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Toronto Improvisors Orchestra Celebrates Gwendolyn MacEwen
May 26, 2019 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm$10
The Toronto Improvisers Orchestra (TIO) celebrates Canadian poet and author Gwendolyn MacEwen with a
performance of her verse- plays for radio “Terror and Erebus” and “Tesla”, with members of the TIO, a score for Tesla
by composer Eugene Martynec and actors Rod Campbell and Randi Helmers, who between them have had many
years experience in Canadian theatre from the original Toronto productions of The Phantom of the Opera and
Ragtime to the Tarragon Theatre, National Arts Centre, Canadian Stage and the Stratford and Shaw Festivals.
Terror and Erebus
Terror and Erebus are the two ships from the ill-fated 1845 British Royal Navy Franklin Expedition, recently
discovered south of King William Island in the Canadian Arctic. Inuit knowledge was central to their discovery.
MacEwen’s play tells of their three years lost in the Arctic described as “being an account of the search by
Rasmussen for the remains of the Franklin expedition”.
Tesla is MacEwen’s play about Nikola Tesla 1856-1943. It was Tesla’s invention of the polyphase alternating current
system that was directly responsible for harnessing the power of Niagara Falls. He launched our modern era of
Electricity, Radio and Robots. “The namesake of our company is the genius Nikola Tesla, an inventor, electrical
engineer, and scientist. Among his life’s many inventions (and more than 700 patents) are the induction motor and
alternating-current power transmission. Without Tesla‘s vision and brilliance, our car wouldn’t be possible” Tesla
Gwendolyn MacEwen is a Canadian poet and novelist born in Toronto in 1941. She wrote twelve books of poetry,
two novels two collections of short fiction, a travel book, drama for radio and theatre, translations and children’s
fiction. Among the many awards she received were two Governor General Awards for poetry. She died in 1987.
Permission to use her material has been kindly provided by her estate.
“In reading Gwendolyn MacEwen’s poetry it is a temptation to become preoccupied with the original and brilliant
surfaces she creates at the expense of the depths beneath them” – Margaret Atwood
The Toronto Improvisers Orchestra (TIO) has been an essential element of the Toronto improvised music scene
since 2010. Drawing from an incredible pool of local musicians and guiding them primarily with the ‘conduction’ series
of hand signals created by Butch Morris, the TIO serves both as a musical blank canvas for composers and
improvisers, and as a unique, ever-changing experience in non-idiomatic free improvisation.