What’s the ‘Rush’?

“I have a lot of fun with Dot,” says Trish Barclay, her eyes squinting into a voice that sounds like it belongs to a pirate.

That needs an explanation.

Barclay says her character and that of “Bert”, played by Marc Desormeaux, in the upcoming presentation of Fiddle Rush at the Old Fire Hall, July 3 to 9, has been described as “a colourful middle-aged couple that could belong to the Colourful Five Per Cent.”

“Dot” and “Bert” jam with ghosts in a Gold Rush cemetery once a year. However, this year, they need the help from the fiddle of “Sophie”, played by Sophie Janke.

Playing Sheehan’s Jig, Sophie helps wake the ghosts and soon they are telling the history of the Gold Rush through song, dance and fiddle … lots of fiddle.

The Fiddleheads have presented this story three other years at Dawson City’s Palace Grand. This year, they move into The Old Fire Hall in Whitehorse.

Barclay says the space is smaller than the Palace Grand, but better suited to the younger players who have a smaller sound.

Although it is “Sophie” who wakes up the ghosts, this is a collaborative piece.

“No stars,” says Barclay, who is also the director. “That’s the beauty and that’s the challenge. We make sure all of the voices are equal.

“Fiddleheads is pretty inclusive.”

This company, which operates year round, does not guarantee each “Fiddlehead” a spot in Fiddle Rush, but that’s the way it has worked out so far, says Barclay.

Casting workshops were held, but Barclay says she knows all of the children from teaching up here and she could have cast it all in her head.

She says she gets a particular kick out of seeing seven- and eight-year-olds, whose only job was to look cute and join in the chorus three years ago, who are now taking speaking roles.

As the older performers leave, it is getting easier to find newer members as Fiddleheads offers more opportunity.

“Annie Avery [the performance’s piano maestro] and they have gigs throughout the year,” says Barclay, explaining the higher profile they now enjoy.

“I know a number of Fiddleheads now who saw a Fiddlehead production years ago – they tour the schools – and it looked like a lot of fun.

“We are helping create a fiddle culture up here and mixing it with theatre makes it a little cooler.”

Fiddleheads got its start 11 years ago, presenting different shows every other year. Fiddle Rush is the latest incarnation that included “Dot” and “Bert”, and this is the fourth production of this story.

Year to year, as new characters are introduced, the children collaborate on the roles.

Fiddle Rush shows at the Old Fire Hall July 3, 4 and 9 at 7 p.m. There are 2 p.m. matinées from July 5 to 9. Tickets are available at the door and at Well-Read Books.

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