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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

This has been a nice Christmas so far. Some sporadic eruptions of fighting between the boys, but not too many and a lot of laughing in between (especially when I do the crazy Mom saying Merry Christmas! It has become the new holiday shtick and I plan to keep it for years to come). Today I tried to take photos of the boys and I think I have 2 good shots out of about 30. Plenty of "goofy" ones. Played Scrabble with Mark last night - he won, but only just barely. Baked cookies with Gibson this morning. Did all my Christmas shopping in about 5-6 hours. Not bad at all!

Anyhow, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This Past Weekend Was Crazy Busy...

So I expect Christmas to be the opposite. I had many things on the go this weekend and I think I managed to get them all done in a satisfactory way. The weekend followed a very busy week wherein I was at the boy's school for Child Check, 2 field trips (one in-school, one out of school), and 2 Christmas Concerts. The blizzard that hit on Wednesday prevented me from doing what I had planned to do in the daytime on Thursday, but alas, that is what happens. Annie (my sis) came to visit on the weekend and while we dealt with the constantly imprecise schedules of our siblings we managed to work out a pretty good visit. She played Wii with the boys a couple of afternoons/evenings and they were in heaven with that. She and I visited and caught the latest Narnia Movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (not the best book to film adaptation).

Sunday I was at Walterdale for 2 rehearsals - Rabbit Hole in the afternoon and Threepenny in the evening. Around the rehearsals I squeezed in studying for my Drama 208 (Theatre History) Final. I wrote that on Monday morning. I think I did okay. The first half was delightful. I knew it all. I knew the second half too, but my brain was very tired and I do not think I crafted my answers as best as I could have. We shall see. I keep telling myself that I am not doing the course for marks, but I have never been the kind of student who could let things slide so I have a hard time letting go of that. It's done now so that's good.

After the exam I squeezed in a visit with Wanda. It was almost not to be as she was in a wee car accident on the way to lunch, however she managed to get the police report done and her vehicle and self were not injured so she came up to the house and we visited there. So good to see her! I must plan a trip to Calgary to see her for a real visit!

Then Monday night I had my final rehearsal for Rabbit Hole before we break for Christmas. We finished early (always a bonus) and I am resting today doing cards and cleaning a bit. Tomorrow I will attempt the 'shopping'. My list is short and since the crowd expected for Christmas dinner is smaller this year I expect a restful weekend. We do not plan to travel either weekend (that could change) and I really just want to relax and maybe work on my lines...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yay! Oh, Man, Am I Crazy?

Well, I did something nuts... but after watching The Threepenny Opera auditions and being around the team and and seeing the great people that were coming out, I decided to audition. I had auditioned for another show earlier this Fall that would have been even worse schedule-wise and found that process a wee bit disappointing. I will admit, my ego was a little bruised by the way the auditions and casting played out. I could have been in that show, but something felt off so I declined what I was offered. This result was so much more enjoyable. Yes, partly because I got the part I wanted, but I think I would have been okay even if I hadn't, because the process was so much more transparent and fun. I left the audition and callback feeling like I was seen and given the chance to show what I can do. The atmosphere was fun and the people seemed so great. Anyhow, I am pleased to announce that I will be playing the role of Mrs. Peachum in The Threepenny Opera at Walterdale in April of 2011. I have seen the cast list and it is going to be a lot of fun, and if I survive my schedule it will all be good!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Mia Mouth! Ow!

Well, I am trying to get back on track health wise and one of the things I am doing is getting to the Dentist after a long hiatus (longer than it should have been). I also have to get in to my doctor for a physical, but that'll be another story. So today I got a check-up and the first half of a cleaning. I have to go back for the other half on Friday. I will also have to get my Wisdom Tooth extracted, a crown on a tooth I chipped 3 months ago and probably another crown and 2 old, old fillings replaced before they fall out. Lots and lots of fun! Of course I am doing this on my University Health Plan so it's all reimbursement and I only get a small percentage back. Sigh. So much for free health care. Well, it is better I deal with it before it gets worse. I just wish I had gotten the wisdom tooth out years ago when I kept asking about it. The Dentist at the time kept saying it wasn't urgent, but back then I was on a better plan... it probably would have cost me less. Well, maybe, I don't know. But alas! Anyhow, I expect a few months of a painful mouth until this priority work is done and then I will rest before getting the other things done.

Monday, December 06, 2010

It always comes at precisely the wrong times...

