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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sad...

We received news today that a good friend of ours was in a car accident. Her two little girls (2 and 6) are gone and she and her 16 year old son are in critical condition. Her husband was not in the car. Mark went to school with the husband. This is the second of his close high school friends to have suffered a devastating loss of family. We loved her and those girls and her son and it is so sad to think about what has happened and what else might happen as she is still in hospital.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Horizons...

Met with CK of Artstart today. I will be volunteer teaching/directing a drama class for youth in the inner city who might not have access to arts education otherwise. Today was an 'information' exchange... what the class would be... when was I available. It felt good. It will allow me to teach a bit (younger kids than I am used to, but that's alright) and direct and work with new people. I will also be volunteering in the arts, which I do already, but this feels like a little less self-interested volunteer. I am looking forward to it.

Trial Run...

Today I got the boys up and fed and dressed and out the door at the soon to be usual time and did a trial run of my Tuesday morning trip. Yes, it's Thursday, but on Tuesday we didn't get out the door early enough. In any case, we made it with time to spare. I circled the block so that I was leaving the bus stop at 8:06 AM and made it to the daycare by 8:27 AM and out of the daycare by 8:35 AM. I passed the Timm's at 8:40 AM. That would mean I would have 20 minutes to park and get to class. Completely doable. And if it turns out to be tighter (bus running late... etc...) then I should still have some buffer time. I will also ask the bus driver about whether or not I can put Ollie on the bus at an earlier (and closer to the University) stop. I feel better about the whole thing. And it will only be Tuesdays. On Thursday, I can take Gibson earlier and not have to wait for the bus.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to School Time...

I now have everything arranged for 'back to school'. I never heard back from the Before School Care place, despite going in twice and speaking to 2 different people. I also didn't get the best feeling about the place (noisy, disorganized, funny smell...) so I started to look for another option. I started to think about the bus for Oliver and I investigated and that is what we are doing. The benefits are a consistent start time in the morning (Mark will drop off on his days and he will get to work earlier), way cheaper (French Immersion is a 'special program' not offered at my community school so the bus rate is about 1/2 what you would regularly pay), and I can still pick Oliver up after school. I think Tuesdays will still be tight for travel time, but I will make it work (somehow!).

I am also lining up what I want to be doing this Fall. There seems to be so many opportunities and unfortunately talking about possibilities with friends has leaked things out to people who may want me (I was approached by an ELOPE Board member with an 'I heard you were interested...') and I am not sure exactly what I want to be doing. I wish all the offers came at the same time... but they trickle in and you have to decide on one before you get the next and then if that's what you'd rather be doing you are stuck unless you want to be super-busy. I have a few Boards to decide on, and I am waiting to hear about helping with an Independent Production and I am meeting to see about how I could contribute to ArtStart. I am also starting the University course and I really want to get in shape, eat better and WRITE (alone and with AM). The good thing is, I am planning it out. I have a weekly schedule started and I am looking at how it all fits together. Maybe it is a good thing that the boys are on wait lists for swimming at the YMCA... Two less things to worry about...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

And in Conclusion...

So, now that I have seen everything I want to give my 'ratings'. Some of this is apples to oranges, but there it is. It is easier to assess now that I have seen more than one show. Some of the ratings are low because of script and direction (Quinn, Bellies and Daisies and to some degree Aloha and Bobby Gould) and some are low due to the actors/performers (Tap Attack, and to some degree Bellies). It is hard to compare because when you look at what they were supposed to be, some hit the mark but the mark wasn't that high. Some had a high mark to hit and failed to hit it. All in all I enjoyed the Fringe and none of the shows were a 'waste of time'. I got something out of all of them.

