Father’s gambling past showcased in son’s one-man performance

NANAIMO - Western Edge Theatre presents Songs and Stories of Davy the Punk, a show written and performed by Bob Bossin.

Underneath the quiet exterior of Bob Bossin’s father laid a man with ties to the Canadian gambling world.

His father was a pivotal figure in Toronto’s gambling demi-monde in the ’30s and ’40s. His tribulations led to precedent-setting laws that affect Canadians today. His father had about 50 phones he used to distribute information after events. The police wanted to shut him down and contacted his service provider to shut off his service.

“My father challenged it in court,” said Bossin.

It created a discussion about how much authority the government has to access people’s accounts and whether they are private and who can use them.

Bossin said the scenario is similar to what is currently happening around the Internet.

His father’s tale is told during Songs and Stories of Davy the Punk, a one-man show. Bossin knew his father as a quiet and conservative man, but as time went on he heard more stories about him and started to realize there was more to his father.

Through freedom of information requests, digging through archives, interviews and a few stories his father told during outings at the ballpark Bossin pieced together a different figure of his father.

“My father was a very odd guy. He was basically mute most of the time,” said Bossin, adding his father used to tell him ‘what you don’t say can’t be held against you.’ “He was an outlaw. He was a significant figure in the gambling history of Canada.”

The show is Davy’s story pieced together from information gathered.

Bossin said it’s mostly fact, but that personal accounts varied because people were recalling events from 50 years ago

The performance is the first time the show has been done in its entirety. He previously performed it at a couple of Island festivals in the summer, but has since expanded the piece to two acts.

Davy the Punk shows Friday and Saturday (Nov. 23-24) at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday (Nov. 25) at 2 p.m. at Headliners, located at 165 Fraser St.

Tickets are $18 for adults/ $10 for students and available at www.westernedge.org or by calling 250-668-0991.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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