This was a not-so-good weekend. Don't get me wrong, I got a lot accomplished, but I am now very tired and I had to deal with a lot of unanticipated stuff so I am not in a great frame of mind. It started off well. Much Ado About Nothing opened and I thought it was lovely. I had saved the Second Act for Opening Night (I saw the First Act twice before then - but I wanted a surprise) and I was quite happy with the show as a whole. This was amplified by a fabulous review on the SEE Magazine Blog and pretty good attendance for the first weekend. However, there were issues arising with the production and no one was fixing them so I was called in to help. An already busy weekend because much busier. I was set to work Box Office on Friday Night and then scurry off to work the Walterdale Casino right after my shift, but in order to help with the problems on the show I went in early. There were also a flurry of desperate emails and frantic phone calls. It was stressful. Saturday the stress continued. I had worked the casino late the night before but because the boys have Drama on Saturday morning I was unable to sleep in and had to be "fun ol' Mom" when I really wasn't feeling it. The boys didn't seem to notice my exhaustion, so that's good. They did their final presentations and I enjoyed those, then a text message sent me hurtling to the theatre. An Angel of the theatre, Geri, was there helping with the ongoing issue. That made me feel better and she and I devised a plan to deal with any more arising issues. Off to supper with my boys and Mark and then home where I hastily composed more emails to put the plan in place and then to fall exhausted into bed, where I slept for 12 hours straight. I missed a party, but I could not have driven there and I needed that sleep. Sunday rolled around and I headed off to rehearsal for Rabbit Hole and then to the Threepenny Opera auditions. I thought I survived the weekend.

Then today, I check my emails and there is an absolutely foul and insulting email from a member who feels hard done by. I count up all the hours I put in this week and weekend and they certainly do not feel rewarded by the email. I wanted to cry. My stomach is upset. I do not know what I will do when I see this member. I want him to never darken the Walterdale doors again. The worst thing, is that he sent it not only to me, but to two other members. I hope that his rudeness does not alienate these members from returning to Walterdale. He certainly does not represent the whole of our organization. I get so frustrated that I am dealing with 'supposed' adults and they pull this kind of crap. I don't do this for the kudos, but I certainly do not expect to have my time rewarded with insults and harassment.

I know I should think of the many people who cheerfully worked the casino, and the actors onstage giving their all to Shakespeare and the lovely, lovely Geri who came in, and the earnest actors who sang their hearts out at their auditions last night, but it's hard in the face of this.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fun Times... Now I Recover...

We had our annual party last night. It was swell! So much fun. Every year it is different, but fun. I am now recovering. I cannot party like a 20 year old now that I am in my 40s. So sorry body. You will have to deal with it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dreading the Grey Cup Crazy...

Okay, so tomorrow I am supposed to take both my children to drama class at the Foote Theatre School in the Citadel Theatre. It's not to bad, but I have one in at 9 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m. so we go for one, come home, and go back for the second. However, tomorrow is the Grey Cup Celebration stuff which is being held downtown. We got a couple of calls - one yesterday for Gibson and one today for Oliver about this issue. My response was "Oh $%!t". Because basically the parking will be horrible, AND you can only enter the building via the Foote Theatre doors, AND several streets will be blocked off. I don't know how close I can get. I don't know if I will be walking for 2 blocks, or 3, or 4 or 10 blocks for that matter (with 2 kids in tow). I don't know what it will cost. I don't know how many moronic drivers will be out there on the roads. It will probably be better for Gibson's class at 9 a.m. but Oliver's is at 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. which will be NOT FUN. I also have to get out of there fast afterwards because of what I have going on that evening and that sounds impossible. I have thought about the LRT but then I will lose all sorts of time I do not have and ironically have to drive further just to use it.

So you say: maybe you should just skip this week? That's my first impulse. I hate traffic. I hate crowds. I hate parking challenges. I hate experiencing all those things with kids. When you add all those things up I will no doubt be snapping at the kids (they unfortunately get the worst of my stressful days). However, it is the second last class and because they present something the next week so they are encouraged strongly to be there. I am going to try to do it, but I do not promise fortitude in this if I encounter too much stress. I would feel better if there was some plan from the school to help us with it, but it was really just notice and nothing more than bad news. No plan. Just information. Sucky.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Is it possible to have too much theatre to see?

Maybe. Or maybe with rehearsals my life is just pretty full. This is the mixed blessing of Edmonton - there is so much to see and not enough time to see it. And sometimes you make the wrong choice and see the wrong thing instead of something that would have been better/different. Anyhow, I have seen a few shows this month and missed a few and rehearsed quite a bit (and oh those are my children), and now I feel overloaded. The most expensive show I saw was one of the furthest from the best. The most inexpensive show I saw was the best I have seen in forever - the rest were scattered in the middle on both price and quality. I missed at least four (The Crucible, Laramie, Legion Blues, and Edward Muybridge) that I wanted to catch and having not seen them I do not know how they were, but reports were good so I feel regret.

Anyhow, those of you who might think there is nothing to do in Edmonton are sadly deluded. There is so much and at times too, too much. I am now gearing up for Much Ado About Nothing, and White Christmas and Beckett's Shorts and those are just the ones I know off the top of my head... no doubt the invites are going to start rolling in and I will have to figure out when and if I can get to them.

