Dylon Featherstone – Theatre in the Ring
Dylon Featherstone is the founder of Red Deer’s Canadian Wrestling Coalition. He’s been a fan of the genre since he was a child, growing up watching larger-than-life figures in spandex duke it out in the ring. His fascination with the action, stories, and physicality naturally led to his own foray into the ring.
Instead of travelling across Alberta for the chance to perform, it was logistically simpler for Dylon and other local wrestlers to build their own ring and stage their own production. Now in it’s third year, the CWC is an impressively staged, planned, and performed event. Wrestlers come together every month to entertain all ages with what is essentially a live superhero-action-comedy loaded with camp. The production is equal parts theatre, improv, escapism, and feats of endurance and strength.
Sure, wrestling is fake, but physics is not. Dylon and his performers risk very real injuries diving off the stage and slamming each other onto the floor. It’s fascinating to piece out the techniques that keep each other safe, to find the indiscernible moments of communication and trust between performers. When I’m cringing in reaction to painful looking move, I recognize that the wrestlers are giving strong performances.
This is a wonderful middle ground between art and athletics. The CWC’s focus is on providing affordable entertainment in a family environment. Entire families attend to see the matches. Children are unhinged as they react to the matches and cheer on their heroes. People watchers will rejoice at this spectacular show within the show. My favourite moment so far: current champ and expert heel, Jonny Kick Ass ripping up a young fan’s sign. After processing these strange new emotions for a bit, the boy shouts to the stage: “Your name should be Jonny Lick Ass!” Bravo young one.
Booing and chirping and cheering are not only encouraged in this production; they’re necessary. The escapism offered by letting go of your ego and indulging in the absurdity is infectious. If you’re having trouble, watching a guy named Cheetahbear get thrown through a table should clear that up big head pretty quickly.
SCENE NEXT – The Canadian Wrestling Coalition returns with “Shattered” on September 22nd at Festival Hall. Dylon Stone (the character) lost his title match last month and will look for new opportunities in the ring. What’s next? Tag-team matches with Larry the Lumberjack? A heavyweight contest? Dylon’s got some contemplation to do before re-entering the ring in another storyline. Plus, y’know, recuperating from 25 straight minutes of athletic theatre.
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