Interview: Deliver’d From Nowhere
by Andrew Alexander
The rehearsals continue in the University of Ottawa campus and space is a hot commodity. When I arrive early for my meeting with the cast of Deliver’d From Nowhere, another production is squatting in the space. They’re evicted by the arrival of Tim Ginley, his cast of three and his stage manager Erika, who all cart in a small load of props for their rehearsal.
|The cast of Deliver’d From Nowhere: Matt Smith, Tim Ginley, JP Chartier, Erika Morey, and Sterling Lynch.|
After settling into the space, we sit down to talk about the show, focusing on a subculture of people who follow Bruce Springsteen as he tours across the country. Tim describes the genesis of the play: “In 1999, I was at a show, where these people exist: these tramps, Murray certainly is one, who follows Springsteen. At the concert I saw, it was two o’clock in the morning, this guy who was a speed junkie had a serious meltdown in the lineup that was supposed to see the show. So I just see this guy explode for no apparent reason. And I’m thinking, what gets a man to that point where he breaks down and loses it, among all his friends, and takes all his anger out on them?”
The play did not arrive overnight: Tim’s developed the script through twenty plus versions of the script, fleshed out characters, then stripped away elements until arriving at the current iteration. The script was then reconfigured to be entered into the 2009 One Act festival of Eastern Ontario Drama League, which saw the arrival of Sterling Lynch as the lead role, and garnered the Academy Theatre Foundation award for Best Director.
Tim wrote the show and is also directing: the show has developed since its performance at the one-act festival, with the assistance of Sterling, a writer and director in his own right. “Sterling and I hashed out [Murray’s] speeches,” says Tim. “We jumped off from the script left from EODL, and made his chunks more interesting.”
The idea of the roving subculture of Springsteen tramps was a novelty for the cast members. “For me, one of the attractions of this piece was this subculture, which I never had any idea about,” says Sterling. “So when I think of Bruce Springsteen – and this was a joke that didn’t make it off the cutting room floor – I had a kind of Dancing in the Dark / Born in the U.S.A. impression of him. So to find out that there’s this massive subculture of people following Bruce Springsteen, I was thinking oh, really? And then I thought, well maybe they’re really Christian or something, but no, they’re drug addicts… crazy wild carny animals or something. So for me that’s the real hook.”
Sterling’s character Murray travels with his childhood friend Churchill, and it becomes apparent that the two characters have little in common other than their childhood. The character is played by J.P. Chartier. “There were so many parts of my character that really could be me,” says J.P, who found an affinity with his character: “I just realized this a short time ago, I had a friend growing up, he was my best friend since day one. As of last summer, we stopped talking, because we realized that besides the past, we didn’t have a lot of future. We didn’t even have a lot of present. It’s a great dynamic that I’m starting to feel and I hope will show through the character.”
The play takes place in a Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV) – the newly christened Janigan studio at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Tim has found producing for a BYOV has not been without its challenges. “Because we’re producing for a BYOV, it has a level of complication that you might not get when you know you’re going into an established place where a show can be shown. This space is totally new, a whole new beast. We’ve taken something that was set on a proscenium arch, moved from one side to another, and have now got the geography of the Janigan studio, very limited space. We can incorporate the audience and get the concert feel that we’re going for.”
While the cast crack jokes about Springsteen, I begin to think of the show as the Springsteen show, and ask Tim about it. “It’s really not the Springsteen show,” says Tim, “it’s as much the Springsteen show as Waiting for Godot is the Godot show. It’s about chasing something: a dream is a dream because it remains untouched. It could be anyone, it could be Barbara Streisand. I’m pulling on strands of his work, the myth he’s crafted – loss and redemption, and a sense of brotherhood that have sounded with me. It’s a faint spirit of him, but that’s why he doesn’t appear in anything.”
Adds Sterling – “Unless you’re a Springsteen fan, in which case, this play is totally about Springsteen…”
Deliver’d From Nowhere can be seen at BYOV 10, The Janigan studio, at the Ottawa Little Theatre (400 King Edward Street).