On another note - Mark has a cast on his wrist - he may or may not have a broken wrist. He has to wear it for 10 days and then they will re-x-ray and see what it looks like. Not fun. This means he will be in cast for his birthday and with snow and all that we have going on this weekend it will not be fun. Well, we will make do, I guess. It's not the first cast we have dealt with.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Grease is the Word

We went to the Broadway Across Canada production of Grease at the Jubilee tonight. It was fun. Very surreal, however, because the chronology was so different from the movie and I know the movie so well. Once I settled in and just accepted it as going to be different I had a lot of fun. Some major issues with mic balance (which shouldn't happen for that much money!) but we had a good time. We go with Richie and Vero and it is nice to have those pre-established 'dates' so we get to see them. I have plans to bring Vero lunch and hang with her and the baby, but we have to pick a date! Anyhow, it was a nice night out. We went for supper and the show and it was all good.

Feast or Famine...

It seems as though I can never get the balance just right. I am either incredibly busy I am stressed about it or so under-busy I am bored and stir crazy. When I get my stuff sorted out to the right level, then 16 of my friends have shows on and I need to see them, but I can't possibly get to all of them. Sigh. It's feast or famine. I squeeze in a book a week (which feels like under performing in the reading area for me) and I agonize that I have yet to start my Drama Paper (due in two weeks - yikes! - at least I've done my reading and have my research books). I have glitter and green paint on my fingers from building props and have somehow managed to feed the kids (that's a good thing) and get them to their activities. I feel overwhelmed, but I know that once all the shows are done I will feel at loose ends. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Best Show I Have Seen in Forever...

And I have seen some good theatre this year, don't get me wrong. BUT Northern Light Theatre's THE 4TH GRADERS PRESENT AN UNNAMED LOVE-SUICIDE was the absolute best think I have seen in I don't know how long. Only 30 seats per show. Normal run length. A script that would be so easy to screw up, but they certainly didn't. If you can, go see it. It is nothing you could ever expect.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A night out...

Last night I went to a friend's birthday party while Mark and the boys went to a Guy Fawkes party. I had fun. It was great chatting with friends I haven't seen in awhile. I stayed out too late and I am tired today, but that's okay.

I also stopped by the theatre on the way and checked in on Much Ado. I saw about a 1/3 of the show and it looks good. Some 'line' calling, but they are almost a month out (3 1/2 weeks) so I was pretty impressed. Not a script onstage! It is physical and fast but not frenetic. The cast is having fun and seem to know what they are doing. That's where I like to see a show 3 1/2 weeks out. I have some props work to get done, before we get too much closer. I need to steal a sword to build the scabbards so I will do that this weekend.

I have had to deal with some drama this week at the theatre. I knew things were running too smoothly. Sigh. I hope it is all resolved, but you never know. Cross your fingers for me. It's nothing major, but it takes my focus away from things I'd rather be doing. It also doesn't seem to be necessary drama - there is nothing to really fix, except hurt feelings and perceptions (which I perceive differently so that makes it even harder). Sigh. I think some people can't do a show without backstage drama. I prefer to leave the drama onstage. Anyhow, things are otherwise running smoothly. The set is almost done and looks lovely. The actors are almost there but for a few lines. The costumes are being sewn. I am working on the props. It will all come together. It always seems to.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Best Thing About This Job is the People

The worst thing about this job is the people... Sometimes they are the very same people. I get to work with so many amazing people. I am lucky in that. Sometimes they are completely unreasonable. I guess that is true anywhere. I let so much slide off my back, I wonder why more people can't do that. One day I am going to freak and it isn't going to be pretty. Be warned.

Yikes - Overdue Fees

Sigh. I had a whopper of a library bill to pay today. I tried to renew them online but couldn't figure out how to do it so I took them back today and faced the music. Yikes. 5 books. 2$ a day. 7 days. You can do the math. The librarian was lovely. Told me that as long as the fees were under $50 I could take out more - so I got them down to $30 and took out what I needed. I will have to make sure I get my paper written in less than 2 weeks so that I can get those new ones returned. EPL is a lot cheaper for fines. Sigh. Oh well, I probably helped pay for more books for the library. Just doing my part!

Yesterday started so crappy. I basically lost the day waiting on my car and then getting Mark's so I could accomplish the rest of the day. This past week when you count the rental car and the repairs we spent almost $1000 on my car. I think it is time for a new one. Really. If you include the lost time for me it is even more valuable. Ggah!

The evening was better. I was able to keep my theatre date with Lindsey to see Love and Human Remains at the U of A. Great visit with the Linds. We could talk for hours. The play was interesting. It's a Brad Fraser play so there was a lot of nudity, sex and violence with a bit of comic book aesthetic. Some of the casting was questionable but you are dealing with a very narrow age range from the pool of actors in the program, so you do the best you can. The pace was also set at a very high rate to support the quick slides from scene to scene (it is really written like a screenplay) so it takes time to invest in the characters. The nudity was handled well, but I question it's purpose. Sometimes it distracted from other scenes. If the director is controlling where the audience is supposed to look we were certainly getting mixed messages. I did think it was interesting and a worthwhile night of theatre. Some fabulous lighting and one thing I love about the U of A shows is that the concept is always cohesive and complete.

Monday, November 01, 2010

It's All Greek to Me...

I am really enjoying my theatre history class at the U of A. I know some of the other students might be a bit less into it because we spent over a month on Greek Theatre before moving on to anything else, but looking at the resources we could probably spend a whole 4 month son Greek Theatre and still not cover everything. I was very excited because today I found the resources I need to write my paper. Yippee! I would like to get a draft done this week so that I can get it proofed by our Professor (he said if we got him a draft by the 5th of Nov he would read and comment and get it back to us after the Remembrance day weekend). Now, it might be silly to be so excited about a resource, but I really didn't know how they would have done this one effect and now that I know I feel so much better. AH!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hmmm...

Well, I just got offered something in Into the Woods. It wasn't however, what I wanted, so after a frustrating conversation I decided to turn it down. I won't say what part, because I don't want whoever gets it to know they were not the first choice. Now, don't think it is all sour grapes. There is definitely a bit of disappointment - there has been for awhile because I had a feeling when there was no callback - but it takes a lot of time to do one of these shows and that is a lot of time away from my family and the rest of my life. Do I want to commit that time to a project where I am not really happy to do be doing it? Not really. I have done that before in previous shows and I really resented it. After those experiences, I'd rather say "No" up front and let someone else do the show who really wants to do it. For someone else that part will be an amazing adventure - not so much for me. It would be in the wrong place vocally for me so I would have to 'sound ugly' to sing it if I went high or really challenge me for volume or breath if I went low - I would also be playing a character I totally don't connect to. I've done that enough. Give it to someone who is better placed vocally and who might enjoy it.

I might have taken it if I could have found out more about the rest of the cast, but that information was not forthcoming. So I may be kicking myself if I find out it is a terrific cast I would have wanted to work with. Oh well. Well, I anxiously await the announcement of the cast. I know a lot of people who really wanted to do it so I will keep my fingers crossed for them.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

So Much To See!

We are winding up October and heading into November and there is just so much to see! I will not and have not been able to get to everything. Part of that is financial and part of that is due to a lack of time. I did get to Any Night at FTA last week. I quite liked it. It was compelling and the movement and push to the piece was really strong. There are few spots where the script could be trimmed, but it's always hard to really make that assessment without the opportunity to see the piece with and without the sections. What I felt was extra might actually be essential in it's absence. In any case, if you like your 'thrills' more psychological than gory - it is a good Halloween bet!

Next week I will be checking out Love and Human Remains at the U of A. I am looking forward to this as it is a Brad Fraser piece and he is Canadian and he has a connection to Walterdale so that is cool. Plus the BFA class that is in their final year were all in my Canadian Theatre class last year so it will be nice to see them onstage again (I managed to see their R&J last year).

I also have to get to Cabaret (have my tickets), Laramie Project, and Legion Blues next month. I am not quite sure how I will fit it all in. I will do my best to make it work. My rehearsal schedule is actually quite light and since I have heard absolutely nothing from ELOPE I am assuming that I did not make it into Into the Woods so I am not waiting around on that potential rehearsal schedule. Initially I was a bit disappointed, but I am getting used to the idea and I feel that things happen for a reason so I am sure there will be something else to fuel my creative juices in the absence of Into the Woods. It is too bad - I would have rocked it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sidelined by a Mysterious Illness...

Something crept up on my system this week. It's not achy head or sore throat, but more really tired and a yucky tummy. It hit me Friday afternoon in a whirlwind and I thought Saturday would by the turn-around day but it didn't. I did, however, go to bed at 7:30 p.m. and slept until 8:30 a.m. and I think that helped. I obviously needed it (even though I missed SYTYCDC and the Opera). Anyhow, I am still feeling fuzzy, but my stomach has settled down so I will be making my way to FTA tonight to see Any Night.

I have parked myself at the kitchen table - my official crafting site. I am working on the props for Much Ado at Walterdale. Right now my fingers are covered in sparkles. I have to find my glue gun to finish, however, and I am debating making back-ups but I really just hope the actors treat the masks with respect so I don't have to. I do like the sparkles!

Friday was my midterm - maybe I was stressed about that and the stress crept into my system. I think I did okay on it. I was prepared to write the whole thing (there were 3 questions) and then I was overjoyed to find out we just had to answer one of them. Yay! I just hope I picked the right scenes. I think I wrote enough. Who knows.