Diamond Dog (4 1/2*) note: I may have been tougher in my original rating. This is after seeing more shows. Clever script and wel-done production.
Aloha Pinafore (3*) note: Even with a 3* rating... I loved this fun little romp in the high seas. It is just hard to compare to the other more sophisticated scripts without being tougher.
Oleanna (3 1/2*) note: I debate on this... the first 1/2 got a 3* and the second half a 4 1/2*. I sort of split the difference. They just took a while to warm up and I think we should have hated the professor more after the first scene.
Don't Make Fun of Jesus (4*) note: a stand-out stand-up routine... not a play.
Bobby Gould in Hell (3*) note: The script was a little silly. I think it was well done, but the point was hard to get. I really liked the Devil and the girl-friend.
Tap Attack (2*) - note: dance recital...
A Body of Water (5*) - note: This was exactly what the show should have been. There was nothing more they could have done. Some people may have been unsatisfied with the script, but it is supposed to leave you hanging.
An Oak Tree (3 1/2*) - note: would have liked it more as a rehearsed production without the gimmick of the guest performer unfamiliar with the script.
Quinn's Death (2*) - note: I felt that the actors did the best they could with the material and direction that they were given. The script needed much more development and the production as a whole needed a concept.
Pagliacci (5*) - note: degree of difficulty was through the roof. The uncomfortable seats almost made me take 1/2 a * away, but it was just so good!
25 Plays About... Love (4*) - note: I debated on this. The script is not as strong as it could be, but the production as a whole was well put together. I almost gave it a 3 1/2,...
Pushin' Up Daisies (2 1/2*) - note: Cheesy, but not cheesy enough. Camp, but not camp enough. I do expect good things from these guys in the future.
Stars and Sons (4*) - note: I liked this. A stronger ending would have earned it a 4 1/2.
Bellies, Knees, and Ankles (2*) - note: The script was tres weak! The direction was heavy handed and misguided. Some of the actors were obvious and indicating.
Coffee Dad, Chicken Mom and the Fabulous Buddha Boi (4 1/2*) - note: Good script, GREAT actor.
Green Eggs and Kerouac (3 1/2*) - note: Clever script, well thought out production. Wanted a little more depth.
Sylvie (3 1/2*) - note: I liked this, but I thought that it could have been trimmed a bit and I am n into the narrated story as compared to the 'lived' scenes. I thought there could have been more choices by the actors explored.
Putting It Together (5*) - note: This show was EXACTLY what the show should have been. It was sophisticated and the level of difficulty such that to achieve what they did was amazing. It may not be for everyone (too sophisticated?), but it was phenomenal. The most polished and well-put together Fringe show I saw this year.

Wrapping Up....

Yesterday was our last show. It was a really good show, with a fun and involved audience. My parents were there along with my sister-in-law and niece. I could hear my folks laughing through most of it. I come from a family who are not shy about laughing and participating. My niece was decked out in full Cinderella dress. She looked gorgeous. She was too shy to come on stage but I went out after and we took a picture together and I gave her my wand. I hope she uses the magic for good.

I also saw a few more shows yesterday...

25 Plays About... Love - This show convinced me that Double, Double would work well at the Fringe. It was a series of sketches loosely around the theme of 'love'. I think that if the show is well performed, the sketch around a theme idea works really well. I was worried about that, but it is clear this one was well-received.

Pushin' Up Daisies - Very cute, if underdeveloped and under polished, musical. Some young talent that will do well when they gain some sophistication. A great song about always playing the character who dies. I don't know if it deserved the 4*s the Journal gave it, but it was cute.

Stars and Sons - I quite liked this. It was a real play and an interesting juxtaposition of character and story. I was unsatisfied with the ending as I felt it was just done and I don't know if was really as well-written as the rest of it. I thought it deserved more than the 3*s it got.

Bellies, Knees and Ankles - I went to see Linette. She was delightful onstage. She had a real lightness about her that the other three actresses lacked. The play was awkward and predictable and the directed underscored the already too predictable elements... too bad. I enjoyed parts of it and laughed a bit and I admired the actors commitment to the piece. Linette was clearly the most comfortable in her choices... nothing forced or contrived.

Today I shall go see 4 more shows and then I am done with Fringe this year.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Almost Done...

Well, my second Fringe as performer is drawing to a close. There is one more show tomorrow at 3 p.m. and then I retire the glitter for a while. I have a few shows to see and hopefully I can pick up a few more while I am there. It takes a bit of coordination. Tonight I am off to Pagliacci and I am toying with seeing something beforehand if Mark gets home in time, but I do feel dog tired so that may not happen!

This has been a fun Fringe for me. Last year I knew the show I was in was uneven so I was concerned. I gave it my all, but you can only do so much when you are in a big cast. This show I feel is much more even in tone and talent. I like the consistency of it. I like that everyone has expressed different 'favorites' so that no one was left out or felt bad about their performance. I also LOVE the fact that we have been so successful, selling out 6 of our 8 shows (and I know we were at least 90% full on the other 2). It will be gratifying to actually get a pay cheque for doing a show - tee hee! It was also so much fun to do a show that the boys could both come to. It is nice that they have an idea of what I am doing when I am out in the evenings and weekends.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Something Funny

I'm talking to Erik der Waal who has a kid's show here at the Fringe and he tells me that the reviewer from See or Vue (Sherry Dawn Nettles) who lambasted his show then went to the online Journal reviews and rebutted all the reviews that disagreed with her.  So, if she didn't like their review she wrote an even more scathing review to follow-up online.  What the?  didn't she have her chance to review?  

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Assorted Online Reviews...

We have been getting pretty consistent reviews - 3*s and 3.5*s. The text has been positive with only one review commenting on the script having some flat dialogue but then clarifying that the little girl beside him didn't seem to mind. Here they are:

Global TV (you have to pick the Aug 18 clip)
http://www.canada.com/globaltv/edmonton/video/index.html

Edmonton Journal (Look! I got a nice mention!). If you scroll down you get audience reviews. I bet that a lot of them are from friends of ours... I'm a little cynical!
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/culture/features/festivals/story.html?id=151f887b-302d-4b3a-819a-7ccfe2da3d55

Vue Weekly (Note: the reviewer thinks the director writes the script...)
http://www.vueweekly.com/article.php?id=9334

Can't find See Magazine Reviews online - but we got 3*s from them and a nice write up. We haven't been reviewed in the Edmonton Sun yet, but hopefully soon.

I saw A Body of Water and An Oak Tree today. Both were pretty good. A Body of Water was the better of the two. I would have liked An Oak Tree better without the gimmick of the guest actor who hadn't seen the script. Last night I saw Don't Make Fun of Jesus (a very funny stand-up routine), Tap Attack (a dance show that was technically good but lacked passion), and Bobby Gould in Hell (another Mamet play, this one a comedy, that was fun). Tonight I think I will stay home and clean up a bit.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Three Shows Down...

We have had wonderfully full houses and it seems to be going very well. Yesterday Mark and the boys came to see the show. They said they had fun. I got Gibson onstage 2x. The first time he got down and then said he didn't want to do it and I had the audience help him. The second time he bowed with a large group of people at the end and it was all good. Oliver participated but I didn't get him onstage. Apparently he was in a mini-play at the kids fringe so he wasn't too worried about it.

We were reviewed by The Vue and received a nice review and 3* which is what I thought we would get. We do a good job, but how do you compare Children's Theatre to work written for adults? It's apples and oranges. Most of the kid's shows got 3*, with a couple getting only 2* and only one getting 4* and it was a professional puppet show (The Ugly Duckling - KayBridge Company). I am happy with the review as it was generous to the cast as a whole and there was nothing negative in it.

Looking through The Vue Weekly's reviews I discovered that I have tickets for a no star, a couple of 2*, a 3* and some 4* shows. A real mixed bag. I will be positive for my friends. I like variety and I am enjoying supporting my friends as well as seeing new things. I am getting to a lot of theatre, even though I can't get to everything.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Two More Shows Seen...

I saw Aloha Pinafore and Oleanna tonight, so....

Aloha Pinafore - A fun little romp. I know all these people so it is hard for me to not just enjoy the show. It ain't high art (despite the G & S), but it is good, clean, silly fun. Very tight ensemble. Good vocals all around (boys and girls!). And it has the funniest Drag Queen bit which at the same time show-cased 4 amazing sopranos! It is not for everyone, but if you can relax about theatre and you recognize that some theatre is purely for the entertainment value, you will have a good time.

Oleanna - Mamet.... Okay, it took me a bit to get into this show because the first 1/3 sets up the rest and Mamet is very wordy and fragmented at the same time. The next 2/3 thirds will jar you. If you don't like to leave a theatre ANGRY then do not go. If you like to think and be challenged emotionally, ride this roller coaster. It's not what you think. Oh, but why is it called Oleanna? I don't get that...

After the shows I got to visit with a bunch of people I really like. Not enough time to 'really' visit with everyone, but there is never enough time! I enjoyed just being around all of them!

First Show Done!

This morning at 11 AM we had our first show. The house was full (yay!) and the kids seemed to have fun. It isn't a laugh a minute but there were certainly laughs and I think the show was enjoyed by most if not all. We had some interesting technical problems, no doubt due to the fact that we didn't get to have a complete Q to Q so the techs weren't as familiar with the show as we were. So lights came up early and late, as did sound cues and some lights were in the wrong places. We even skipped about a page when the bell tolled midnight very early! Yikes! We rolled with it. I stumbled over some of my words - which I usually don't do... I shall have to run them again tonight and tomorrow morning on book to clarify! It's fast, so there isn't much you can do but ride along!

