Monday, August 02, 2010

Reader's Diary #635- Bonnie Jarvis-Lowe: Simon Learns His Vowels

I'm still in Newfoundland and so, I bring you another Newfoundland short story...

My mother owns and operates a dinner theater in Twillingate, Newfoundland known as the All Around The Circle Dinner Theatre (yes, the name is taken from the folk song I'se The B'y). They put off skits, sing folk songs, and serve a traditional meal. Many of those that remember such events say it reminds them of old fashioned Newfoundland variety shows, usually put off by community volunteers during the winter when the fishing season had ended. It was, and for my mom it still is, just a way to have fun and entertain people-- well, okay, it's also a business, but if it wasn't fun, she wouldn't be doing it.

Then I read about other theater companies around the country and what many offer is quite different. My friend Barb often raves about a cutting edge group in Calgary known as Sage Theater Productions. They've put off plays called Filth and Scorched, they've put off plays about serial killers, plays with nudity, and are not afraid to push boundaries. In fact, they seem to like pushing boundaries. I'm sure they want to entertain as well, but their raison d'etre is certainly different than my mom's group. I used to worry what tourists more used to Sage Theatre and other artistically oriented groups would think of my mom's show. But the reviews have consistently been good and I've come to realize that there's room in the world for all sorts of theatres.

Which brings me to Bonn Jarvis-Lowe. Like my mom who isn't setting out to do anything groundbreaking, Bonnie Jarvis-Lowe doesn't appear to set on winning any Gillers or Governor General's Awards with her stories. But like my mom's show, her stories are charmingly entertaining nonetheless. In fact, "Simon Learns His Vowels" could be one of my mom's skits. Can a joke be a story? Why not.

"Simon Learns His Vowels" takes a light-hearted look at Newfoundland grammar and the school system. Such an issue could be a contentious one and many writers could approach it as such, but Jarvis-Lowe just finds the humour in it all.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I have a feeling that people who enjoy Sage Theatre's productions would LOVE your mom's dinner theatre! Yet another fascinating Mutford fact I didn't know, by the way. It sounds utterly charming and by god the comparison makes me want to read this short story. Which I shall, post haste.
(thanks for the shout, friend!)

Teddy Rose said...

I would probably like your Mom's dinner theatre. We were were invited to a dinner theatre in Port Coquitlam for a friends birthday. It was mostly potty humour and we did not care for it at all.

Cute story on vowels.

Here's mine: Extreme Solitude by Jeffrey Eugenides

Anonymous said...

If only we'd known about this theatre when we were in Twillingate a couple of years ago! Stayed at a pefect B&B owned by the most wonderful people: Hazel, Hayward and Melanie. Spent our time watching icebergs and eating fresh crab. My niece is planning a holiday in Nfld -- I've already insisted she has to go to Twillingate. Now I'll insist on your mum's theatre as well. Pan-fried cod (with scrunchions I hope?)...mmmm.