1. What does the Pencil Salesman mean to you?
The Pencil Salesman is, for me, a wonderful opportunity to work again with excellent artists in a community I've come to care deeply for. There are many themes in the Pencil Salesman that encourage deep introspection. It is very satisfying to be a part of a new work from its inception, and to see how the input Brian has asked for helps to shape it while still remaining true to his vision.
2. What is favourite medium for communication (beyond talking/singing in person) and why?
My favourite method of communicating, besides talking in person, is texting. My kids tend to answer them lol
3. What has influenced you during your work on this opera?
A combination of things always influence my process in learning a new piece. Instinctively I draw on my past work in Mozart operas and contemporary works as well. Increasingly I am influenced by my work in film. The acting style is very different from that of stage and I see that shaping my view of my character, Flo. She provides comic relief and I want to keep her truthful and guard against her becoming a caricature.
4. When did you start working on the project and what is your process like for a new work?
Brian approached me several years ago when it was just an idea and so I've been involved from the beginning. I start with the story, then move to learning notes, then flesh out the character and hone my musicianship.
5. What other projects do you have coming up?
I return to the Festival Of the Sound for the opening opera gala in July.
Connecting is as simple as letting go.
John Fanning – Boris
Donna Bennett – Rose
Alexander Dobson – The Pencil Salesman
Olivia Rapos – Violet
Virginia Hatfield – Daisy
Keith Klassen – Edward
Gabrielle Prata – Flo
Robert Longo – Aaron
Daniel Warren – Conductor
Michael Mori – stage direction
Caroline Langill & Gord Langill – stage & costume design
Andy Thomspon – sound design
Gord Reid – lighting design
The Story: All is rosy with Boris Ball. Or so it seems. The patriarch of a family of inventors, Boris lives blissfully in the past, in the beloved company of his wife Rose and his prize invention, the Personal Touch Typewriter. But ever cynical of the frenzied world of technological advancement swirling dizzily around him, Boris becomes increasingly oblivious to the challenges ripping his family apart. It is up to a wayward pencil salesman who draws him into the present by introducing him to someone he never knew: his own granddaughter. Is connecting really as simple as letting go?
Get the details on our Connecting Through Song Week including a Vocal Intensive with Michael Warren and workshops & seminars in conjunction with performances of The Pencil Salesman.