Review - Diamond Dog (BYOVB-Varscona)

On Thursday after my manicure and pedicure I managed to get to the Fringe site early enough to catch the early show of Diamond Dog at the Varscona. The Varscona had three shows that started prior to 8 pm so they did not appear in the program - I think that may have contributed to the fact that there were only about 10 people in the audience. I enjoyed the show. It was definitely tight and well performed. I particularly liked the actor who played Pug and Belinda Cornish as Mare. In fact, I preferred Belinda as Uncle Terry as opposed to Ken Brown (she shared his monologue with the audience at Wunderbar on Monday night). There were a few technical glitches (sound too loud so you couldn't hear the dialogue, an incorrect subtitle on a screen) but most were cleared up after the first third of the show. I found Linda Grass very stiff as Alberta. I am not sure if that was a choice but it didn't work for me. I liked the dynamic of the 4 main stooges. They were obviously a very accomplished and experienced cast. I wonder how well the show will do as many might have seen it during the regular season. Perhaps those who couldn't afford it will find the Fringe price more to their liking. In any case, if you like British heist movies like Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, this will be a cool show for you to go to. *** 1/2 (**** if the technical issues are cleared up as I assume they will be!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's out of your hands....

So, like, TV editing sucks. Well, I guess you never think you sound as dorky as you do until a news person chops up your interview and pieces it together and leaves things out. At least it was short... It's probably not as bad as I think... Maybe dorky is good for Children's Theatre?

What I am going to for sure at Fringe (so far...)...

Aloha Pinafore - Friday, Aug 15 - 7 pm
Oleanna - Fri, Aug 15 - 8:45 pm
Bobby Gould In Hell - Mon, Aug 18 - 9:30 pm
Quinn's Death - Thurs, Aug 21, 8 pm
One World Song - Sat, Aug 23 - 7:30 pm
Bellies, Knees, and Ankles - Sat, Aug 23 - 9:15 pm
Putting It together - Sun, Aug 24 - 8:15 pm

This is just so far because I am trying work out the schedule... there is much more I want to get to... wish me luck! There are many more I would love to get to, but there is only so much time and I do not have the life where I can just pick up and go. This list covers about 80% of the shows that I have friends in, though, so it's a good start! Mark and the boys come to Cinderella on Sunday and I am going to try to get the boys to Alberto the Dancing Alligator. It has a dancing Alligator and potty humor --> perfect for little boys!

This afternoon City TV is filming us for the 6:00 and 11:00 news. That means I have to sparkle up and get the boys to my Mom's house and head down to Strathcona! I have a rehearsal again later tonight so there is a lot of travelling today. Yikes!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nervous? How'd that happen?

Last night there was a fundraiser/promotional evening for several Fringe shows at Wunderbar. The evening was hosted by Maggie Tree and we were lucky to get a spot on the docket to show our stuff. We did a little scene with myself and Cinderella and it went well, but I was SOOOO nervous. I will not be nervous in front of the little children, but in front of artists in the community (many of whom were professionals and semi-pros) I was nervous like I haven't been for years. I think I held my own and I think Merran and I made our little scene saucy enough to fit in with the bar crowd. Whew! Now I get to do a TV spot...

Shows from the review that really impressed me:

Don't Make Fun of Jesus
Diamond Dog
Chicken Mom, Chicken Dad and Buddha Boi (I think that's the title?)

Others that seemed like they will be good:

Sylvie
Maggie Now!
Why do Fools Fall In Love?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Crazy week(s) ahead...

We are less than a week from Fringe starting (first show is on Friday at 11 AM). So, that means that this is the push for the finish line week. It also means promotional activities. Tomorrow, Cinderella and I are doing a little scene at Wunderbar for a Fringe fundraiser/promotional activity. This will mean full make-up and costume (replete with sparkles galore) in a bar on Whyte Avenue. I hope it is not as hot tomorrow as it has been the last few days. Tuesday morning we have a TV spot to shoot at 10 AM. I will likely have to drop Gibson off at daycare in full make-up. I may hold back on putting on my costume until I get to the venue. Tuesday evening I have a Walterdale Board Meeting (lucky me) which I cannot miss despite it's poor timing. Wasn't thinking about the Fringe when we set that date! Wednesday there is another rehearsal to fix last minute things and run as our official dress rehearsal. On Thursday we are in the Free-For-All at 8:12 p.m. This should be good promotion for our show. Hopefully being on early and all will be good for getting parents with kids interested in our show. Then on Friday we open!

How am I feeling about it? Well, I think it is in good shape. I think we have done everything we can to serve the script. I think the run on Wednesday will be good to reinforce everything and I am glad we are not like other shows I know that won't have another rehearsal between their tech and opening. The make-up and costume are a lot, but we are air conditioned and that should alleviate the worst of the suffering I am doing! I think I will have a lot of fun and I think the audiences will too.