In turns hysterical and heartbreaking, frantic and thoughtful, international Fringe icon TJ Dawe breathes life into the mundane as he recounts working three dead-end jobs.
On Apr. 21 and 22, 2018, Dawe will tell three rapid-fire stories about three horrible jobs he’s done in his life, in The Slip-Knot. The common threads of these three stories are sure to resonate with you from being the new person on a job, to the gut-wrenching feeling of having made a big mistake, to trying to make a long-distance relationship work, and even white-knuckling it on a crazy road trip.
With only three mic stands, holding three lights that are overlaid with coloured gels, Dawe performs a spellbinding monologue that never misses a beat. The three interwoven stories he tells are set apart by the three different coloured lights, and as he stands in front of them he begins to recount three entry-level jobs: as a merchandiser at Shopper’s Drug Mart when he moves to Toronto in 2000, as a Trace Mail clerk at Canada Post in Vancouver three years earlier and driving construction bins three years before that. The stories all run parallel, and as he moves between the coloured lights to tell another piece of the story, they all begin to connect.
“The exceptional thing about the show is the way that he’s telling three stories from different points in his life, from different jobs that he had. The way that the stories interact, weave around each other and refer to each other in different ways that you don’t fully understand until the end of the show, is incredible,” says Chris Reid, who’s Chilliwack Cultural Centre’s Technical Director and a big fan of Dawe’s work.
“Through the entirety of the show, it’s jumping back and forth through time and different jobs, creating a picture that isn’t complete until the end. Then you get to see all of the connections, and how it all ties together. It’s a really cool journey to go on as the show progresses.”
Playwright, director, actor, and dramaturg, TJ Dawe has a name that’s become synonymous with Fringe. He regularly performs his fourteen autobiographical solo shows around the world, has won numerous awards for his work. His play Toothpaste & Cigars, written with Mike Rinaldi, inspired the movie What If, which starred Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliff. The Canadian Theatre Review has called him “Canada’s most prolific writer of autobiographical monologues,” and it’s no surprise why.
“TJ Dawe is an amazingly expressive storyteller. He has excellent timing and the way that his speech flows captures audiences and paints clear pictures for you. You can envision entirely what he’s saying,” said Reid.
“The experiences he relates are things that everyone has gone through or know someone who has gone through it. It’s incredibly relatable, so he really tells excellent stories.”
In addition to his performance while in Chilliwack, Dawe will guide a group of aspiring solo show performers through the process of How to Create Your Own Solo Show with a two-day intensive workshop, on Apr. 21 and 22.
Local participants will have the opportunity to join the award-winning playwright/actor/director to learn how to turn their ideas into a solo performance piece. The class runs from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., and costs $200. Registrations are still open.
Come journey with the incomparable TJ Dawe as he mans a giant truck, becomes the unhelpful voice on the other end of the phone line, and compiles euphemisms while he stocks the shelves in a drugstore. The three stories are lighthearted, then anxious, then outrageous, but always parallel. He effortlessly shifts the mood so that you can see the hilarity of the working world.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $25. To purchase yours, or to register for How to Create Your Own Solo Show, contact the Centre Box Office, online at ChilliwackCulturalcentre.ca, or by calling 604-391-SHOW(7469).