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So on Monday night, May 25, I was duped into attending the Harold Awards in Toronto, having been told by Anna Chatterton (one third of the Aunties) that Karin Randoja (the other third of the Aunties) was getting an award, and we had to be there to help in the ceremony.Â Â Turns out, I was the one who was begin given an award – and it was a total and complete surprise to me up until the very moment it was being given.Â The Ken McDougall Award is given out at the Harolds every year by Theatre Passe Muraille, Buddies and Platform 9 Theatre, to a “promising emerging director”.Â In it’s 15th year for this award (16 for the Harolds), and I have to say, it feels like quite an honour to be in the company of the list of past recipients.
As David Oiye was introducing the awardee, before he said who it was for, he gave a list of descriptors and then of accomplishments and projects, and it literally took me several moments of thinking, “now that’s a kind of strange thing to say about Karin…” until it dawned on me that it wasn’t Karn… it was me.Â Â Seems the whole night of the Harolds is all about duping:Â the challenge being to get the people being “Harolded” to the party without them knowing that’s why they have to be there.Â The prizes (with the exception of the McDougall award) are handed down peer to peer:Â basically if you get Harolded one year, you pass it on the next, to a colleague who you want to acknowledge.Â It’s a really personal and really generous and really beautiful (and quite druken) event / tradition that only the theatre community could pull off. Â I loved being part of it.
As a super-grass-roots affair, doesn’t seem the Harolds or the Ken McDougall Award have any official website, but you can get the gist by looking at the Facebook page, or Praxis Theatre also has some entertaining stuff to describe.
Next up directing projects, you ask?Â Well…the 5th Annual PrideCab youth project at Buddies gets on stage June 17th at Buddies in Bad Times, and myself and Chy Ryan Spain are in the midst of putting that on it’s feet.Â Â Then I’m off to the Yukon, to work with Sour Brides on a new project.Â Also, the Emergency Monologues, by Morgan Phillips (which i “directed” last year at SummerWorks..I say “directed” because mostly I just laughed and said “do it again!”) plays again several times in the coming weeks as fundraisers, and then again at the Toronto Fringe.Â That show is really excellent and hilarious- which has little to do with me, and everything to do with Morgan’s genius as a storyteller (and paramedic).Â There’s a nice article in the EYE about it, check it out.