Press & Comments

PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS – PETE SEEGER’S THE INCOMPLEAT FOLKSINGER

2015 – 2018
Mayworks Festival of Labour & the Arts, Winnipeg MB
Waterfront Gallery, Ladysmith BC
Charlie White Theatre, Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney BC
Espace Freestanding Room, Montreal QC
Langham Cultural Centre, Kaslo BC
Richardson Hall, Winnipeg, MB
Beacon Community House, Protection Island BC
Gabriola Island Theatre Festival (festival finale)
Firehall Arts Centre, Vancouver
Malaspina Theatre, Nanaimo BC
Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam BC
UNO Festival of Solo Performance, Victoria (festival finale)
Metro Studio Theatre, Victoria BC (premiere)

TESTIMONIALS

The Incompleat Folksinger is an absolute delight from start to finish. I’m a huge Pete Seeger fan. I’ve read the book the show’s based on. I saw Seeger live – twice. This show did justice to who the man was, as well as what made him so wonderful as a live performer. The stories are interesting and intimate. Mark Hellman effortlessly pulls the audience into singing different parts of one song after another, without even seeming to try. This is a loving tribute to a great artist and a man of integrity. I left the theatre feeling inspired and bonded with everyone there.
– TJ Dawe (author/performer MEDICINE, SLIPKNOT, BURN JOB, MARATHON)

I was there in the audience on Friday night, and loved every minute of it! And everyone I talked to in the audience…were equally delighted and impressed. Congratulations to you and all involved! I think you have a great show on your hands, and a very timely one. Pete lives on!
– Shivon Robinsong (Co-director GETTIN’ HIGHER CHOIR, Victoria, BC)

I saw this wonderful singalong one man show tonight, Pete Seeger’s The Incompleat Folksinger with Mark Hellman playing Pete (and performing his music beautifully). At first I thought, well I’m glad to see an old friend on stage again but I don’t really know many Seeger songs. Damn if I didn’t sing the whole time, with the rest of the audience harmonizing beautifully. My activist side reanimated, my desire for peace and communication and resistance was whetted, my empathy was tapped and my love for family flowed. 2 shows tomorrow and that’s it! Freestanding is small so get there early to get a seat.  – Alison Darcy (Co-artistic Director, Scapegoat Carnivale, Mtl)

Saw my friend Mark bring Pete Seeger to life in The Incompleat Folksinger…I am a big fan of Pete Seeger, but I admit I was expecting a “tribute” show. An amazing thing happened. It became an ersatz Hootenanny. As the whole audience sang along (I hadn’t planned on joining in, but I couldn’t help it) I could feel the power of the history behind those anthems and what they stood for; songs that were the courageous people’s weapon of choice against baseball bats, economic oppression, attack dogs, and firehoses; songs that spoke of the need to look at ourselves and take action. More importantly, last night those songs miraculously bridged that span of time to meet up with us today. Society’s present struggles, injustices and wrongs became very present in that intimate gathering, and so we sang not out of nostalgia, but in the moment, solemnly at times with a hope that these ills might be conquered, and joyfully with the conviction that they one day would be. You may say I’m a dreamer…Anyway. See this show if you can. – Marcel Jeanin (Montreal actor/director)

REVIEW EXCERPTS

FIREHALL ARTS CENTRE, Vancouver, BC
…a beacon on the horizon that calls out to our better selves to respond, to act….this show, an old-style hootenanny, will get you humming and singing and clapping and tearing-up at just the right times: you’ll thank yourself for taking it in.
– Baird Blackstone, BrokenLegReviews(blog)

…Hellman shines…playing a five-string banjo and a 12-string guitar, and getting the audience to sing along with classics like “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, “Guantanamera”, and “We Shall Overcome”. Seeger fans and folk music die-hards will love the songs….I can’t remember a play that had me singing along so much.
– Kathleen Oliver, Georgia Straight

I loved this show….The play is not just about Pete Seeger, but about politics, folk music preservation, fascinating events in American history, and finding the courage to constantly be fighting for what you think is right.
– BeyondYVR(blog)

METRO STUDIO THEATRE, Victoria, BC (premiere)
….beautiful tunes, accomplished storytelling and an immense heart…I foresee a future of touring this production widely in North America and beyond, much as Seeger toured the world as the troubadour of generations of fair-minded people.
– Janis La Couvée (blogger)

….it’s so real. It became this huge singalong…I’ve never been to a piece of theatre like that.
– David Lennam, CBC Radio

