The re­turn of Chris Earle and Ra­dio :30

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The Fringe turns 25 this year, so how ap­pro­pri­ate that one of its big­gest hits is re­turn­ing. Chris Earle’s 1999 show, about a slick ra­dio pitch­man with some moral skele­tons in his closet com­ing un­done dur­ing the tap­ing of a spot, has won sev­eral awards (Dora, Chalmers) and had ex­tended the­atre runs. Now, for a new gen­er­a­tion of theatre­go­ers, it’s be­ing re­mounted with the same cre­ative team (Earle on­stage, di­rec­tor Shari Hol­lett at the helm) at the same venue where it all be­gan: the Tar­ragon Mainspace.

Have you changed any­thing this time around? We’ve up­dated the script with lots of ref­er­ences to Twit­ter and Zumba. And for the tour, the role of the un­seen sound en­gi­neer is be­ing played by a dif­fer­ent amaz­ing ac­tor in each city, in­clud­ing fel­low Sec­ond City alums Paul Con­sta­ble in Toronto and Dana An­der­sen in Ed­mon­ton. What else feels dif­fer­ent? Be­ing older has given my per­for­mance more weight. I don’t mean grav­i­tas – I mean weight. Has any­one else done the show? (And what’d you think?) There have been pro­duc­tions at the Hyde Park The­atre in Austin, Texas, and the Hal­i­fax Fringe. I didn’t see ei­ther but heard good things. And ap­par­ently my sis­ter did an ex­cerpt for her law firm lun­cheon. I’m sorry I missed that. What lo­cal ac­tors do you think would do a bang-up job with the role? Tom Bar­nett, An­drew Moodie or Rick Roberts would ab­so­lutely crush it. Great – now peo­ple are go­ing to watch me and think about those guys. Will you be fly­er­ing Fringe lines? Please – I have lack­eys for that. Do you re­mem­ber the very first ra­dio spot you did? My first ra­dio spot was for a stereo store in Colorado. It took me two and a half sweat-drenched hours to get it right. If you could write an ad for Rob and Doug Ford’s ra­dio show, what would it say? [Boom­ing movie trailer voice]: “In a city par­a­lyzed by chaos and fear, two brothers will rise... and make ev­ery­thing worse.” Your son, Sam Earle, plays K.C. Guthrie in Degrassi: The Next Gen­er­a­tion. Have you ever been called Mr. Guthrie? No, but my wife, Shari Hol­lett, au­di­tioned to play his mom. She didn’t get it. Sam starred in your play Rus­sell Hill. Any fu­ture col­lab­o­ra­tions? For the tour of Ra­dio :30, Sam will be play­ing Mike, the sound en­gi­neer, in Win­nipeg and Van­cou­ver. I’m ex­pect­ing an au­di­ence of puz­zled 14-year-old girls won­der­ing who the old guy is. This year marks the Fringe’s 25th an­niver­sary. What were you do­ing 25 years ago? Go­ing to my first Fringe shows and think­ing, “This looks fun.” What has the Fringe meant to your ca­reer? It’s been huge – a way for Shari and me to start a company, find a voice and find an au­di­ence. We look for­ward to bring­ing Ra­dio :30 back for the 50th an­niver­sary. What other Fringe shows will you be catch­ing this year? God, I haven’t even looked at the pro­gram yet, but hope­fully a bunch of shows by peo­ple I’ve never heard of. GLENN SUMI From Wed­nes­day (July 3) at the Tar­ragon Mainspace.

No 9

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