Chemainus singer and comedian Nick Schols has been working on his one-man show A Wooden Shoe in Canada for the last year, and this week, he will debut it during the Fringetastic Fringe Festival in Nanaimo.
From Aug. 16-26, eight theatre companies from across North America descend on downtown Nanaimo to perform at the Port Theatre and the Vancouver Island Conference Centre for the second annual fringe theatre event.
A Wooden Shoe in Canada is the musical story of a Dutch immigrant as he moves to Canada.
Schols — who is known as Nick the Entertainer — is excited to debut the show at the second annual Fringetastic, which starts this Thursday and runs until Aug. 26 in downtown Nanaimo.
Schols has participated in fringe festivals in Victoria before but not since the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“I would like to get back into it,” he said. “I really enjoy fringe festivals.”
Schols is an immigrant from Holland, and he thought it might be interesting to create a show about moving to a new country and about how it isn’t always easy to get used to new surroundings and new ways.
“It is a story about coming to Canada and finding out what are the differences,” he said. “It is a combination of songs, standup comedy and characters, so it’s a variety.”
One difference he has noticed is Canadians’ obsession with hockey. That comes through in A Wooden Shoe In Canada, as Schols sings a song he wrote called The Holy Puck.
“I think that’s a difference in religions between Holland and Canada — hockey is Canada’s only true religion, I believe,” said Schols.
Schols came to Canada in 1975, landing first in Ontario. Schols came to B.C. in 1987, and he moved to Chemainus in 2010. He had performed here in 2000 in The Sound of Music, and that’s when he fell in love with Chemainus.
Schols has been performing for more than 40 years as an actor and a director. He had a theatre group in Victoria called the Nicolodeon Players, which he had started while living in Ontario, and he has won awards as a director for The Diary of Anne Frank and The Melville Boys.
A Wooden Shoe in Canada is a combination of all-original songs and monologues. Schols wrote the one-man show during the past year.
“I hope [audiences] get out of it an hour of fun, an hour of pleasant entertainment,” he said. “I hope they leave and feel better.”
Schols “absolutely loves” performing a one-man show, where he gets to do a little bit of everything.
“I haven’t done it for a while,” he said. “I’ve done standup comedy, but I love this because it’s more of a show.”
During Fringetastic, this year’s performing companies will be travelling from as far away as New York, Ontario, Alberta and Washington State, and many will be coming from Vancouver Island. The types of performance range from one-person musical storytelling to a self-described “theatre of chaos” involving eight performers and a technician busy enough to count as the ninth performer.
New to Fringetastic this year is the Fringehub. Starting this Wednesday (Aug. 15) with the Preview Show, the Port Theatre will dedicate its lobby to hosting a variety of fringe events from 7- 9 p.m. each night.
The Preview Show features “sampler” performances from each Fringetastic participant and gives audiences a chance to get the inside scoop before the festival starts on Thursday. In addition to live performances each night, the Fringehub will also host a chalkboard where audiences can leave their own reviews, and of course it is the main ticket centre.
To find out more about the second annual Fringetastic Fringe Festival and purchase tickets, click here.
A Wooden Shoe in Canada will be shown at the Nanaimo Conference Centre Thurs., Aug. 16 at 7 p.m., Sat., Aug. 18 at 9 p.m., Fri., Aug. 24 at 7 p.m., Sat., Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8.
For more information about Nick the Entertainer, visit his website.