Still waiting to hear about the audition. I know I am not called back, but I got the scoop that the only female parts called back were Cinderella and Red Riding Hood. I don't know if I am happy or sad about that. Relieved that I am not totally out of the game, but feeling insecure that I was not allowed the opportunity to sing for one of the two parts I wanted. It will be alright if I get one of them, but if I didn't get one of them I will be disappointed. That's all I know on that front. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Auditioning - The Other Side of the Table

I am auditioning tonight for Into the Woods for ELOPE. It is kind of weird to move to the other side of the table so quickly. I am strangely calm about this audition. I love the show and there are 2 parts I would really, really love to do so there is excitement, but I am pretty calm. I know my song. I know the show. I have to refresh my monologue a bit (I am sadly not memorized, but it says we don't have to be). I have my resume and head shot and they look nice. I know I am going in with a pretty crappy schedule to begin with so I know that might bear influence on whether I am cast or not. I also know that they are likely to have a lot of women out (as always) so I cannot control that and likely quite a few mezzo-sopranos at that - many of them younger and skinnier than me which might rule me out for one or more of the roles. I also know that they will have fewer men come out and the men they have might set the age of casting. You can't have a 45 year old Cinderella if the Prince is 18 (not that I can sing Cinderella - but that's the example I am throwing out there!). So I will go and do my best and present my bad schedule and see what happens. I like auditions, in general. I like the feeling of possibility and the spirit of play. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mystery Solved

So last night I told Mark about the conversation with Gibson about chords and harmony and tempo and he nodded and said, "yeah, I have been teaching him all that stuff" so maybe he's not a genius (ha ha ha). Anyhow, I still think it's pretty cool that he is so interested. This morning Mark and I and Gibson sang a few chords. Oliver wasn't much interested in joining in, but he was looking for something Pokemon related at the time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gibson and Music

Both my kids like music. They both like to dance and sing and they are both taking piano (because I make them), but Gibson not only likes music... he's really insightful about it. I always say that Gibson sang before he talked. He would babble and coo in tune with songs on the radio in car. I was in a musical while pregnant with both of the boys, and with Gibson I was also in Honey B's and they both attended many Honey B's rehearsals in the sling (Gibson more than Oliver I would say). Maybe that was a factor. So tonight. Tonight as I am putting Gibson to bed we start talking about school and what he likes and we get on to talking about Music Class and he starts asking me about Do Re Mi... we then sing Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do several times (he is in tune and it sounds lovely) and then he has me sing a solo and then he sings and solo and then we sing a duet. He uses the terms solo and duet. Then he starts asking about chords and whether people can sing chords as well as play them on the piano and we talk about songs he knows and where the chords (harmony) happens. He is articulate and understands the concepts. And then he brings up tempo, and he starts clapping different rhythms telling me which tempos are fast and slow. He drove the whole conversation with questions and input. Sometimes he freaks me out a bit. I am looking forward to hearing him play and sing as an adult.

The Dreaded Student Led Parent-Teacher meetings...

Tonight I get to take both my kids ot the school while each of them leads me through 25 minutes of activities showing what kinds of things they do in class and then you get about 5 minutes to chat with the teacher about concerns. They don't want you to bring siblings, but Mark works and the meetings only go until 7 p.m. and that's when he gets home so I pretty much have to bring them to both sessions. No way around it - I can't get a sitter because I need the other one to be there for their session. Anyhow, I don't like these sessions, but I do them. I know the theory behind them, but for me they are not that useful. So, we shall pack up each of their DSes so that they can be occupied while the other one is demonstrating and hopefully that will work. If I keep my expectations low, then maybe I will actually enjoy it. I have actually already been in both boy's classrooms so far this year for Read-In week and In-School field trips so I kind of know the classroom culture and what they are up to. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Done. Just Starting.

There is no weigh-in today. My weigh-in partner is out of town, so I have two weeks to undo the incredible amount of candy I ate over the last few days at auditions. To be fair, I didn't actually eat a tonne of calories, but those that I did eat were primarily sugar. Ya gotta do, what you gotta do. I avoided a seriously huge Thanksgiving Feast because I had auditions and Mark took the boys to Olds. Mom had a Thanksgiving breakfast on Monday, instead. That was nice. I didn't pig out, but the food was good and it was nice to see the Matt Strand family. Those little girls are hilarious, particularly Ariana (she does this pouting thing to intentionally try to look cute - it soooo works).

Auditions. exhale. They were good in that we had 60 people come out for 5 roles. There's a lot of choice in that. They were bad in that, from those 60 people I had 20 that I called back because they were just that good. I had another 20 that I would've called back, but I tried to make some hard decisions earlier to make it easier later. That did and didn't work. I am seriously blown away by the talent I saw. I made a joke to my Assistant Director about Quadruple casting it, but even though it was a joke, I could've. Anyhow, I have my cast. They all seem fabulous and I think that as an ensemble of 5 they will be tremendous. Now we get to work. Right after I dye my hair... I got some more grey hairs this weekend.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

I like birthdays! I always have. Maybe it was because I was one of 5 kids, and the middle child to boot. In a noisy, busy home with 5 kids and only 7 years separating the oldest and youngest it was great to have a day that was officially yours. A birthday meant a present in the morning - yay! And then the birthday kid would get to pick what we were having for dinner and then there would be cake. I usually wanted Spaghetti and meat sauce. I loved spaghetti! And when we were little, my mom would do these shaped cakes - Snoopy was her piece de resistance, but there were others. When I was a teenager I decided I liked Black Forest Cake and we would get that. It might have been a relief too, as my Mom was working then and making a cake would be a challenge time wise. My birthday also falls very near Thanksgiving, so even after I left for school, I was often home on or near my birthday so the celebrations continued and there was always cake. Good Times.

