Blog on the creation of “The Incomplete History of Tom/Canada.”

My intention with this blog is to share my experiences as I write and research Canadian history for my upcoming one-man show, “The Incomplete History of Tom Canada.”

As regularly as I work on this project, I will end my day with an update. I will show my research in all its varying forms, discuss what parts of the stories I hope to use and as soon as I know, I’ll talk about how I will portray these stories. I will show how I develop characters. How I mix in music, dance, video etc to make up an entertaining production.

So, let’s see how this will work, shall we?  “The Incomplete History of Tom Canada,” will follow my life, with all its victories and warts and show how what we experience in life is inexorably linked with our history.  I was born in Moosejaw, Sask in 1957, the only son of an only son.  My father was a proud Air Force electrician. 

Broken down a little, Moosejaw Sask was very active during prohibition. There are tunnels beneath the town where rumrunners like the infamous Al Capone hid their stock from the governments. In my research I found an article called, Moose Jaw, Sask. Tunnel runner, Laurence “Moon” Mullin http://www.virtualsk.com/current_issue/rum_runner_moon.html.  He tells about _growing up from a boy, small enough to get quickly through the tunnels too his older days running rum across the US border to Minot, North Dakota, for Capone. This looks like a wonderful character choice to tell about prohibition and its effects on Canada and Canadians.

Let’s look at 1957:  During the Election of 1957, the opposition parties depicted the Liberals as arrogant and unresponsive to Canadians' needs. Controversial events, such as the 1956 "Pipeline debate" over the construction of the Trans Canada Pipeline had hurt the government.  Parallels to today?

Also in 57:    I share a birth year with Rick Hanson, New York Islander Mike Bossy (first player to score 50 goals in rookie season), singer Loreena McKennitt, 76 Olympic gold medalist in giant slalom skiing Kathy Kreiner (our only gold), French Canadian actor/comedian Michel Barrette (“Les Boys” & “How to Conquer America in One Night”), author Eric Walters, wrestler Bret “the hitman” Hart and comedian Colin Mochrie (he was actually born in scotland)

(it is also the year Osama bin Laden was born)

First Frisbee produced by Whamo+

Dr. Suess publishes “The Cat in a Hat”

White Rock secedes from Surrey BC, following a referendum

Diefenbaker becomes 13th Prime Minister of Canada

University of Waterloo is founded

The International Atomic Energy Agency is established

The Avro Arrow is unveiled to the public

“Leave it to Beaver” debuts

Pearson receives Nobel Peace Prize

Humphrey Bogart and Elliot Ness died in 57 (oddly, both were characters in my acting career)

        

And then there is the RCAF; growing up a military brat had the unintended consequences of moving around much more than most people. It meant always having to leave friends behind and meet new ones. When you do meet new people, they almost always ask, “So, where are you from?” and the answer usually includes not just a place name but, also what was significant about that place. What was the history?

What was it like to be a military wife in 57?  My Mom was refused the vote by the CCF because she wasn’t from Sask – she was “just the wife of an airman.”

There are lots of Canadian stories I can access to tell from these few facts about my life.  Some are meant for later in the telling of “The Incomplete History of Tom Canada,” some won’t make the final cut for the show.  As I intimated earlier, the show will loosely follow my timeline (although I suspect there will be lots of jumping around) and I will touch on, discuss, portray or otherwise examine 100 stories from the history of Canada during this 100 minute performance.

I hope you will check back regularly and join me on the journey of creating a solid entertaining play.

In the interest of transparency, I should reveal that this project has been in the works since mid-summer, 2013 when I decided I would like to have a part in the celebration of Canada's 150 years in 2017.  My creativity took me to this plan and I have spent countless hours deciding how I would like to express myself.  I have written the timeline of my life, recorded countless notes about some of these events and all but settled (my least favorite word in the English language) on which stories I would like to relate. However, I have been pleasantly surprised in discovering parts of our history that I had no idea existed and so this list is ever evolving.

Parts of my time over the next few years of blogging my progress will be spent coming up with a credible and strong marketing plan, promotional scheme and figuring out and bringing to fruition an artistic and somewhat unique technical plan.  I look forward to sharing these elements with you as well as the writing. They are all a part of what it takes to write and produce a production.


 


Comments

04/21/2014 9:04pm

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07/23/2017 6:41am

Canadian history might me very interesting! In school I was not learning it.

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