TESSA GILLARD and the THEATRE
LOOK HOMEWARD ANGEL
BENDER: This was from "Look
Homeward Angel" (presented at KCI Feb'62) Our WODL Festival entry...I played Eugene Gant, a teenage boy
(the play and the part of Eugene is based on a segment of the life of the
author Thomas Wolfe) In the play we are poor and my mother runs a
boarding house at the turn of the century, inhabited by a lot of weird
characters. My father is an alcoholic,
mother is a domineering frigid bitch..(Jo Van Fleet
played the part on Broadway-who was sensational in those kinds of roles). I
have a tubercular older brother whom I idolize and who dies early in the play.
The play opens with
Note: Ron Bender won Best Actor for his role in Look Homeward Angel, given by The Western Ontario Drama League.
At the cast party of Look Homeward Angel.
And about those parties… I remember a ten piece jazz band crammed into our living room, complete with upright bass. My dad played the flugel horn so sweet it could make you weep. And all those glamorous theatre people…wearing their sunglasses at night. ~smile~
BENDER: Hi Darlin'! I love that picture of your mother...and of
course at this time I was hopelessly in love with her. This picture was taken at one of the cast
parties after one of the festival presentations of Look Homeward Angel ...I
wasn't trying to look "theatrical" in those shades. My grandmother had just died days before this
was taken and because of all the stress of that and the stress of the
festival, and lack of sleep...I had developed an eye infection. and was very sensitive to light. The seated lady with the
dark dress, was Barbara Kelly...who was one of my
classmates in grade school. She married
the guy who was originally cast in my part, Larry McIntyre...who used to be a
sports announcer for CKCO, and I only got the part
because the Dutchmen were in the finals of the hockey series, and he had to go
out of town to comment on the games. The director wisely double-cast the part
WILL ANY GENTLEMAN
On the back of this picture, is says,
"Tessa Gillard, our director giving last minute instructions to members of her cast prior to dress rehearsal.
(front left) Terry and daughter Katrina. (others, left to right) Pam, Tessa, ?, ?, Ron Schell (affectionately known as Chicky)
And…about my mother directing plays. Often, I would come home from school to find the living room completely void of furniture. It showed up later, on stage, in time for opening night.
1966 – I remember it as being a spoof, with Leo Burns playing Romeo.
Looks like early seventies to me...performed at The University of Waterloo's Theatre of the Arts. I remember watching this play, and gasping over the beauty of my Mum’s dress. It was gorgeous…well, until I went backstage…and it was actually a rust corduroy, pretty haggard beat up thing. God, I love the magic of theatre!
THE PATRICK PEARSE MOTEL
KWLT: The Patrick Pearse Motel, some time in the seventies. Directed by David Antscherl. Thanks for the picture, David.