Bookworm at Hamilton Fringe

Wednesday, 20 July 2011
"A story about a father reading to his son, growing up in a library, Spiderman, Ray Bradbury, and meeting the Minotaur just outside of Wawa."

Every year, the Hamilton Fringe Festival approaches and I get excited, jotting down the names of all the plays I plan to see. Every year, I fail miserably. The last day of the festival ends without me ever setting foot in a theatre. I vowed this year would be different, and I finally lost my Fringe Festival virginity Saturday night to a self-professed bookworm named Corin Raymond whose one-man show actually made me want to leap from my chair yelling, "Yes, Corin! I feel exactly the same way about books!" Luckily, for the rest of the audience at the Downtown Arts Centre, I stopped myself. 

I admit that I thought that one man, on a stage, talking to an audience for an hour about books might seem pretentious. I couldn't help but think Raymond might be the look-at-how-many-books-I-have-read type. The type who reads Tolstoy on a road trip, just so people can ask him about it. (There's nothing wrong with reading Tolstoy on a road trip, but you know the type I mean!). Bookworm was nothing like that. In fact, just like me, Raymond HATES when people ask him how many books he's read. He'd rather talk about how books make him feel and how characters ranging from Spider-Man to Cormac McCarthy's protagonist from All the Pretty Horses, John Grady Cole, feel less like characters on a page and more like friends.  

Growing up, my friends were different than Raymond's. Mine were Jo March and Ramona. Davey from Tiger Eyes and Fern and Dorothy. And maybe, most of all, was Mistress Mary. I wanted a Secret Garden and a mystery to solve more than anything in the world. 

On long car trips, Raymond's father, twice a widower and the owner of thousands of books, would wrap his son's favourite books in newspaper, allowing him to unwrap them one by one at intervals. My parents weren't this creative — though I wish they were — but I remember carefully selecting at least a dozen books for every family road trip, wary of leaving any of my favourite characters behind. 

I guess it's obvious by now, but I loved Bookworm. I loved it so much that I not only want to see it again, but I want to read every book that Raymond lovingly spoke about, especially Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. My Bradbury experience can be summed up in a few quick sentences compiled from half memories of a short story, followed by a movie (or was it an episode from a television show?) in Grade 7 (or was it 8?) that involved time travel and dinosaurs (possibly a T-rex). But if Raymond's careful description of the joy the book has brought to him countless times is any indication, I must read it. 

Anyone who lives in Hamilton — or near it — and who loves books must go see one of Raymond's remaining shows. I really can't recommend it enough. For more information, visit www.hamiltonfringe.ca.




Thursday, Jul 21 
08.00 PM - 09.00 PM
Venue Three - DAC TheatreBook Worm
Saturday, Jul 23 
08.30 PM - 09.30 PM
Venue Three - DAC TheatreBook Worm
Sunday, Jul 24 
02.00 PM - 03.00 PM
Venue Three - DAC TheatreBook Worm

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