I like Birthdays! Bring 'em on!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Anxious and Excited about Tomorrow...

Tomorrow is a busy day. First of all, it is Gibson's 6th birthday so we are following up the grand dinner at BP's we had tonight by heading off to IKEA for breakfast. Mark will then drop me off at the theatre while he takes the boys elsewhere for whatever adventure they can handle. The three of them are all in various stages of sickness so they may just head back home to rest.

And THEN, I will see the first 3 of my Rabbit Hole auditioners. A few people contacted me and wanted to audition but were away for the Thanksgiving weekend. I anticipated this and had an extra session booked for this weekend to accommodate any requests. I am so excited. I have been wanting to do this project for almost 2 years and now it is finally beginning. Currently there are about 60 people signed up. It is the last week before auditions so I may get more this week that I will have to fit in somewhere. There are some spaces left, but technically only about 12 before it gets crunchy... I just want to get started.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Hard to put one step in front of one another...

Well, I have been okay with one of my goals for this week. I have been easily staying in my calorie range. That's been a relief. I have been challenged by the no eating after 8 p.m. I certainly am not eating as much as before, but the structure of the days I have had has led to small snacks to curb a bigger mistake. I have also not been able to work out yet. Sick kids, evening meetings, writing articles and doing homework has subsumed my working out. To be fair, I have 4 1/2 days until the Wednesday weigh in - so I might still be able to get my 4 workouts in there. Cross your fingers. It is just hard to put myself first when every other person in the house is sick.

I am walking Oliver's pokewalker for him and he is pleased with the number of steps I have been taking. I must admit my desire for more wattage on that thing makes me take longer routes and less short-cuts.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good News

Weekly Weigh-in. Despite my worrying, I was delightfully down this week. I was down 1.2 lbs from my starting weight and 2.4 lbs down from last week so I will thank the time on the treadmill yesterday as well as watching what and when I ate the last couple of days. I also suggested to my Mom that we make some weekly goals so that we have more purpose to get us to the next week. My 3 goals are to work-out significantly (1 hour or longer) for at least 4 days this week, stay within 1300-2000 calories per day, and to not eat after 8 p.m. Hopefully those three goals will serve me well.

Went back to class today. It was fun. Lovely Gil let me borrow his notes to type out at home and bring back Friday. He trusts me - that's nice. I enjoyed the lecture and I like the kids I sit with. They are friendly and interested.

I worked on masks for Much Ado last night. I can only do the basic masks for now until I get fabric samples and costume designs, but that is a lot of groundwork. I got three basic masks done last night, and another finished this morning and I am currently working on 2 more. The nice thing about the method I am using is that if I do not like the shape I can cut off the part I don't like and build the mask up again until I like the shape. I know I could just buy commercial masks, but this is cheaper money wise (not time wise) and more importantly, I feel it is more of an artistic process for me. I enjoy the creation of the masks and the painting and decorating and marking it cohesive with the costumes and the concept of the show. I know they won't be onstage very long, but that's not the point.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Getting to Work on Some Stuff...

Lots of things are starting for me this month. It's September so school started for both myself and the kids. That's always shift in the rhythm of the house. I am enjoying my class but have been disappointed by the poor health of myself and the boys. I can go to class when I am sick, but not when the kids are home and I have missed 2 Mondays now, one for Gibson and one for Oliver. I hope I am not left behind. Luckily I have a pal who will share his notes with me.

Mom and I started a weekly weigh-in. I have had little progress. Well, the first week I was down 1.2 lbs, the next week I was up 2.2 lbs. I had illness and a lot of eating out to blame. I am trying to get a handle on this. I know that currently my life does not support me being thin, but I can try to get healthy, or at least healthier. I got on the treadmill today and stuck it out until I finished my full hour. I also did reps of push-ups and squats. It was not fun. It was not fun, because I have let things slide so bad and my knee is stiff (it is raining today) and I just have to do it. I will walk slower if I have to and build it up, but I am going to do my hour a day and built up the strength. I am worried about my right leg. I am encountering a lot of stiffness in the knee and pain in the hip joint. I know that I have to get this looked at. It can't be good. It could just be the weight though.

The Walterdale Season started. We had a good AGM with nice attendance and a very quick meeting and all went well. I was disappointed that a few people backed out on their contributions at the last minute, but I don't think it showed and these things happen. I know that things come up and you can't always change them, but I hope the same understanding is given if I have to let something slide periodically. Sometimes I don't feel that it's a two way street.

