This week marked the retirement from Tree Reading Series of Director, Rod Pederson, after 5 years of excellent work promoting and advancing poetry in Ottawa. We’ve seen the launching of Ottawa’s own poetry festival, VERSeFest, the addition of the Tree Seeds Workshops, Master Workshops with some of Canada’s leading poets, and reading events with major voices in Canadian poetry. Three new Directors will share the Directorship going forward: Margaret Malloch Zielinksi, Deanna Young, and yours truly, Carol A. Stephen. We are all looking forward to being part of the literary scene in Ottawa, with the assistance of David Currie, as the new Admin.
To say goodbye to Rod, Tree held a special tribute at Arts Court on Tuesday, December 11th, with readings by regular attendees at the open mics, as well as board members. There was also a play with Rod as King, his wife Liz Bertholdi as Queen, Murray Citron as Merlin, David O’Meara as Sir David of the Manx. peppered the performance by repeating his line at random, “What the heck does that mean?” as well as providing a little swordplay with Kevin Matthews played Sir Kevin Hoboken Spoken, David Currie was the able Jester. Rona Shaffran portrayed Guinevere with her husband as Sir Brian Lancelot (Laughs a Lot) doing his version of Groucho Marx. Claudia Coutu Radmore was Lady Claudia, both MC and playwright. Her husband portrayed Sir Ted of the Red Moor, complete with fancy plumed hat. The previous director, Dean Steadman, also appeared as the old King. The three incoming Directors were the Supreme Duchesses, with Margaret stealing the scene as a regal duchess visiting the colonies. Margaret’s Scottish/British accent added much to that role! After the play, the audience and cast feasted on a buffet with contributions by everyone. Rod is known for his mismatched two-different-colour socks, so many of the people attending had socks on their hands to wave, or mismatched gloves, but Brian Cook outdid us all with his special hat sporting two stuffed socks on top!
Brian Cook ably manned the video camera for the evening so we’re hoping to see it all again here now that the video is up on the Tree website. Meanwhile though, here are photos that Pearl Pirie, Pesbo, took at the event: