Turns out Torontonians really do like to talk. Despite the belief they are a reserved folk, Dale Curd found them to be downright chatty when he spoke to them during Season 1 of CBC’s newest series, Hello Goodbye.
Adapted from the international series devised by BlazHoffski, CBC’s take on the 10-parter—debuting Friday, Jan. 8, at 8:30 p.m.—finds psychotherapist Curd traipsing around Toronto Pearson International Airport, getting the stories behind the folks in the departures and arrivals lounge. As expected, there is plenty of emotion, whether it be from those saying goodbye, or tearfully welcoming someone home. What struck me as I watched the first instalment is how readily complete strangers are willing to tell Curd their personal stories, whether it be that of a boyfriend seeing his gal pal after eight months apart or a man describing how much his arriving wife helped him get over the death of his father. It’s pretty engaging and emotional stuff.
“I just let the conversation unfold,” Curd says. “If I opened up the space just to allow them to share and let the conversation build naturally and ask natural questions, they wanted to tell me more. Those two men got to a point in the conversations where they felt it was important for me to know about them.” Rather than steer the conversation as most reality hosts do through talking, Curd mostly listens intently, letting his subjects speak and tell their tales. The former host of OWN Canada’s Life Story Project says by the time he’d been speaking to someone for nine to 10 minutes, they began to relax and open up; in some cases interviewer and interviewee both lost track of time, something truly remarkable in an international airport where schedules rule over all.
Curd has made a career out of listening to people, but even he was surprised during production of Hello Goodbye. He conducted a personal experiment: when cameras weren’t rolling, he’d wander into the crowd and strike up off-the-cuff conversations away from the series. What did he learn? People are generally open to discussion whether on-camera or not. He also discovered that—though Pearson is located in Toronto—the folks within in represent the nation.
“There are people from all over Canada who are coming to this hub,” he says. “[Domestic arrivals] really opened up my eyes to how many people from how many different places in Canada actually come through Pearson airport.” These are their stories.
Hello Goodbye airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on CBC.