I am gearing up for Rabbit Hole Auditions. They are October 10th and 11th. We have a nice amount of people signed up and I feel that I will be able to create a phenomenal cast from those that have signed up. I also know I am going to have a tough time because there will be many strong people that I will have to say 'not this time' to. That is the challenge of casting.

I am also debating about auditioning for Into the Woods with ELOPE. This is one of my dream shows. There are a couple of parts I would love to do. I am worried because it will overlap Rabbit Hole with rehearsals and that is tough to do. I think I will audition and see what comes of it and make a decision after that. I will also be totally upfront about my schedule and let them know that I am totally prepared to work privately with a voice teacher on my own dime to learn music so that I am up to speed. We will see. I could change my mind if I think it will be too much.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Busy Week Completed...

Yesterday was busy. It was the end and the result of a very busy week. I know that the stress of the week was amped up by my being sick and the other hiccups that happened would have been easier to manage if I had not been ill, but I am glad that yesterday is now done and that all went well.

We had the Open House from about 11-4 in conjunction with the Farmer's Market. It was steady and we gained a few members and I think quite a few potential audience members. Everyone seemed to enjoy getting a look backstage. I was so thankful for the individuals who manned the show tables. They did a good job representing Walterdale as a whole as well as their individual projects. We had fun and it felt like a Season Team. I was a little frustrated that I was getting requests for 'what do we do?' from some people at the very last minute because I had no time to respond. I think it was most frustrating because I sent that information out very early on and it just wasn't passed down the chain of communication. It all worked out, but I felt kind of bad that there was a communication jag. I was particularly pleased that we finally got all the posters printed. There were a few technical issues involving 3 computers, a couple of external hard drives and lots of cables, but it all seems to have worked out. This was my most stressful thing though, because I had made promises to all the shows that the posters would be done and I wasn't sure until late on Friday that it was going to all come together. Again, I think I was more stressed by it because I was sick and because I had quite a few things to get done that I didn't have the emotional room to deal with the stress. It's done and they look lovely and that is what counts!

That evening was the AGM. It went blessedly fast and we got on with the fun. The program turned out to be shorter than planned because of some last minute cancellations on the schedule. No worries. We rolled with it and it all worked out. It was a nice evening where we could give some awards to deserving folk and enjoy what we do at Walterdale.

Now I can rest and try to get healthy... as I await Rabbit Hole auditions.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

On Educating Young Children...

I found this article from a Twitter feed and it really sums up a lot of what I believe about full day Kindergarten.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/09/08/marni-soupcoff-all-day-kindergarten-is-a-waste-of-money/

It's a little harsher in tone than I would be, but it does put it's finger on why I am not in favour of full day Kindergarten across the board, at least not for the reasons that people keep putting forward. It can be good for some kids, but not for all. I think that for both my children it wouldn't have been a benefit. Oliver had a tough enough time with full day Grade One (it took him at least 3 months to adjust). Gibson flourished without the extra time and many of his less positive social behaviours developed when he went to school (the sass factor went way up when he started interacting with other kids so much). For some kids the enrichment happens at home, not out of it. There are exceptions - lower income families and families with lower levels of parental education. I am all for leveling the playing field by providing those opportunities to children whose pre-testing suggests they would benefit from it. However, if it is for a child and the main purpose is daycare - call it what it is. I like this idea of saving money by having half-day Kindergarten with half-day Daycare. What is the problem of correctly using the time and not covering it up with the false labels of enriched necessary education?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A New Year

I know. It's not January, but September always feels like the start of a new year to me. All those years of school, both as a student and then as a teacher and now as a mother of school children, have created a feeling of 'go' in September. So I had my first class today (Theatre History) and the boys started school last Wednesday. Scholastically we seem to all be on the right track. The boys are settling in alright and I have a few 'friends' in my class (some from the first year Drama classes, and some from Walterdale). It's all good there. I have also figured out a bus route that I will take on some days. It should take 45 minutes which is twice the time of driving, but I can read on the bus. I wish the LRT were more accessible. Sigh.

I started watching the calories last week and the types of food I was eating and then we went away on the weekend and I regressed, but I am back to the calorie/food watching. I am frustrated by this whole process but know it is necessary. I am using the number 1600-2000 calories per day and trying to keep my Carbs vs. Protein vs. Fat reasonable, but I realize that I am not quite sure what exactly to eat to keep the ratios reasonable and I am not sure what reasonable really, really is. I do feel better about my food choices and we shall see how that goes. If I feel better physically and start moving with intention, maybe I will really lose weight. Mom and I started our own 'Weight Watchers' by weighing in this morning and throwing $5 each in a jar. We are going to do this every week and see how it goes. This way we are being accountable and saving the money. Sometimes the Weight Watchers was good, but sometimes it wasn't and when I didn't lose weight I felt grumpy about the money. Next Spring we will go shopping, or something... We have to work on the plan for the money.

