shit!" was the quirky and charming tale of a baton twirler who, when she got angry at the world, threw recyclables in the trash.
Brigette DePape was 19 and this was her third Fringe show. She wrote and performed in her first one-woman show when she was 15. FIFTEEN! And she was now going on tour. When the show was over, I wandered over to the beer tent absolutely gobsmacked (and feeling rather old and inadequate at the ripe ol' age of 27). But after seeing She Rules With Iron Stix. I knew two things: I wanted to write/perform in a one-woman show and I wanted to take it on tour.
I didn't know what I wanted to write about until much later, but at some point before then I contacted Brigette to get her advice. We had tea and talked about theatre and travel and our plans for the future. Once again, I was instantly taken in and inspired by this smart, charming, passionate and beautiful soul. And I couldn't help thinking, I was not this brave at 19.
It's a few years later and I'm getting ready to finally present my one-woman show at this year's Ottawa Fringe Festival (What can I say? I've always been a late bloomer), a show that I hope will go on tour next year, when my eye catches a familiar name sliding through my Twitter feed: DePape... Once again, your passion and bravery never ceases to amaze me.
You can read up on what happened by clicking on her name above, or you can Google her like I did. And if you do, you might come across this awesome little piece that Brigette wrote herself for Guerilla Magazine about Iron Stix. I got a little choked up when I made it to the end of the article:
But there was another kind of payoff for me. After seeing Iron Sticks, an Ottawa actress who’s always wanted to do a one-woman show decided she’s going to do her own in next year’s Fringe. Just as the lonely piano player chatting with a dead bird inspired me, my lonely twirler conversing with her baton inspired someone else.
You totally did, B. My show which opens in less than two weeks? I dedicate to you. Roller Derby Saved My Soul? Nah, Brigette DePape did.