by Kirby Lindsay Laney, posted 20 March 2015
Moisture Festival has begun! This annual celebratory showcase of vaudeville and burlesque will bring 100s of performers (and thousands of audience members) to Fremont with acts that entertain, delight, astound and inspire. Moisture Festival will also, this year, lend itself as a fundraiser – for one-night only – to another local institution:
The annual birthday party for the Fremont Troll includes performance, parade, music and community celebration. For October 31st, 2015, the twenty-fifth birthday of the Troll, volunteers will produce a twisted-tales-ish production of ‘Don Juan’, funded – hopefully – by ticket sales to the March 25th, 7:30p show of Moisture Festival, at Hale’s Palladium.
A Fun Fundraiser
Maque daVis has worn many, many different hats in Fremont – both literally and metaphorically. daVis has been on the Board of the Fremont Arts Council (FAC) for decades – and he held the post of Board President for so long that he earned the nickname ‘President For Life’ (now, ‘Ex-President For Life’ for short.)
With a squadron of community volunteers, daVis helped build the Troll, as designed by Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, and Ross Whitehead. The community, rallied by the FAC, helped with the installation – and daVis remembers spending that Halloween, in 1990, inside the wire-frame of the sculpture, talking about the need to honor the effort that created this art work, “since it was built by the community,” he recently explained. “From the first, when I mentioned we should have a birthday party, everyone was very enthusiastic!”
Flash forward two and a half decades, and daVis has personally produced more than two dozen parties for the iconic Troll. Twelve years ago, he also helped launch, and still serves as Producer/Board Member on, Moisture Festival. He’s helped as the 501(c)3 non-profit hosted benefit shows every year, and this year it’s his turn to see his own cause benefit.
The Benefits Of Trolloween
Every year daVis, and a large army of other volunteers, working under the umbrella of Fremonster Theatrical, produce Trolloween – a celebration intended as a thank you for the community of the Troll. “I run this thing on a shoestring,” daVis said. Even though it has been considered an annual event of the FAC, that non-profit cannot afford to give Trolloween a full budget. This year they have promised $1,500, and daVis hopes a Moisture Festival benefit show can match the amount.
“I intend this will be public opera,” daVis said of Trolloween, with humor, spectacle, and panto – “but it will have to have a twist.” daVis has studied public opera and carnaval around the world, and how communities celebrate significant dates and events. He developed Trolloween as a performance, with music and dance, using professionals performers, “but the artists are never paid what they are worth. For that night, we are the heroes.”
For 2015, daVis has taken Don Giovanni/Don Juan as his primary inspirations, but don’t expect a straight play – or opera- as his result. Instead, this is a collection of moments, and protean moments at that. “Protean – it means unexpected,” daVis explained.
What the spectators – who participate too – will see is a production developed over several years. For the first Trolloweens, daVis produced little plays, and operas, about trolls. He then shifted to light comedy, then straight music, and a decade ago he found the model he prefers- gathering together professional performers to tell interesting stories using special effects, choreographed dances, and live music, performed at stages set along a route around the Fremont community.
A Gift Of Moisture
The Board of Moisture Festival chooses to hold benefits every year during its month-long showcase of varieté. And the selection process for the beneficiaries is tough – according to daVis. “We rotate,” he explained, “We try to do different benefits each year, to try to reach more people.”
When he submitted Fremonster Theatrical, and Trolloween, as a potential beneficiary, daVis didn’t think he had a chance. “I submitted the application. It was rather grueling,” he explained, “I really didn’t think we’d get it.” As for the decision process, “I had to stand away,” daVis said, but they decided to give March 25th to Trolloween – and March 29th at Broadway Performance Hall for Cascade Leadership Challenge.
“This supports arts in the community,” daVis pointed out, meaning the benefit show – but it also applies to Moisture Festival. Attending the show on March 25th (tickets available on-line through Stranger Tickets) supports arts in many forms, but also daVis hope people give to Trolloween through Moisture Festival and the Fremont Arts Council because they want to participate. “’I become part of the family’ by giving,” daVis observed, “contribute and participate.”
Hope to see you at the show on March 25th, with Clover the Troll and, if you like, in your Trolloween/Halloween finery! Come out and support the community.
- Artists On The Attack In Fremont
- by Kirby Lindsay, January 10, 2011
- When Fremont Went To Hell
- by Kirby Lindsay, November 16, 2009
- Moisture Festival: Eleven Years & Counting
- by Kirby Lindsay, March 17, 2014
- Auditing ‘The Fremont Troll’ With Steve Badanes
- by Kirby Lindsay, October 27, 2014
©2015 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.