Clothes Swaps and Stay Theatre Come Collectively at Toronto’s Fringe Pageant

Clothing Swaps and Live Theatre Come Together at Toronto’s Fringe Festival

Pictures Courtesy of Bryan Cacciatore

“Swapping actually does span all totally different socio-economic and cultural gaps, which is among the issues that is most fulfilling about it.”



Amanda Barker and Dale Boyer, the longtime associates behind the creative new play/clothes swap fittingly titled Clotheswap, have had their very own Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants second. Within the 15+ years that they’ve been attending swaps collectively, Barker has amassed virtually all of Boyer’s denims. “The primary swap that she ever had I couldn’t imagine it, you realize we’re not the identical physique sort, but when Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants taught us something, it’s that everyone can put on the identical denims,” says Barker.

It is smart, contemplating their lengthy historical past of internet hosting and attending clothes swaps, that the 2 writers/comedians would weave these shared experiences right into a part-scripted, part-improvised theatrical efficiency that’s at the moment underway at Toronto’s Fringe Pageant. Earlier this week, I made my approach to The Textile Museum of Canada for a day efficiency of the present, which sees Erin (Cassie Cao), Krimp (Ashley Comeau), Geri (Tarah Consoli), and Brenda (Amanda Barker) convening in Renata’s (Karen Parker) lifeless grandmother’s residence for a garments swap. All kinds of insecurities, flaws, and pent-up emotions are revealed over the course of the present, the narrative script making you are feeling as if you’re listening in on a dialog amongst associates, whereas the skillfully executed improvisation opens the story as much as the viewers. Viewers members are inspired to carry their very own clothes for use throughout the efficiency, and take part in a real-life clothes swap after the present. The remaining items are donated to native charities comparable to Sistering and Costume for Success.

The primary time Boyer and Barker noticed one another was at a earlier Toronto Fringe Pageant again in 2002, nonetheless, they didn’t truly meet till 2003. After being forged collectively in “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding ceremony” at The Second Metropolis, they began their very own sketch troupe known as “Disgrace is Proper!”. Since then, they’ve labored collectively on numerous tasks, comparable to 2015’s Residence for the Holidays with Jann Arden.

Pictures Courtesy of Bryan Cacciatore

When the concept for Clotheswap began to kind, Boyer says she and Barker didn’t see themselves in any of the roles. “It’s humorous, we wrote this present and we truly didn’t envision ourselves inside it in any respect. However it was actually essential for us to create, as greatest we might in 90 minutes anyway, totally fleshed girls who had been contradictory, even inside themselves.” 76% of the folks working within the garment trade are feminine, says Barker, and so the present is as a lot in regards to the narrative of the clothes itself because the narrative of the ladies sporting it, driving residence the purpose that that is very a lot a lady’s story to inform.

The story additionally comes from a deeply private place, seeing as clothes swaps have lengthy been an enormous a part of each Barker and Boyer’s lives. “In all probability so long as we’ve recognized one another we’ve been doing garments swaps, and we sort of have a core group that do them now,” says Boyer, at whose residence Barker attended her first-ever swap, again in 2002 or 2003. Since then, the ladies have been to numerous extra swaps, all of which have been organized a bit in a different way. “The final swap I went to really was a really painstaking course of of 1 piece at a time—actually it was about an Eight-hour swap,” says Barker. Others may permit ‘battles’ (the place one swapper has to show to a different why he or she deserves that individual garment), and a few may simply be a whole free-for-all.

Clotheswap reveals girls of all totally different backgrounds, professions, and sizes coming collectively to swap their clothes, which is indicative of how clothes swaps work in actual life. Variety and inclusivity had been an enormous affect for the script, Barker explains, as a result of it’s what they love essentially the most about their very own swaps, which she describes as “a few of our most fulfilling occasions to get collectively as girls, as a result of it’s not simply inside an insular group. Swapping actually does span all totally different socio-economic and cultural gaps.” Clothes swaps additionally carry up conversations about life, reminiscences, attachment and physique picture, which aren’t female-specific, which is why Barker hopes to encourage extra males to become involved as nicely. “This story can be about all of the non-female figuring out folks in our lives. For us, we wish males to swap, we wish non-female identifiers to swap, as a result of cloth is for everybody.”

Apart from the non-public and emotional components of a clothes swap, there’s a sustainable and eco-conscious angle to them as nicely. “For the final 4 years we’ve been learning the results of quick trend, the way it clearly impacts the world but additionally our everyday,” says Barker. In line with her analysis, 86% of donated clothes find yourself in landfills as a result of individuals are making a gift of undesirable stained, ripped, or smelly clothes. “The textile trade in Kenya, which was as soon as one in every of their most thriving and vibrant industries, not exists due to our donations of quick trend.” Today, a variety of textiles can’t be recycled as a result of they’re continuously blended with artificial fibres, making it nearly inconceivable to separate one from the opposite.

Whereas Barker describes herself as “not a hoarder, however shut,” Boyer considers herself a “deep swapper,” not often maintaining clothes for greater than a season. “The humorous factor is that I’ve extra fabulous, great garments than I’ve ever had in my life. If you’re not holding on to one thing, that’s when issues present up for me.”



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