The return of Chris Earle and Radio :30
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.