... some seriously heavy lifting… Hellman approached it as a marathon rather than a sprint, imbuing some of the quieter moments with the poise of a pro…. The audience often joined Hellman in song, adding support to his banjo and guitar work on folk staples Union Maid, Wabash Cannonball and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine. Hellman communicated Seeger’s folksy charm with a raised eyebrow or under-his-breath chuckle, but there was little in the way of acting on this night. Which isn’t to say Hellman wasn’t well-prepared: The amount of memorization needed to pull off this performance was exhausting to think about, let alone attempt.
– Mike Devlin, Victoria Times-Colonist

COMMUNITY CHOIR OUTREACH 2015 – 2017
Gettin’ Higher Choir (Victoria BC)
Maple Leaf Singers (Coquitlam, BC)
De Corso Choir (Coquitlam, BC)
Aurora Celebration Choir (Vancouver)
Solidarity Notes Labour Choir (Vancouver)
Harbour City Singers (Nanaimo, BC)
Margaret’s Choir (Winnipeg, MB)
Labour Temple Choir (Winnipeg, MB)

AUDIENCE COMMENTS

FIREHALL ARTS CENTRE (Vancouver, BC)
“Never before – after the Saturday matinee performance of The Incompleat Folksinger by Pete Seeger, the audience erupted into song, and did their own encore! So incredibly wonderful and moving. A real tribute to the performance of Mark Hellman, and everyone involved in this splendid show!”

“….transcendent is the correct word for your show. We were all deeply engaged and moved by your performance…one of our members declared that every song had busted his heart open.”

“You were the epitome of Seeger and you recreated his times and struggles wonderfully. And we all sang along, some a little more successfully than others! A young theatre student next to me was enthralled. It was all new to her—what a great experience.”

“…very much a community-spirited audience, in response to the nature of this fine show. There was no fourth wall. Sing, Sing loud. Community and connection. We need this show!”

“…just wanted to say thank you for “The Incompleat Folksinger”. It is a lovely intimate journey within the spirit and music of Pete S.”

“We saw “Incompleat Folksinger” last night at the Firehall Theatre and loved it. Mark Hellman was perfect in the role and the writing was excellent. I grew up in NYC and went to my first Seeger concert when I was 13. At 16 I was a work camper at University Settlement Camp in Beacon, NY, where Pete and the camp counselors played folk songs for us every Tuesday evening (how cool is that!!). His father-in-law was the camp gardener. Singing with Mark last night brought the past alive and connected it firmly with the present. The show should be taken to a larger venue–or made into a TV version. Finally, children should see this show! The songs contain great ideals that children should be exposed to; they’re not overwhelming but they are memorable. Thanks for reading all this and thanks to you.”

MALASPINA THEATRE (Nanaimo, BC)
“Just wanted to send congratulations and thanks for a wonderful show tonight! It was so entertaining, instructive, inspirational and an amazing solo performance. What a tour -de force. Thanks again for providing the Harbour City Singers the opportunity to see and participate in the show…”

EVERGREEN CULTURAL CENTRE (Coquitlam, BC)
“We saw The Incompleat Folksinger by Pete Seeger, and what a great, great show….music is the great connector. Pete knew that, and as the things he sang about are going on now, (with different people starring in the same sad stories) music can bridge the gaps.”

UNO FESTIVAL OF SOLO PERFORMANCE (Intrepid Theatre, Victoria, BC)
“It was the absolute best theatre I have seen all season and I have season tickets to four companies and go to many other shows. FABULOUS !”

“I just saw one of the best productions I’ve seen in a long time. I LOVED The Other Guys Theatre Company’s production of The Incompleat Folk Singer; the staging was simple, effective; the singing was incredible and the story was even better.”

METRO STUDIO THEATRE (Victoria, BC, premiere)
“Just want to say how great your Pete Seeger production is. Mark did a fabulous job and the text and song selections were performed so well. My sister and I just loved this show. Plus we got to sing!!”

“I came home and my heart was so wide open, that I stood on my porch and as I sang those words “if I had a hammer, I felt all that inspiration flood through me. This, if anything…is tremendous service to the world. A show inspired by a man whose life service was about opening human hearts.”

“There were times when your spoken tone and timing sounded very much like Pete – closing my eyes it was very easy to picture him and feel the gravity of the life he was living. Congratulations…”

“Bravo last night…! Such an inspiring show, and I’m just buzzing from it. I’ll be looking this fellow up and his music now!”