Introduction to Scouts Are Cancelled. © 2/2007
Middle aged, way broke and with nothing to lose, Toronto telemarketer John Stiles hears the exasperated “hello” on the other end of the line:
“How yah doon anight?” he quips …
and with that simple phrase, Stiles invents an inspired rural-roots call centre performance art that changes his life dramatically. This new voice, first used to woo his cold calls, develops and evolves into energetic performances that he gives at Toronto’s open mike readings. Then comes two published books of poems and literary tours throughout Eastern Canada and New England.
And people love it! Whether he’s conjuring the work on stage or improvising it in the midst of a cold call, audiences fall in love with Stiles’ energizing performances that are animated with the sounds he makes of sirens, dogs, horns and the distinct characters and dialect of his home community in rural Nova Scotia.
Mainly in the moment, and on the road, SCOUTS ARE CANCELLED is a surprising and cinematic story of an underdog character who finds “his voice” as a telemarketer – and from there, his story takes us on a revealing journey, far, far away from that careful script that we are all supposed to follow.