Beach Metro News, Toronto - July 29, 2014
by Jon Muldoon
Beach-raised Alex Eddington will be performing an extended version of Yarn, the show he performed at last year’s Fringe Festival, as part of the SummerWorks Performance Festival in August. East End theatre and puppetry power couple Tyler Seguin and Helen Juvonen are director and assistant director, respectively, for the show.
The solo performance combines true stories, puppetry, music and live sound design in an autobiographical story exploring the effects of isolation. Eddington spent a summer working on Scotland’s Isle of Mull, and the show follows his travels into superstition and magical thinking as he becomes obsessed with the mystical energy of standing stones. The story is framed by a traditional Scottish ‘yarn’, about a young man who is blown across the sea into a new life.
The play will run at Majlis Art Garden, a sheltered outdoor garden theatre space which will be decorated by long strands of yarn suspending instruments and props. The sounds of the outdoors in the city become a part of the show.
The 80-minute show runs at 7:30 p.m. from Aug. 7 to 10 and Aug. 12 to 17. Tickets are $15, available at the door or in advance through summerworks.ca. Dress for the temperature, as the Majlis Art Garden, 163 Walnut Ave., is sheltered from rain and wind, but is not climate controlled.
Dossier: Alex Eddington for YARN and the WindDown Festival
interview with Andrew Gaboury
A Field of Crowns (blog) - June 26, 2013
Q: What kind of atmosphere do you intend to set up, or can someone expect from YARN?
A: I want people to feel at times like the show is really casual – off-the-cuff storytelling, with the stories being remembered just for them. Of course that’s a bit of an illusion – the asides are written in, and I tend to memorize scripts accurately, but I have tried to be much looser about this one. Yarn is written in a thinking-aloud style, and I also use music casually, flowing through everything. I deliberately chose instruments that I’m not an expert on (ukulele, baritone horn, dumbek…). I’m on stage when people come in (in Toronto the audience can come in an hour before the show if they’d like!), practicing my instruments and being in whatever mood I’m actually in. I’m not an expert who performs his thing and ignores you, I’m a guy with an unusual story and we’re in the room together; you have to trust and like me for this story to resonate with you. In Toronto I chose a room that we can’t forget we’re in: the Majlis Art Garden is sheltered (you won’t get rained on) but semi-outdoors, so there will be evening breezes, bedding birds, and the change of sunlight over the course of the show.
I also feel like this show is never done. I’m going to keep working on it over the next years. And when each performance ends, I like to hang out and talk to people. So after performances of Yarn I’m inviting the audience to stay to chat – and then to stay for guest acts each night at 9:00pm: a sub-festival I’m calling the WindDown Festival of intimate performance.
Beachers Prepare for varied Fringe Performances
by Jon Muldoon
Beach Metro News, Toronto - June 25, 2013
Alex Eddington is the man behind Yarn, a show of music and storytelling based on a previous show called Wool.
In 2006, Eddington wrote a performance called Wool, touring it to the Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton Fringe Festivals. At the time he was an experienced composer new at writing. After working on a number of other pieces, the stories told in Wool kept resurfacing, and he felt compelled to revisit and refine the material and create Yarn, which has been in the works since 2009. Eddington jokes in his press material that “perhaps in another seven years, there will be a show called Sweater.”
While Eddington moved to Mull to calm his thoughts and write, he was plagued by a loud inner monologue, which is voiced in the show by a lamb puppet named Buttercup. The effects of isolation became more pronounced over time, though he’s now able to laugh at his younger self.
Yarn features a unique approach to live music, with original songs on ukulele, baritone horn and a number of sound effects created using a battery of “unexpected objects.”
The storytelling matches the music, and was created with the help of director (and Beacher, and fellow Fringe artist) Tyler Seguin (see below).
The venue, Majlis Multidisciplinary Arts, has a unique indoor/outdoor arrangement. The stage and audience are sheltered, yet the audience sits in an ‘art garden’. Ambient sounds from the city become a part of the performance. The show is also timed so the sun sets over the course of the show, transitioning from natural light to lanterns and bike lights.
