A party perspective

Sally Cole
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Tall Hat Chronicles, a satirical look at the birth of the nation, opens July 2 at The Guild in Charlottetown

Cast members of Tall Hat Chronicles are excited about the show, which opens July 2 at The Guild in Charlottetown. From left are Josh Weale, Rob MacDonald and Graham Putnam. Missing from the photo are cast members Lennie MacPherson and Alicia Altass.

When Rob MacDonald and Graham Putnam realized that the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference was fast approaching, they leapt into action.

They didn’t want the special year to come and go without adding their comedic touches to the Charlottetown 2014 celebrations.

So they called in fellow Sketch-22 alumnae Lennie MacPherson and Josh Weale and invited Alicia Altass, a prolific scriptwriter, to join the creative team.

Together, after much discussion, they have come up with Tall Hat Chronicles, a new show playing at The Guild in Charlottetown this summer.

The show takes a comedic and satirical look at P.E.I 1864 history and its then premier, John Hamilton Gray, as it relates to the wider history of Canada and the world.

“It’s a fun take on the events that took place in 1864. We’ve included some science fiction, as well as information on what went on during that week during the Charlottetown conference,” says Putnam of the show that plays Wednesday and Saturday nights from July 2 to Oct. 11.

MacDonald says it paints a different picture than the well-known historical piece, The Fathers of Confederation, painted by Robert Harris.

“Our take is that the Fathers didn’t actually achieve very much during the week. The delegates spent a lot of time drinking, partying and having a good time. That’s the approach we’ve taken and that’s what we show on stage.”

The writers have also used a different approach. Instead of creating a series of sketches, they’ve written a script.

It starts out like the movie, The Hangover, in which three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. In the movie, they make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding.

However, in Tall Hat Chronicles, they’re waking up in Charlottetown in 1864.

“It’s an odd scene with some odd characters and the feeling, ‘what the heck happened during the past week here?’ But the rest of the story tells the story of Confederation and how it came to be, “ says Putnam.

In the middle of the show, cast members step away from the story they’re telling and start singing it.

“We’re doing 1864, The Musical. We all took singing lessons this past year, so we’ll perform some show tunes. Through these, we’ll tell the story of what we think actually happened during the Charlottetown conference, that week in 1864,” he says.

MacDonald says the show, presented in partnership with The Guild and P.E.I. 2014, is a must-see.

“It’s going to be a fun, who-knows-what’s-going-to-happen kind of a night.

“Audience members will leave with belly laughs and maybe a fun perspective on the events that are saturating the whole summer.”


Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at scole@theguardian.pe.ca or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.

If you are going

- What: Tall Hat Chronicles.

- When and where: Wednesday and Saturday nights from July 2 to Oct. 11.

- Tickets: Call The Guild box office at 620-3333 or send an email to boxofficetheguildpei.com.

Organizations: The Guild, The Guardian

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Canada, Las Vegas

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