Evening with Gordon Pinsent draws capacity crowd

Everton McLean
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Gordon Pinsent didn't have to do much Thursday night to garner a standing ovation. As soon as the Newfoundland and Labrador acting veteran took the stage at the D.F. Cook Recital Hall, the capacity crowd stood and paid homage to a man whose body of work spans six decades and everything from the animated "Babar" to the award-winning 2006 film "Away from Her."

But Pinsent soon made it clear that he's not done yet.

Speaking at the event, which was hosted by CBC Radio's Jamie Fitzpatrick and presented by the Newfoundland Quarterly, Pinsent shared anecdotes about how he got into the business, brazenly claiming acting experience when he had none and landing a lead role on the stage because of it.

Gordon Pinsent - Photo by Everton McLean/The Telegram

Gordon Pinsent didn't have to do much Thursday night to garner a standing ovation. As soon as the Newfoundland and Labrador acting veteran took the stage at the D.F. Cook Recital Hall, the capacity crowd stood and paid homage to a man whose body of work spans six decades and everything from the animated "Babar" to the award-winning 2006 film "Away from Her."

But Pinsent soon made it clear that he's not done yet.

Speaking at the event, which was hosted by CBC Radio's Jamie Fitzpatrick and presented by the Newfoundland Quarterly, Pinsent shared anecdotes about how he got into the business, brazenly claiming acting experience when he had none and landing a lead role on the stage because of it.

Between vignettes from plays, films and musical numbers, Pinsent gave the crowd some insight into his views on acting.

Proud of career

Asked how he felt about his career, Pinsent said he's proud of it, although some things were not as good as he'd like.

But he said spending too much time focussing on your past work and recycling it isn't healthy for an actor.

"You can borrow from it, but you can't stay very long," he said.

"Maybe there's a page you haven't looked at, maybe there's another step to take."

And while his profession has had him carry many different names and personas, Pinsent extolled staying true to yourself in your work.

"I never wanted to be a copy of myself or anyone else," he said. "I always believed that if you are leaving the house this morning, or in our business going to an audition to test yourself, you took you with you. You didn't leave him at home to imitate."

Pinsent said he's still working thoroughly, updating his memoirs as well as writing for several projects.

He said he's rewritten the play "Corner Green" as a screenplay "The Hag," examining the Newfoundland myth of the hag that visits men as they sleep. He said the screenplay is "deeper and darker" than "Corner Green."

He also has three other screenplays in the works.

"I'm on a roll right now," he said.

Tribute to hometown

Pinsent finished the evening by paying tribute to his hometown of Grand Falls-Windsor and noting the recent shutdown of the mill there.

"It does something quite strange to you," he said of the loss of the industry. He said that, as a child, he wondered what would happen if everything "just went away."

"Bit by bit I could see things happening, and I took them quite seriously, whether it was forests burning, the cutback of the fishery, of course, and now this Grand Falls situation," he said.

The proceeds from the evening went to the Youth (2000) Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor at Pinsent's request.

emclean@thetelegram.com

Organizations: CBC Radio

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Grand Falls-Windsor, Grand Falls

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  • Riffy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Gordon Pinsent is a legend that is now reaching a whole new generation. There is even a Facebook group ( The Rowdyman ) dedicated to the talented actor.

    It's great that he remains a proud Newfoundlander, through and through.

  • Riffy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Gordon Pinsent is a legend that is now reaching a whole new generation. There is even a Facebook group ( The Rowdyman ) dedicated to the talented actor.

    It's great that he remains a proud Newfoundlander, through and through.