I’m in Waterloo for the 50th anniversary of my theatre troup from University of Waterloo – FASS. Think Harvard Review, with less men-in-drag humour and more math jokes.
FASS has been around since… well the math is easy so I’ll leave it as an excercise for the reader. The University of Waterloo was founded only 5 years early. Then a random group of Faculty, Alumni/Administration, Staff and Students came together to get silly. Now it’s been going on for 50 years and we’re here to celebrate, laugh and reconnect.
One of the very cool parts of FASS is that anyone who auditions gets a role. That means a cast of … well, see that’s the thing… as many people as audition. This can mean small casts, large casts and sometimes massive casts. I’ve been in shows with a cast of over 100. The roles get smaller, the lines get shared and everyone gets a little time in the limelight.
Funnily enough it’s a little harder when there are less people audition, since the scripts are designed for this flexibility. My first FASS I had 4 different roles – Deborah Live, a Pain Dancer, General Electric and the Town Fountain. Yes, I got to play a fountain. How many actors can say that? But it’s hard changing characters, costumes and motivations with every second scene!
In 1984 that meant in a single act, with 2 other roles in between, shifting from this:
This year’s show is in honour of FASS Past, but as usual with a twist:
In the year 2062, a grade 3 class celebrates the 100th anniversary of FASS by recounting its history — very, very incorrectly. “FASS: The Neverending Story” is the irreverent, factually-inaccurate, sociopolitically-incorrect, joke-strewn, groan-laden, pirate-ridden tale of a venerable-ish theatre company at the University of Waterloo, from its humble origins through its glorious past, quiet present, and uncertain future — and of the one little girl who sees through the noise to the very heart of it all. Oh, and someone gets stabbed.
Behind the scenes this year is my god brat Nyssa working Tech. She is even responsible for painting some of the backdrops. I’m really excited to see her, and her work on stage. It’s bringing back lots of memories of my godfather Jim coming down to Waterloo to see me in FASS. I’m trying to honour his memory by taking her out to lunch today.
I’m looking forward to some of the cameos tonight from past FASSies. Not sure who’s going to pop up since the cameos change every night. Last night my friend John Watson was onstage as a superhero quoting his famous tv-ad line “Back off, get your own sandwich!” (I wonder if he’ll ever get away from that one. I certainly am not letting it die. Sorry John!)