It's that time of year again, Fringe time! I'm sure most theatre lovers in our city have already poured over their Fringe guide and circled the shows that they just can't miss. (If you haven't checked out this year's line up of 50 companies and hundreds of performances you can find everything you need at hamiltonfringe.ca)
As a long time fringer, in past years I have found myself seeing 10 or more shows and totally binging on Fringe goodness. However since becoming a parent I've had to be a little more selective when making my Fringe wishlist. This year I found one show that I simply cannot miss: The Lost Years. It instantly resonated with me since it is an exploration of the early parenting years. Are these years lost in the haze of sleep deprivation? Are they years where you often feel lost as life changes sometimes quicker than you can adapt and you encounter situations you never imagined? I decided to ask writer/actor of The Lost Years, Peter Gruner, what the play is all about.
"The Lost Years is about one couple's journey through parenthood. It is told in a series of snapshots to give you a feeling of glancing through a photo album of emotions. It is definitely inspired by our experiences with parenting, but also dramatized, exaggerated, and with some things completely fabricated." As a fellow artist right in the middle of the haze of the lost years myself the next big question on my mind is: How? How do you balance not only family and work responsibilities but also art? "Balancing family and art? That is definitely easier to do when the kids get older, but it is important to carve out little bits of time here and there... I think it's important too for your kids to see that you are involved in things."
Gruner is starring in The Lost Years alongside his wife of 29 years and fellow experienced actor Deb Deganais. He tells me that although the piece is written by him and directed by Al French the 3 person team had a collaborative spirit when bringing The Lost Years to life. "The lost years aren't really "lost". It's more about how your focus changes from a self-focused perspective to an other-focused perspective." he tells me andI couldn't agree more. You may have seen some of Gruner's other plays in previous Fringes including Minced, Laund-o-Mat at the End of the World and Mommy's Mask.
"There is definitely art at the other side of the lost years! And the lost years help inform your art." He reassures me. I can't wait to see the roller-coaster ride of parenting brought to the stage at Artword Artbar this week.
Have an amazing festival fellow fringers!