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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two Very Different Things I Saw...

This weekend, despite being sick, I went out to see some art.

The first thing I went to was The Drowsy Chaperone at the Citadel on Friday night. It was our Anniversary do-over, since the first 'date' had to be scrapped back in August. It was delightful! I was so very pleased with it. Earlier in the month I had a chance to see it for free, but because of rehearsals I was unable to go. I didn't even mind paying full price for the tickets. I had heard about the show a few years ago, but other than the number "Show Off" that I saw at the Tony's a few years back I had no real knowledge of the show. Everyone I know who saw it said it was good, and I was so pleased that it fulfilled my expectations! It said what I believe about musicals. A lot of people write them off as fluff, but what is wrong with a little fluff to make you feel good? And everyone was soooo good. They were a true ensemble and each had their moments and no one was phoning it it. Simply wonderful. This has warmed my heart about The Citadel, because in the past few years I have been disappointed a bit by them. I have seen many a show where the show itself did not live up to the production values so evident on stage (I know I missed some winners in there - I didn't see Vimy and I hear that was phenomenal), but this was just great! I even got a little teary at the end!

The other thing I went to was Beartrap, a new film by Highwire Films. It was on at Metro Cinema. I was so very impressed with the work on the screen. I know how little these guys have to work with in terms of financial resources and they manage to make a small amount of cash look like so much more on screen. I am impressed with them, because they don't sit around and say "we can't do it - we don't have the money", instead they find a way and beg and borrow and do the work and get the film done. This is their third feature length film and they just keep getting better and better. I hope that they get some granting or other source of funds to support their next project. I know I gush a bit. I taught so many of the people in the film and for me I am so impressed that they are doing what they are doing, but not surprised. They were like that in high school. I often say that the kids I taught in the late 90s and early 00s were the ones who inspired me to start writing. They just did it and they still do. I figured if they could do it, I had no excuses not to try myself.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Something Onstage for Mark

Mark will be playing Daddy Warbucks in Sherard Theatre's production of Annie. It goes up in February and I will be sending out all sorts of information to promote it when we get closer t the date. Yahoo for Mark! I am glad he will have an opportunity to show what he can do. He was sure he totally blew the audition, but I should know not to trust him. He only ever thought one of his auditions was good (the one he did for The Other Side of the Pole) so he discounted the audition that got him Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar. I should know better than to trust his personal evaluation! I am so looking forward to seeing him onstage and hearing him sing and it is a show the boys will be able to go to, as well. It is one of their favorites! Yippee! He will also be working with my good friend Linette who is directing and she is so wonderful to work with. Its a good show for him, because he is great with kids (doesn't mind being around them, at all) and it uses his height to it's advantage. He is also looking forward to shaving his head, I'm sure!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No Halloween at School this Year

I received a message from a fellow school parent this morning. Apparently Halloween dress-up has been cancelled. She was quite upset about this, because Halloween is her favorite holiday and she wants it to be the same experience for her children. She asked the school office about it and was told "More kids don't dress up, than do..." so her perception was that certain populations in the school were dictating the abolishment of the Halloween tradition. I told her I would write to the school principal to find out if this was the case. Halloween falls on a Saturday and apparently there is no school on the 30th (Friday) so the 29th was to be a dress in orange and black day. I have worked in schools so I figured there was more to it. This is the official response from the principal:

Since Halloween does not happen until Saturday, October 31 and there is no school for students on Friday, October 30 a decision was made by staff to have an orange/black theme day on Thursday, October 29th. Here is our rationale:
* minimize the disruption to learning and teaching
* meet the needs of a very diverse population
* minimize the cost to parents
* health and safety

Halloween is a tradition that can be maintained and promoted by families since the activity, dressing up and trick or treating, associated with it needs to be within the parent control.


I figured there was more to it than my friend was told and I think the front office should be careful about how they respond as their information was not really the official reason. I also wrote back to the Principal to indicate that the school might want to get something out to parents post-haste as all that is flying around out there is rumour and indignation. I also suggested she reassure people that when Halloween falls on a weekday that the custom of dress up will be re-instated.

People are emotionally attached to their traditions. You cannot just take them away. Already the Christmas Concert is a "Winter Concert" with no religious songs and this bothers some people. I am okay with that. I understand that with a school whose population is 1/4 Muslim, you cannot expect to sing religious songs (but I do like a good Silent Night or Oh Holy Night). Halloween, however, is not a religious festival but is more a cultural festival. It's fun and does not dictate doctrine or belief. Cancelling it will create a bigger rift between different populations in the school, so hopefully it is reinstated in 2011 when it next falls on a weekday. Traditions are important to people and when you monkey around with them, you create animosity. Not a good thing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ouch...

My throat hurts. It felt a little hoarse yesterday, but I thought that was just 2 very late nights at Walterdale (Friday - getting ready for the Open House and AGM, and Saturday - the actual Open House and AGM). I wasn't worried until this morning. Now, just after supper and I am in quite a bit of pain. I am supposed to rehearse Sweeney and my number for the Sweeney Fundraiser tomorrow. I will dose myself with Tylenol and Ibuprofen and hope for the best. The song I am doing is a big sing, and tomorrow may be the only chance I get to rehearse before the Fundraiser so I do not want to waste it.

