What do Margaret Atwood, Farley Wowat, Peter Mansbridge and Gordon Pinsent have in common?
No, this isn’t leading to a punchline…
These are some of the amazing guests that have been featured over the 19 seasons of Readings at the Roselawn in Port Colborne.
The most recent guest of this author series was Gordon Pinsent who appeared on stage with George Anthony, his long-time friend and co-writer of NEXT.
The production started with an introduction by Readings at Roselawn host, creator and best-selling author, William Thomas.
William treated the intimate crowd of 300 people to some of Gordon Pinsent’s considerable highlights featuring video from his television and film appearances over a career that has spanned 6 decades.
Gordon Pinsent is one of Canada’s most respected performers, an award-winning actor of stage, television and film, director, writer of screenplays and novels. This spring, at 81, he became a songwriter of an album with Greg Keelor (Blue Rodeo) and Travis Good (The Sadies) titled “Down and Out in Upalong” adapted from poems he wrote about his home in Newfoundland.
Despite his hundreds of credits over decades in the industry, Gordon Pinsent is particularly well-known for his critically acclaimed role in “Away From Her.”
I hungered for something … glad it was show business … could have gone in some pretty strange ways. -Gordon Pinsent, NEXT
It was clear from the beginning that Gordon and George Anthony are long time friends and they easily shared a conversation about Gordon’s life:
- from his early beginnings as a boy known as “Porkie” and growing up in Newfoundland afflicted with rickets so bad that he could hardly stand
- how he snuck in to the movie theatre with a different set of “parents” for each show to take advantage of the cinema’s FREE CHILDREN policy and near-sighted ticket taker
- as a Canadian paratrooper he wanted to go fight in Korea and instead was stationed in Manitoba
- his first experience in live theatre came from ducking into a theatre company to avoid an old girlfriend and he ended up winning the lead because he told the director he “had no experience playing small parts”
He shared a story about how he had originally met actor/comedian Wally Cox who invited him to hike in the Hollywood hills early on in his career in California. When they were ready to go, in came a huffing Marlon Brando who did his best to keep up and led to a long-time friendship with the legendary actor. Pinsent brought this story alive with a side-splitting impersonation of Brando.
Finally, he told the audience about when his wife, actress Charmion King passed away shortly after “Away From Her” and how he spent weeks in a fog just trying to find a reason to move onward.
He described how a homeless man stopped him on the snow covered street outside of his apartment in Toronto. He wasn’t going to give him anything but then thought of his wife’s charitable spirit and called the man back.
The man sat down and started to chat and finally Gordon bitterly explained that he didn’t feel like talking, he had just lost his wife.
The man looked at him with a grin and said, “Lost your wife? I lost 3 of them bitches!”
This resulted in uproarious laughter between the two strangers and helped Gordon Pinsent gain some perspective and get on with living the rest of his amazing life.
This was our first experience with the Author Series here in Port Colborne, and with a season that features local wine, Colin Mochrie, Jian Ghomeshi and Lloyd Robertson we are in for some more intimate and fascinating evenings at the Roselawn Theatre.
JUST THE FACTS:
Readings at the Roselawn is one of the very best venues in Canada for writers to showcase their work.
A fun and friendly sold-out audience of 300 subscribers enthusiastically greets each guest author, just one on stage for each evening.
In past seasons we were fortunate in hosting some of Canada’s finest writers including Margaret Atwood, Pierre Berton, Mordecai Richler, Jan Wong, Farley Mowat, Alistair MacLeod, Bonnie Burnard, Stevie Cameron, Lawrence Hill, humourists Allan Fotheringham and Stuart McLean. Occasionally we’ve been lucky enough to present lively personalities like Mike Bullard, Sandra Shamas, Peter Mansbridge, Margaret Trudeau, Roger Abbott, Rex Murphy and Lloyd Robertson.
The Roselawn Theatre is located at 296 Fielden Avenue, Port Colborne, ON L3K 4T6
Box office phone number: 905-834-0833