Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wealth Secrets Hits London

A letter from Producer and writer Ahti Tolvanen

Dear Joan

After almost a year of reverses and anxious planning, we finally did it....took a Thunder Bay originated show to London's West End! "Wealth Secrets" just completed a run of over a week at Soho's Phoenix Artist Club, the famous second stage of the Phoenix Theatre where stage legends like Coward and Olivier once premiered.

It was all part of The Camden Fringe Theatre Festival- London's answer to the Edinburgh Fringe. Many will remember this play which opened in Thunder Bay in 2012 before going on to the Hamilton Fringe and then the Winnipeg Fringe in 2013.

The Music was arranged and performed by our own Erik Johannes Riekko and the script developed by the undersigned in consultation with many local talents including Heather Stowell and Josephine Hamilton. Mike Sobota's and Isaac Kakegamic's staging input was also invaluable.

The play tells the story, of an African immigrant who flees murdering diamond bandits and lands a job in the investment industry in the West. After he reports his discovery of conflict diamonds in his company's holdings to his boss, both become targets of increasingly cruel organizational harrassment.

In words, music and dance the play also addresses the larger "Faustian" theme: can any person be true to their ethical principles in an environment focused on limitless material acquisition?

The applause and favorable media mentions were gratifying as were observations by local bloggers about the presumption of a group of "outsiders" putting London's financial industry in a bad light. This was, of course, our intention at least as far as those involved in the trade in conflict diamonds was concerned.
A special positive aspect were the generous donations received to aid our chosen charity, needy schoolchildren in Sierra Leone.

Riekko and Tolvanen met up with Tammy Tansley, the latter performed in the 2013 version, and Tansley gave them the idea to take the play to her hometown, London.

The play was done on a shoestring with extra actors cast for this year's show in London and Helsinki to save travel costs. To create a show in a remote location the creator's came away more impressed than ever with the importance of knowing helpful locals for couchsurfing, grapevining and more- a priority far beyond even money issues.

The production is described on Facebook under the troupe's handle "Superior A Theatre" through which we are also happy to respond to questions and comments.

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