The Open House and AGM went really well. We estimated 100-200 people through the Open House. I don't know who counted, but someone threw those numbers out. I think we were closer to the 100 figure, but it was quite busy between 12:30 and 2:30 so who knows? We handed out many, many season brochures and Jimmy Dean Flyers so hopefully the personal touch sells a few tickets. I was pleased with the AGM. The Musical Season Announcement went over very well and from my perspective everything ran very smoothly. A couple of tense questions from the floor but we answered. The questions were tense because they implied 'the Board' is not doing much for the theatre and I really don't know how I could work much harder without neglecting my children and business. I am invested in Walterdale, so when someone questions my dedication I kind of get my back up. It was likely not personal, but even as a group I know that we work hard. That kind of attitude of ingratitude is what makes people quit. When you know you have been working really hard and someone come sup and just lists all the things you haven't done and the mistakes you've made, it kind of makes you feel like 'what is the point?'. Anyhow, it was a good evening and I know what is going on and what I am doing, so I am going to just enjoy the success of the day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Crossing My Fingers

Tonight my husband is auditioning for a show. Usually that is my thing to do, but the opportunity fits him better and the time commitment nestles in a good place for me (After Sweeney and before Whorehouse) so I suggested he audition. If he gets the part then it will mean a little bit of a role reversal but that could be cool. I have to watch my scheduling as it is, but this would give him an opportunity to get out there and show what he can do. I trust the director of the show so I think it would be a great opportunity. I cross my fingers and think good auditioning thoughts and send them out across the city!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stranded...

At 9:15 a.m. I was awakened by a phone call from the school. Oliver was sick, throwing up, could I come get him? I, of course, got up, got dressed and got him and then re-planned my day and evening. A child who is throwing up is too sick to leave with a baby sitter so I had to cancel my rehearsal. Even if he was feeling better tonight, I don't know that now and it's just not something you can count on. I am house-bound and that means I cannot do the bank deposit and some other running around I had planned. Gah! Just as I was beginning to enjoy the freedom of having 1/2 days all to myself!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

So Much For Sleeping In...

I always hope that there will be peace downstairs and that I might possibly get to sleep in on Saturdays, but no matter what, the minute that Mark leaves the house I hear the thump thump thump of Oliver running up the stairs to crawl in with me to snuggle. He's a snuggler and has always been, but it's kind of annoying when I am trying to sleep. Besides that, he's an eight year old who is the size of a 10-11 year old and he is all arms and legs so it is a far cry from snuggling with him when he was 3! Also, Mark didn't get them breakfast before they left so hunger was a shrill complaint that forced me out of bed and down to the kitchen. Apparently Mark thought Oliver was on top of getting them breakfast, but Oliver thought he just had to get the bowls and spoons out so there was a communication gap. Ah ga ga glug gulp...

So, in November, this might not bother me so much, but today when I still feel like crap and I have been out late 4 of 5 nights and I have been up early 4 out of 5 days, I really needed it. Tomorrow I need a wee sleep-in and then I do a marathon paced day (rehearsal #1 at 11 a.m.; rehearsal #2 at 2 p.m.; Casino at 9:45 p.m. until 3:45 a.m.). Maybe I can get a nap between Rehearsal #2 and the Casino. Cross your fingers!

This week continues with a crazy schedule. Some time before Thursday I need to write a 6 page paper (the Prof reduced the length from 12 pages - whew!). I may compromise on the quality just to get the quantity done, luckily I am not mark dependent, and I took this course to become a better playwright, not a better essay writer). I also have 2 nights of rehearsal for Sweeney, one for the AGM, then the Open House at Walterdale on Saturday followed by the AGM that night. I have stuff to do as both Secretary and AD for the AGM and as AD and Director for the Open House. I will survive! I swear!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pushing Through and Release... A Vent...

Typically in my life I go through these intense periods where I have several things on the go and I think I will not survive getting all of them done and then when I do I go through a lull where I find myself with lots of time on my hands. I have been in a busy period since last fall. I do have a bit of a lull on the calendar starting at the end of October and I am so looking forward to that. I am most frustrated with the 'other things' that pop into my life to suck up time I could be using to get things done. I have spent a lot of time this week dealing with stuff that I shouldn't have to. If you don't like my answer, sometimes that's just too bad. Sometimes we have to compromise. And a compromise means no one gets exactly what they want but everybody gets a little bit of what they want. I rarely get exactly what I want, why do people expect they should be different? Grrrr...

At Sweeney I snapped at someone who brought an issue to me that they should've been dealing with themselves. It was unrelated to the show and had to do with a personality conflict from an incident with one of the other team members on another project. I was cranky, sick and tired and snapped "I am not your mother!". I felt bad about snapping, but there have been so many times when people have tattled to me about other people in the last few months that I just want to snap at them. Why can't people negotiate with others like grown-ups. Sometimes I feel like I am dealing with a bunch of teenagers. And when I have so much piled on my plate, the last thing I need is to be wasting my time massaging egos and repeating my decision 10 different ways so they get the message I am not budging.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Keeping My Head Above Water...

Remind me not to pick up another project outside of Walterdale during my tenure as Artistic Director... What was I thinking? Don't worry, the show will be good and the theatre is in good hands. It is just a matter of how thin I stretch myself. I have my own self to blame for it, I guess.

On a more positive note, the first night of auditions for Lend Me a Tenor went swimmingly. We had so many wonderful actors come out. I read with quite a few (filling in) and was suddenly wishing I were auditioning too, but I can't do that time slot again. Besides, I'd really want to play Tito, and that's a little out of the question! Whoever is cast, this will be a very fun show!