CBC Radio's arts reporter Paul Grant interviews a preview for Battle of the Bards and gets a donnybrook in the studio



The Celtic Fest's Battle of the Bards is gaining speed.  We had a preview sparring match today at the CBC Radio studio for an interview with Paul Grant, arts reporter for “On the Coast.”

Mark Donnelly is playing W. B. Yeats.  Damon Calderwood is playing Dylan Thomas.  And I, Todd Wong aka Toddish McWong, is playing Robert Burns. 

It went really well.  Upon arrival, I gave everybody a can of Guinness beer.  We got a wee bit tipsy, and started challenging each other.

Then Paul Grant realized his recorder wasn't working.  We had to redo everything.  And I was 10 minutes late for work.

No we did not drink the Guinness, but we did have a fun team teasing and challenging each other.  I still really can't pull off the Ayreshire accent, because “I canna roll me “r's”.  I said for the radio interview.

“I think the real reason they invited me to play Burns, besides the fact that I organize one of Vancouver's largest  Robert Burns Dinners in North America, is really so that the can call the event multicultural. 

“The battle is being voted on by the audience, so I'm going after the ethnic vote,” I told Grant.

It was a really good “rehearsal” for us actors, and it made for very good radio.  Look for the lively segment soon on CBC Radio 690AM for their afternoon show “On the Coast.” 

I recite “My Luv is Like a Red Red Rose” in response to Yeats saying he is going to win because “he is a lover”, which I challenged.  Thomas opted out of the “lover” role and read one of his comical poems.

Thomas and Burns both stated that if Yeats poems were as long-winded as Yeats was in the radio interview, the audience will be falling asleep in their beers.  Yeats rebutted in his blustery stammer…. completely unintelligble, as Paul Grant wondered if a donnybrook would occur in his studio.

But after the interview was over, actors Mark Donnelly, Damon Calderwood and I talked through some ideas for the Battle of the Bards.  And we can lead a group singalong of Auld Lang Syne together.  I think this builds up our cameraderie and that fact that this is a FUN event, and encourages AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION.

Because….
(Sung to the tune of Ring of Fire, by Johnny Cash)

I went down to the Battle of the Bards
There was a big fight but only one winner…
And it's BURNS, BURNS, BURNS….
It's Robbie Burns….
It's Robbie Burns

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