Green Fool’s errand

What makes a cupcake so satisfying? Is it the sugary sweet icing, the jewel like sprinkles, a dash of vanilla or a pinch of love? Co-founder and co-artistic director of Green Fools Theatre Dean Bareham can’t say, but he can tell you what makes Calgary’s swingingest Cabaret so swinging: bad behaviour.

This Saturday May 20, Green Fools Theatre, a company devoted to physical theatre and creative ideas, throws its annual Cabaret fundraiser [fundraiser cabaret?]. And this year Lady Cupcake does it Doggy Style promises to be a playground ripe with impropriety.

“‘Doggy style’ is really just a catch phrase,” says Bareham, who will be the evening’s MaĆ®tre Dog. “It’s something to get people hooked, a theme of naughtiness to give us something to run with.”

The night will revolve around the arrival of Lady Cupcake, the perennial centerpiece of the cabarets, and follow her in her search for a man-or dog. The framework of longing and searching provides vignettes for the variety show set up and open concept party, which will flow through the company’s Inglewood workshop. Be-costumed performers and partiers alike will mingle amongst stacks of brightly coloured props and life-like papier-machee puppets, while they’re awed by the great feats of the visiting troupes.

“This year we have the Silly People coming from Ontario to do their adult act,” explains Bareham. “As well as the High Strung Aerial dancers: there might be some naughty girl on girl acrobatics. And we always like to have a little carnie stuff going on.”

The cabaret is just one night of a very busy year for the Green Fools, who are constantly going from clowning classes to children’s festivals to interactive shows at the Glenbow. Bareham is currently preparing for a street-performing trip to Europe now that he’s finished teaching a seminar on buffoonery.

“We’ve really expanded,” Bareham, who clowns, stilt walks busks and teaches, explains as he motions to the company’s packed storeroom. “We’re a versatile company with children’s programming, straight stuff for families and for the kind of crowd we get at the cabarets. But it makes us do something, makes it fun for us. Just don’t forget where you are, never mix up the two venues.”

The Green Fools’ versatility has accrued for them a large and varied audience, from the children at festivals to the adults who are fans of their creation-based theatre.

“We get everybody from students to doctors and lawyers at the cabarets. It’s a huge audience base,” admits Bareham. ” But you need to know where your bread and butter is. Although fundraisers are a lot of work, they don’t pay the bills. But you need to stay fun, so we encourage dressing up. It’s all a blatant attempt at attention grabbing on our part.”

What makes Lady Cupcake so satisfying it seems isn’t the shimmering pink icing or the warm fluffy batter, not even being able to lick the spoon. What keeps people coming back in spangled costumes is the hard work and creativity put in the Green Fools.

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