Navigating rage

Tara Bradbury
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Mary Walsh’ s one-woman show inspired by pop culture, politics and capitalism

A mother travelling across the country to find her lost child and finding the child she has always had. A woman, going blind, starts to see. A little girl struggling to find her place in the world.

What do they have in common?

Mary Walsh.

Walsh’s new one-woman play, “Dancing With Rage,” is a narrative story of stories, with Walsh as the common thread.

Miss Eulalia Turpin, Dakey Dunn, Mom Reardon, Connie Bloor and the infamous Marg Delahunty — all Walsh’s most popular characters are included, as she navigates the rage she says is inspired by pop culture, politics and capitalism.

“There are some new characters, there’s a quest, and there are some political ambushes,” Walsh told The Telegram, declining to get much more specific about the details of the show. Some of the politicians she ambushes will hopefully be local, she said; none of them will be ones she’s ambushed before, except, perhaps, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

“We’re using film and I think we’ll probably use a little slap of that one at one point,” she explained.

Walsh is a native of St. John’s best known for her work with CODCO and as co-creator of “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” — the CBC show for which she filmed the infamous Ford ambush last October, making headlines when he called 911.

She has been involved television in shows such as “Hatching, Matching and Dispatching” and “Mary Walsh: Open Book,” and in films such as “Mambo Italiano” and “The Divine Ryans.”

Six years ago, she made her directorial film debut with “Young Triffie,” a dark comedy starring Marthe Bernard which earned Walsh acclaim.

Her last theatre appearance was in the Toronto production of “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” directed by Karen Carpenter, who’s also directing “Dancing With Rage.”

The show was born from a desire to get back to the stage, Walsh said, and a need to tell a story.

“There are things you can do on stage that you can’t do on TV,” she explained. “The stage is much more magical, isn’t it? You’re there with 200 people in the audience, all on one big journey. On the stage, anything can happen. Anything magical that happens in the theatre is there because of the imagination of the people who are watching, so you engage in this big thing where you’re all imagining together and it’s a wonderful experience. TV is very practical, very day-to-day, but anything magical that happens, you know it’s just CGIs (computer-generated imagery) or whatever.”

“Dancing With Rage” has been held over for six more shows at the LSPU Hall, now playing Feb. 9-26 before a run at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille March 6-31.

Other venues are interested in the show, but Walsh and Carpenter haven’t decided whether or not they’ll do an extensive tour.

Walsh isn’t quite sure what Marg Delahunty has that’s making audiences clamour to see her, but she has her ideas, and they speak to the state of the country under the current government.

“One would hope it’s because Marg is somehow saying things they would want to say,” she said. “We’re mostly just powerless and we want to speak to power and we never get to, particularly in this climate where the prime minister only does photo ops and nobody’s allowed to ask him a question. On the odd occasion when somebody gets to ask something, it’s pretty good. You feel you may actually be living in a democracy as opposed to a hypocrisy.

“I’m sure Mr. Harper is not a fan of Marg. I’m sure Margaret Wente and whatever her name is, Christie Blatchford, is not very fond of Marg. I don’t think it’s particularly Marg, but anybody who says anything these days. They’re very touchy, aren’t they? You can’t even say, ‘Hello Mr. Ford, I came up from St. John’s to see you.’ It drives people right over the edge, they’ve got to call emergency services.”

Tickets for “Dancing With Rage”  are available at the LSPU Hall box office, by calling 753-4531, or online at On Twitter, tweet #bemyvalentinemarg for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Feb. 14 showing. Twitter: @tara_bradbury


Organizations: CBC

Geographic location: Toronto

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