Yarn runs from July 4 to 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Majlis Art Garden, at 163 Walnut Ave., west of Bathurst between King and Queen. Tickets are $10 at the door or $11 in advance. Yarn is recommended for viewers over 14, and has coarse language.
Each night will be followed by the WindDown Festival, featuring words, music, dance, puppetry, comedy and clowns, running from July 4 to 13 at 9 p.m. Admission is $10 cash, and unlike official Fringe shows, latecomers will be tolerated. Some acts to be featured include Calgary singer/songwriter Amy Thiessen, a clown night hosted and curated by Helen Donnelly, a comedy/storytelling night hosted by Paul Hutcheson, the Array Session Players, a soprano and theremin act by Kristin Mueller-Heaslip and Hillary Thomson, and two open stage nights for Fringe performers.
For more information on Yarn and the WindDown Festival visit Eddington’s website at alexeddington.com. The venue is covered from wind and rain, but has no heating or cooling – please dress for the weather.
Music Gives Way To Theatre
A Toronto composer- turned-actor in love with Edmonton brings his tour de force show to the Fringe
by Piotr Grella-Mozejko
SEE Magazine, Edmonton - August 12, 2010
Alex Eddington laughs so naturally and heartily at his own honest answer it immediately becomes contagious. I cannot resist and join in, so if someone observed us he and I would pass for a couple of crazies.
What’s it all about, lads? Well, perhaps it is not so funny on the surface, but what he just admitted would give many a person in the know a chuckle. Apparently, I just asked a good question: Why, being such a success story in music — he’s even a composer-in-residence with the Scarborough Philharmonic for goodness’ sake! — did he decide to lead a double, or even triple, life both as a classical composer and an actor-cum-playwright? Born, raised and living in Toronto, he nonetheless elected to get his masters degree in music in composition from the University of Alberta, then added theatre stage to his CV and in a short period of time has established an unassailable reputation on the Fringe circuit — and beyond.
“I love being on stage,” Eddington explains, “And more than that, I love being able to control the light, and sound, and feel, and emotion of a space for an hour and to bring people on a journey with me.
“And, there are things I can say through theatrical writing and performance that I cannot say through music, which is inherently an abstract art form.
“Of course, it’s a nice way of saying that I’m a control freak! Performing someone else’s text has let me relax considerably and play with the audience and the space more. I just love taking people on the path of discovery — it satisfies my … mild vanity,” he finishes the sentence with a laughter, which smacks of healthy confidence, not guilt.
“After all,” Eddington adds, “I’ve always been bored with composing only. That’s why I started performing music, a lot of wild, improvisatory stuff, which almost naturally pushed me towards the other stage. You know, there’s an awful lot of musical experience in my acting. There’s this other thing, too, namely giving my audiences a moment of beauty and reflection. I live for and through them.”
When you think of it, there isn’t such a long way from composing for orchestra, which he does so well, to writing plays and acting in other people’s works such as the already classic Tired Clichés by T. J. Dawe.
“I really wanted to bring that play to Edmonton again, a killer text with wicked sense of humour. I already did it here once, but it has matured since. Laura Anne (Harris, the director) and I worked on it very hard and I feel good about it. The play’s become so much fuller in philosophical and richer in interpretive terms, plus it’s better paced. What first lured me into doing it was not only the masterful text, but also the sheer physicality of the play. I can say I’ve finally developed enough stamina to endure the challenge. I just love doing it!”
Those who’d seen Eddington perform Tired Clichés must already be drooling. It’s that good.
A mention in the Edmonton Journal's substantial pre-festival coverage - August 12, 2010:
"There's other Dawe content too, courtesy of Toronto's apparently fearless Alex Eddington, who has the temerity to add sound cues and actual props to a new version of Dawe's spiralling Tired Cliches."
Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/entertainment/Show+Ours+flashes+goods/3388369/story.html#ixzz0wPePPOPa