by Jim Loucks
58 min / Comedy, Drama, Solo / PG
Young boys are drawn to heroes. They want to pattern their lives after such men: pole stars to guide them through life’s trials. As a young boy, Jim Loucks (or his character) idolizes his grandaddy, Ellic. How can he not? His family speaks of the retired police chief in glowing terms. “He ain’t afraid of nothin’!”, says his daughter. Loucks’s grandma tells tales of how Ellic wooed her with his gentle ways and his serenades, while having the backbone to stand up to her daddy to win her hand in marriage when she was 17.
Grandaddy Ellic is a tall commanding presence who chain-smokes unfiltered Pall Malls and has many guns with which he goes hunting. He’s reputed to own brass knuckles and an iron-reinforced blackjack. He can demonstrate enormous physical strength, yet apply his big hands with the gentlest touch.
Ellic can win a confrontation with his physical presence, but he prefers words over violence to win his battles. No mere redneck police veteran, he recites John Greenleaf Whittier to quell a young opponent’s anger:
Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheeks of tan!…
Young Jim’s parents are a hellfire-and-brimstone preaching father and a pistol-packing housewife who works in a dressmaker’s shop. They fight often and loudly, shaking their little house and scaring young Jim. Consequently, loud noises startle and scare him: sirens, brass instruments, gunshots. Jim compares himself to his grandaddy and counts himself inadequate. He fears he is a biscuiteater, like a gun-shy dog that is useless for hunting.
Word has it that Ellic killed a man in the line of police duty. Young Jim gets his grandaddy to admit to the story. Jim listens in awe, but Ellic knows that Jim must learn much more about being a man than guns, strength and killing.
How Ellic teaches Jim while dealing with his own demons is a tale that has won Loucks’ show Best Solo Performance awards at multiple Fringe festivals. It’s a solid performance that gives audiences new appreciation for men with Southern drawls.
The Biscuiteater by Jim Loucks is being performed in Studio Léonard-Beaulne inside University of Ottawa (133 Séraphin-Marion Pvt) until Saturday June 23, 2018. Tickets Cost $12. Visit ottawafringe.com for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.