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Calgary producer, writer, director and actor Jamie Dunsdon, whose autobiographical play Bliss was one of the runaway hits of the 2020 Rodeo, recalled the conversation she had with Brooker in November.
“He asked if I’d be interested in creating a piece on the theme of who are you now and stressed I could interpret that in any way I wanted,” says Dunsdon, adding ” anytime the Rodeo asks you to be part of what they’re doing, you say yes. It’s an honour to be asked.”
Creating her 50-second Rodeo piece, which she calls Tools of the Trade, took almost two months to complete.
“It took me several weeks to come up with an idea for my artifact and then it took me just as long again to distill the idea into a presentation.”
Fortunately, when she received Brooker’s call, Dunsdon was in the midst of research for a play she’s working on about 19th-century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.
“I wanted to make my piece entertaining and meaningful and that meant, as I did with Bliss, making it personal. I’ve always had a problem with branding. When people ask what kind of artist I am, I don’t have an easy answer and that was something that plagued van Gogh during his life.”
Tools of the Trade meets van Gogh at his death when he arrives in the Afterlife and is asked how he wants to be remembered.
Calgary dancer and performance artist Kunji Mark Ikeda, one of the stars of the 2018 Rodeo with his solo show Sansei: The Storyteller, is quick to point out Brooker and the Rabbits are using the 2021 Rodeo to “get some money into the pockets of as many artists as they can and then to give audiences a glimpse into who we are and where we are in our lives right now.”