Unconventional times require unconventional performance venues. In the case of the Food Source’s annual live standup comedy show fundraiser, that meant switching from its usual location of The Academy Theatre stage and into the individual apartments of its performers, virtually.
By all accounts, last Wednesday’s event was a success, despite the irregular circumstances, drawing almost 60 viewing households and earning about $1,200 profit for the local agency. Flato Developments and CIBC Lindsay also contributed to the cause, helping raise its final tally.
“Just the fact that we were able to make a profit through virtual means was really really exciting for us,” says The Food Source’s Kate Dorotheou who spearheaded the event. “There are ways to fundraise through COVID and I’m happy we were able to prove that.”
Rebecca Reeds also proved that there are, indeed, ways to work within these new and restrictive performing parameters. The Lindsay native, now plying her comic trade from Toronto, was a late addition, as a special guest, to the event and it’s clear she aimed to impress.
Reeds took the time to transform her apartment into a make-shift theatre space, a white sheet pinned on a dark wall behind her. The I.E. Weldon grad, who was recently profiled in an episode of The Advocate Podcast, also opted to use an external, handheld microphone. As well, she raised her computer’s camera to eye-level. It made a difference, allowing her routine to sound and appear more TV and less Zoom-like.
But it’s her preparation and rehearsal of her material – much of which was catered to her hometown audience – that especially impressed, even finding comic fodder in the carpeting of the old York Tavern in downtown Lindsay.
“I had a lot of fun,” she told The Advocate following her performance. “Despite not being able to see or hear any of the audience.”
Dorotheou said Reeds knew all the ins and outs of our area, which made for a great segment, saying “it was fantastic to have her. As an audience member, I was giggling my head off.”
When asked if the Food Source might consider a similar event, even when crowds can once again congregate in some form, in person, Dorotheou wasn’t so sure.
“We definitely prefer the live aspect of it,” she says. “Because it brings people together, feeling the camaraderie of sitting in the auditorium with 200 of your friends. We’re hopeful we’ll come back to that for the coming years.”
Denis Grignon is the producer/host of The Advocate Podcast: Stories from Kawartha Lakes and a veteran, touring standup comedian. He tips his Carhartt toque to any comedian willing to perform virtually.