Sunday, November 27, 2022

Fringe Review: Old Fart

Who: Theatre Praxis
What: Old Fart
Length: 60 minutes
Where: Bridgeworks (200 Caroline Street North)
When: July 21-31 as part of the Hamilton Fringe Festival
Tickets: $12 + $1.75 fee at https://boxoffice.hftco.ca/event/866:599/

Meet Old Tom, a senior citizen who makes sure to tell you he is not a “geefer”, not a “gaffer”, and is certainly not a “coot”, but an “old fart”- a self-deprecating term that Tom has adopted as an attempt to push back against ageism, something he encourages all of us to think deeper about in “Old Fart”: a sixty minute production by playwright Tim Bourgard

This “Tom” is the amalgamation of seniors that actor and writer Bourgard has met throughout his career. Tom’s displayed goofiness, experiences, and ukulele-playing are a mixture of different larger-than-life seniors, mashing together in Bourgard’s performance of the man dressed rather sharply in a cap, cane and bow-tie.

Bourgard’s character embraces everything there is to getting older; speaking on the affectionately named “senior moments” when your memory slips, to struggling to keep up with technology, to the oh-so-sweet senior discounts at local restaurants. On occasion, these stories turned sour when slipping into stereotyping, however intentional or not. An example is when a fictitious scam caller is said to have an “Indian” accent, and describing a teen who is up-to-no-good as “wearing all black, having purple hair and a lot of tattoos.” 

Some “speed” may have helped keep the audience’s attention, as I found myself drifting by the end of the show when stories started to drag. Although that may be a testament to Bourgard’s life-like performance, as for those of us with elderly loved ones, we know their stories tend to bend up, around, and sometimes backwards. 

Wholesome for the most part, Tim Bourgard’s “Old Fart” speaks to the large and ever-growing population of seniors who feel unheard, unwanted and invisible. Old Tom asks his audience-goers to make room for those sixty-five and above to speak, be heard, and crack some jokes.

Sarah Jessica Rintjema
Sarah Jessica Rintjemahttps://www.sarahshotspot.com/
Sarah Jessica Rintjema (she/her) is a music and arts journalist and live music photographer based in Hamilton, Ontario, and working within the GTHA. Besides running a Canadian arts promotional blog titled Sarah's Hotspot where she interviews local artists about recent single, album, and music video releases, Sarah Jessica hosts a podcast called HOTSHOTS where she dives deep into industry issues with local artists, which inspired her weekly radio show on Mohawk College's 101.5 The Hawk every Tuesday at 7PM, called HOTSHOTS On Air. You can contact Sarah Jessica through email, Instagram, or through the contact form on her website. Profile photo by Christopher Arndt.

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