Gold Fever

Keystone Theatre is delighted to return to the Toronto Festival of Clowns with their newest silent film inspired play Gold Fever. After premiering The Last Man on Earth at the festival in 2011, and touring across Canada to rave reviews and sold out houses, Keystone sets its sights on a new work inspired by the Klondike. Set in a barren and brutal landscape where fortunes are made and hearts are broken, Gold Fever explores how the dream of striking it rich brings out the best and the worst in people. Brilliant physical comedy and the rough and tumble spirit of the Klondike combine as we bring unique characters and their stories to life.

Dora Award Winning Keystone Theatre performs in their signature style bringing the aesthetic of silent films to life on stage. The highly talented ensemble dons stylized makeup and costumes all in black, white, and shades of grey. A few strategic title cards appear from time to time, but their stories are primarily communicated through look, gesture, and emotion all supported by an original musical score performed live.  Their varied expertise combined with their passion for silent film has allowed them to perfect an entirely unique genre of physical theatre.

Co-Created by The Keystone Theatre Ensemble | Director: Richard Beaune | Producer and Stage Manager: Kimberly Beaune | Musical Director/Composer: David Atkinson | Performers: Dana Fradkin, Phil Rickaby, Sarah Joy Bennett, Stephen La Frenie | Keystone Theatre



1) Tell us a joke.
I don’t tell jokes; I’m far too serious and completely un-funny. (insert self-important hmmmmfff sounds)

2) Tell us about your show in the festival and why you’re doing it?

Keystone Theatre creates original plays in the style of silent film. We do this so that we can challenge ourselves to the fullest as artists while creating work that is widely accessible (no language barrier) and easily enjoyable. It takes a lot of work to get it right, but we enjoy the challenge. Our newest show is inspired by the Klondike gold rush. While we were touring our last show (The Last Man on Earth– which premiered at the Toronto Festival of Clowns!), one member of our company heard news from her parents that their travels through the Yukon were great fun – which got us thinking…

The stories of the gold rush are filled with exotic characters who are risking their lives for gold! The theatrical potential is so rich, we could create a dozen shows in this setting and still be finding more inspiration from the real stories of the Klondike. The result of all of our research and play is Gold Fever.

3) Is your show clown, bouffon, character or something else entirely?  

Our shows don’t really fit into any genre or style other than our own Keystone Style, which is an amalgamation of the work we’ve seen in silent films and the collection of training and experience that we all bring to the work. To list all of the clown teachers that our company has learnt from would take pages, but the influence is deep and covers many genres. Combined, we end up creating something that is genuinely new and unique.

4) What is your best clown experience? Either as a performer or a spectator?
This may sound corny, but my best clown experience was taking part in the Toronto Festival of Clowns and being completely taken in by the feeling of community. I’ve loved being an audience for clown work, but the festival creates a mass of clownishness that is overwhelming.
5) Your worst?
My worst clown experience was when I was a student of Dean Gilmour’s at George Brown College and I was waiting for my turn to try an exercise. When I finally got my turn, everybody was cracking up and I felt really good and really funny. Finally Dean had me look in a mirror and I realized that by resting my clown nose on my forehead while waiting, I had created a large red mark. It was a perfect clown moment – I had no idea what was funny – but it was pretty embarrassing.
6) Are there any public figures you consider to be clowns?  Why?


I think all public figures are clowns, but most of them don’t know it. Anybody is capable of being ridiculous while insisting that they’re serious, which I think is pretty clown-like. Politicians are the best clowns of all.
7)  You’re a clown in a clown festival.  That carries a certain brand.  What’s wrong with you?
I once understudied a role in a production of Macbeth that I had directed. When I got on stage and played the very serious role, the audience started laughing. Even in the bleakest of tragedies, I can’t keep from finding the funny. I don’t know if it’s a gift or a curse. Funny, huh?
8)  Anything else…?
I suppose I should mention that these answers come to you from Richard Beaune, director of Gold Fever by Keystone Theatre, in case that wasn’t obvious.


May 30th @ 8pm, June 1st @ 6:30pm, June 2nd @ 4pm

Pia Bouman Studio Theatre – 6 Noble St.

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