The American South and its icons hold a curious fascination for even those who live very far away from the Mason-Dixon Line. To me, there is something appealing about the contrasts and duplicity. Southern Gothic writers seem to put their finger on it – wild individualism set against the fabric of community, pious faith next to reckless abandon and the notion of fallen gentry. The Civil War, fought only 150 years ago, is an epic demonstration of a national divide fought to the death. In a former life I spent the better part of a year in and around Nashville and got to take it all in first hand – the magnolia blossoms, the thick heat and the many kindnesses of strangers. It was thrilling and foreign, wonderful and weird and left a lasting impact. While it’s hard to sum up, you can feel it when you’re there and, the beauty of Johnny Cash is he let us hear it.
Johnny Cash’s music and the songs he sang bring together so many strands of a growing nation finding its groove. He was a wild gentleman, a rustic poet, a saved sinner – call it what you might – Cash was a American icon that was unique through many eras. “The thing about Johnny Cash,” wrote Anthony DeCurtis in the Rolling Stone, “is he was both Saturday night and Sunday morning.” His music still kicks it today.
It’s been a thrill to work with such a talented and intuitive cast on this tribute. In it, there are Chemainus favourites that have thrilled us in years past, as well as new local sparks and some good old’ boys from the other side of Canada. Enjoy the show.
Mark is a proud resident of Vancouver Island and has enjoyed directing Sherlock Holmes, Jeeves in Bloom, A Pretty Girl (A Shayna Maidel), Delicious Lies, Harvest, The 39 Steps and Amadeus for Chemainus Theatre Festival. Other favourites include: A Christmas Carol, Strindberg’s Easter, Anne, Mr. Pim Passes By and Pet the Fish. He has collaborated with companies including Theatre X, Pacific Theatre and TheatreOne to develop over a dozen new plays. Favourite acting credits include: Mass Appeal, Enchanted April, Queen Milli of Galt and Streetcar Named Desire.