Imagine a creature tens of thousands of years old, sent to Earth as a watcher by a shadowy race of gods. Now imagine that he’s equally capable of appearing as a crow or a human, with a bad attitude to match, and you have the personality profile of a character known as Dead Crow.
Created by author Sean Arthur Joyce, Dead Crow: Prologue had its debut performance at Kimberley’s Kaleidoscope Arts and Culture Festival this August. The debut will be followed up by a West Kootenay tour this fall featuring composer and guitarist Noel Fudge, who provides the live soundtrack for the show. Fudge—one half of the guitar/violin duo Freya—will also perform original solo compositions. The evening will feature Joyce reading poems from his latest book, The Price of Transcendence, described by Tom Wayman as “a first-rate collection.”
Joyce and Fudge will perform Dead Crow: Prologue in Nakusp at the Bonnington Arts Centre Friday, October 28, 7 pm; as part of the Café Langham Inspired Ideas series on Thursday, November 3, 7 pm in the Langham Theatre, Kaslo; in Nelson at The Front Room, 901 Front Street, Friday, November 10, 7:30 pm; and in New Denver at the Bosun Hall Saturday, November 5, 7 pm. Tickets available at the doors.
A stalwart on the West Kootenay poetry scene since the days of the Sub Pub on the former David Thompson University campus in Nelson (now Selkirk College’s Fairview campus) during the 1990s, Joyce sees Dead Crow as an opportunity to branch out.
“Since the advent of slam poetry, and with spoken word festivals now well established around the world, a new freedom to experiment seems to be opening up in poetry,” says Joyce. “I saw the Dead Crow character as an ideal vehicle to combine narrative poetry and classical mythology with dramatic characterization.”
Joyce combines aspects of First Nations mythology—the Raven Trickster—with elements of the Celtic Morrigan, a shape-shifting goddess known to haunt battlefields in the form of a crow. Add to that a kind of film noir detective’s gravelly-voiced cynicism, and you have Dead Crow. He’s the hero of his own spiritual journey, a penetrating intelligence seeking to reconcile the contradictions of existence. It’s a journey we all make throughout the course of a life. The Prologue provides the backstory of how and why Dead Crow found himself in this predicament. Joyce has plans to develop his manuscript into a full touring show.
Noel Fudge is a versatile contemporary composer, whose compositional talent knows no bounds. His portfolio ranges from film scores to choral and orchestral works, to singer-songwriter and instrumental music. He holds a BFA in composition from Simon Fraser University, and wrote and performed with the band Crop Circle, a group that received extensive radio play and toured Western Canada, opening for ZZ top and Bif Naked. He’s a singer and a masterful guitarist, whose current projects include composing short film soundtracks with icandyfilms, a variety of studio recording projects, and most notably, his work with the popular West Kootenay based guitar/violin duo, Freya, with violinist Martine denBok. Their debut album is set for release in December 2016.