Fresh Meat: DIY Theatre Fest: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with Fresh Meat.
Megan Carty: My first engagement with Fresh Meat was last fall. I had recently taken the summer lab intensive at One Yellow Rabbit in Calgary so I was very jazzed about creating my own experimental theatre. I was currently developing a one-woman physical theatre/verbatim piece called Me and My Monster for which Fresh Meat was the perfect platform. The experience with the festival was so tremendous and it was a gift to have a supportive platform to share art straight from my heart. For that reason, I decided to participate in Fresh Meat's Weekend Inventive the following winter with The Gold One.
Tess Mc Manus: Before Fresh Meat came along, I was fascinated with theatre creation - but it was something I'd never tried before. Knowing that that was where my interests lay, I joined a few touring shows on the Fringe circuit to get a better idea of what was being created across Canada at the grassroots level. I watched upwards of 70 shows, and the more I watched, the more confident I felt that I could create something, too. So the following year I threw together a humble attempt at a solo show called Donkey Derby, which toured the Fringe circuit, gaining critical acclaim and was encouragement for me to keep creating.
On that circuit, I was approached by Jonah and Tony. Less than a month before the very first Fresh Meat, I was performing Donkey Derby in Edmonton, and started working on the new show. That year, I offered up Tales She Tells, and the next year came Who Will Separate Us? The festival was a perfect platform to try out both: two brand-new ideas, and the barebones of could-be shows.
FM: What does your Fresh Meat project look like now?
Tess Mc Manus: Tales She Tells has undergone so many levels of evolution it's remarkable. The first, its premiere at Fresh Meat 1, where I tried to cram a lesson in Celtic Mythology and two epic stories into 15 minutes. The second, I toured the Ottawa, Regina, Winnipeg, and Edmonton Fringes in its full-length version. Of course, in Regina I got into a bike accident and broke my jaw, so my amazing stage manager Lydia Riding continued on with the tour, learning an 8 000 word solo show and an Irish accent in less than a week (she makes it look so easy). For the third, I was approached by the Artistic Director of the Ottawa Storytellers to book the show at the NAC's 4th Stage. It went up as Straight From The Harp, featuring a harpist and a soprano, and was a promotion of Irish culture as the original script had intended. Now, in its fourth incarnation, on Oct 2nd at the Richcraft Theatre at the Shenkman Arts Centre, it will feature storytelling and the harp. With every new rendition, it's getting better and better.