Dramatis Personae
Naomi McGowan
Alex Rioux
Jason McIntyre

Alex McAllister
Finn Boehm
David Dairo-Singerr
Kelsey Hines
Jason McIntyre
Mary Walker
Naomi McGowan

Paula Vogel
Eric Sterbenk

Director's Note

Back in May, a drunken walk home led to myself and my friend Jason McIntyre starting a theatre company. For our first production we decided on a few criteria: the play should be funny, it should be relevant to what’s going on in the world today, and it should be written by a female playwright. Almost immediately my mind went to Paula Vogel and The Baltimore Waltz.

Paula is a writer whose plays I have been championing for years. Her ability to take insurmountably huge topics - AIDS, domestic violence, anti-semitism - and handle them with such care and precision has always left me in awe of her work. Paula’s plays are joyous, magical, crushing, devastating - all at the same time.

Having the opportunity to work on this play, with this creative team, and this cast has been one of the most joyful experiences of my life. I care about everyone who made this show possible dearly, and even at my lowest I always looked forward to rehearsal. There is, simply put, no experience in life better than making art surrounded by dear friends.

While the backdrop of the play is ostensibly the AIDS Crisis – a prognosis that is different now than it was in the 1980s - I think there are many parallels that can be drawn between that time in history and today. Republican senators in the 1980s attacked the National Endowment of the Arts by pointing to queer artists - such as Robert Maplethorp - as reasons to cut funding to the NEA. In today’s political climate, conservative politicians have used topics such as drag shows, trans women in sports, and - here in New Brunswick - reviewing Policy 713 as ways of stirring up their base, dog whistling their bigoted beliefs, and attacking queer identity publicly.

We cannot discuss the backdrop of this play without also discussing Carl Vogel. Paula wrote this play shortly after his passing from HIV and AIDS and he is quite literally a character in this play. Taking on the mantle of playing a stand-in for the playwright’s dead brother is no small task, and I can quite confidently say: there is no one in the world I would trust with this role more than Alex Rioux. One theme you may notice throughout this play is the power of language. I think one of the beautiful aspects of language in this play is it forces every company who puts on this play to talk about Carl in the present tense. Carl is going to Europe. Carl has had the opportunity to live on and travel the world because of this play. This weekend Carl gets the opportunity to see the sights and sounds of Fredericton, New Brunswick. Welcome Carl.

A Note From Carl Vogel
The following is a letter Carl Vogel wrote Paula before he died. As executor of his estate, Paula gave permission to future productions to include this letter in the accompanying programs to let Carl speak in his own words.

March 1987

Dear Paula:

I thought I would jot down some of my thoughts about the (shall we say) production values of my ceremony. Oh God - I can hear you groaning - everybody wants to direct. Well, I want a good show, even though my role has been reduced involuntarily from player to prop.

First, concerning the choice between a religious ceremony and a memorial service. I know the family considers my Anglican observances as irrelevant as Shinto. However, I wish prayers in some recognizably traditional form to be said, prayers that give thanks to the Creator for the gift of life an the hope of reunion. For reasons which you appreciate, I prefer a woman cleric, if possible, to lead the prayers. Here are two names: Phebe Coe, Epiphany Church, the Rev Doris Mote, Holy Evangelists. Be sure to make a generous contribution from the estate for the cleric.

As for the piece of me I leave behindd, here are your options

  1. Open casket, full drag.
  2. Open casket, bum up (you'll know where to place the calla lillies, won't you?).
  3. Closed casket, internment with the grandparents.
  4. Cremation and burrial of my ashes.
  5. Cremation and dispersion of my ashes in some sylvan spot.

I would really like good music. My tastes in these matters run to the highbrow: Faure's "Pie Jesu" from his Requium. Gluck's "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" from Orfeo, "La Vergine degli Angeli" from Verdi's Forza. But my favourite song is "I Dream of Jeannie," and I wouldn't mind a spiritual like "Steal Away." Also perhaps "Nearer My God to Thee." Didn't Jeannette MacDonald sing that di-vinely in San Francisco?

Finally, would you read or have read A.E. Housman's "Loveliest of Trees"?

Well, my dear, that's that. Should I be lain with Grandma and Papa Ben, do stop by for a visit from year to year. And feel free to chat. You'll find me a good listener



Finnley Boehm (he/him) is currently completing his drama degree at UNB and works as a Production Assistant with Theatre New Brunswick. Some of his recent credits include Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing (Bard in the Barracks), Jim in The Perfect Arrangement (Theatre UNB), Assistant Stage Manager of Uncle Vanya (Next Folding), and Director of Movie Club (Notable Acts). Stage Managing for Smuggler’s Theatre has been an amazing experience with this team of insanely talented friends and artists.

David Dairo-Singerr currently studies at UNB, and is majoring in drama and film. He last featured in Perfect Arrangement (TUNB 2023). He has worked on other productions such as Ends of the Earth, Henry V, and other various plays with TUNB and Bard in the Barracks. David mainly enjoys to be behind the scenes, but also has a passion for being on stage.

Alex McAllister is a theatre artist living in Fredericton. He's worked on shows across Atlantic Canada. Recent productions include Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, As You Like It (Bard in the Barracks), Lawrence and Holloman (Theatre UNB), Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, and Rope (Theatre Arts Guild).

Naomi McGowan is a multidisciplinary artist passionate about all things theatre. Performance is her main focus but directing, producing and teaching are not far behind. Recently she has worked with Solo Chicken, Bard in the Barracks and Broadway by the Sea. She has greatly enjoyed her debut with Smuggler’s Theatre. Enjoy the show!

Jason McIntyre (he/him) is a Fredericton based emerging artist who likes to dip his toes into many mediums. He is passionate about comedy in all it's forms; from improv comedy, to acting in comedic plays, to writing comedic plays, to making strange noises in attempts to make his friends laugh. You may recognize him from the local improv troupe 'Dead Serious', from some of the stand-up comedy sets he has done in the city, or from his recent roles in 'Coriolanus' and 'Julius Caesar' with Bard in the Barracks.

Alex Rioux is an emerging non-binary theatre artist, improviser, and educator currently based in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Their work focuses on using physical theatre to enhance traditional narratives to create rich and unique theatre experiences. Their debut piece Fruit Machine chronicled Canada’s gay military purge and utilized physical theatre as the catalyst to examine this oppressive time in Canadian history. Alex also continues to spearhead The Plain Site Theatre Festival, New Brunswick’s first and only queer-centered theatre festival. This festival provides emerging artists and students the chance to have their scripts developed and be mentored by other queer artists at the top of their field.

Mary Walker (she/her) is a theatre artist and graphic designer based in Fredericton, NB. Since completing her drama major at UNB she has worked primarily as a performer, graphic designer, and occasional photographer for local theatre companies including Theatre UNB, Bard in the Barracks and NotaBle Acts. She is thrilled to lend her design skills to the talented folks at Smugglers Theatre and is thrilled to be a part of their inaugural production!

Isaac's Way Restaurant, The Abbey, Monarch Night Club

Special Thanks
Charlotte Street Arts Center, Theatre UNB, Theatre New Brunswick, Jessica Weagle, Jeremy Fowler, Shawn Randall, Kelsey Hines, Brennan Garnett