I also need to write. Things are percolating. I need to get things on paper (electronically). I need to do that. I also have a month until I am rehearsing, so the sooner I write the better. Once I am in rehearsal, it gets hard to put time into the writing.

Anyhow, here goes 2010-2011...

Friday, September 03, 2010

Kids are Back in School and it is Quiet...

The kids went back to school on Wednesday. The first day was pretty busy as I had some running around to do during the day with Mark's court thing and getting photocopies made for the callbacks for Much Ado. Thursday was also a write off because I was so tired from being out so late after the call backs for the deliberations. I slept quite late on Thursday after making the lunches and packing the backpacks. Today I finally 'used' my day without kids home. I did a little organizing and finally cleaned my kitchen floor. It has needed a good wash for a couple of weeks and other than sweeping and spot cleaning, I haven't had time to really clean it. Of course, that meant that Gibson would spill a full glass on it at supper time, but it was only water so that was lucky. I found a variety of fruit that needed to be thrown out and did so. I also did some running around errands in the morning. It was a good start to the school year.

I am anxious to see how my time is going to suss out this year. I have Child Check one day a week and my Theatre History class 3 days a week and I plan to do some work at the theatre in the daytime (especially painting). Mark is talking about me working at the store, but I am not sure how that would fit in. I still have so much work to get done around the house. I was looking forward to using this time to get things done that we have put off for 2-4 years and if all the time gets filled, I will feel as out of control with my household as I have for the last year. I made some good progress with purging early in the summer and I loved how that felt. I want more of that!

I also want to get in shape - both nutritionally and physically. If I run from thing to thing, that's not going to happen.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Cautious Exterior...

I think I make a good first impression. I could be wrong, but I feel pretty good about how I first meet people. It have been interesting meeting new people, however, since I moved to Edmonton. One thing about McMurray is that most people didn't start out there. They are used to the influx of new people looking to find friends in the new place that they might be in for awhile. In Edmonton it has been different. I have noticed that a lot of people are far more guarded when I first meet them. I am not sure why that is. What I have learned to do is discard the first impression and go on the 2nd or even the 3rd meeting as my gauge for who this person is. What is even more interesting is that I have had friends on both sides of a meeting tell me that they didn't think the other person liked them based on their first impression. They are both being territorial and guarded and they both are seeing that in the other person and so they both come away from the meeting thinking the other person stand-offish or unfriendly. I don't know what to say. I generally say, Give it another time or two... I like them, you trust my judgement, don't you?

Anyhow, I have noticed this at parties, at meetings, at baby showers, at auditions, and at first rehearsals. I know that some of those situations have tensions associated with them. At others I look for our common friend. If I trust their judgement in a person, I give the individual a pass on that first meeting and hope for better at the next. That's all you can do.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fringe Fini!

What a week! I saw 31 shows and my brain is overloaded and bursting and cannot think about seeing another in the immediate future. That will likely change in a couple of days, but right now my brain is over-full. I saw so many great shows, some with friends in them and some full of strangers, but I really did well this Fringe. I don't know if I can do that kind of intensive viewing again, but I think 20 is a nice number for me, so that is what I will aim for next year.

After seeing my last show, I attended a Production Meeting for Much Ado About Nothing. I have a Production Meeting for Perfect Pie next weekend and it feels like the new season is starting. Mind switch!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grimmly Amused....

I saw Grimmer Than Grimmer Than Grimm and LOVED IT. It is now my favorite show seen at this year's Fringe. It may not be the best show I saw, but it was my personal favorite. See, there's a difference! So funny, so very funny, so twisted and delightfully dark. I cackled heartily and luckily it was the girl who snorted that got mocked instead of me!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Nice Clean Place to Play...

Because Oliver was in Zoo Camp this week, I had been arriving very early at the Fringe Site to avoid going home way up North and back down South to Strathcona again. What's the point of all that driving? Instead I would do a few errands and then head over to the site. Sometimes I would even get out of paying for parking because the booth wasn't set up yet. I always had my $5 ready, but on 2 of the days there was no one to hand it to. That was nice. Then I would head to Chapters, or the Strathcona Library or Shoppers or walk around Whyte and kill time until my show (usually around 12 noon). The most important thing I saw when I got there so early was the gang of Volunteers cleaning up the site. Those people, with their rakes and gloves and garbage bags, are the real stars of the Fringe. You'd be disgusted by what is left on the site each night if you saw it at 9:30 a.m. the next morning and thanks to those volunteers who took on the messiest and most unpleasant of jobs, you didn't have to see it. Kudos to the volunteers of the Fringe! We forget about all those people who put in so much of their time to make that tremendous festival happen. It's not just the clean-up crew, but the beer tent workers, the box office personnel and ushers, the information booth people and many, many more. I cannot imagine how many volunteers it takes to do it all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mid Point

Saw a few very different shows last night... Good, but for different reasons:

Hoboheme - I was cackling at this show (that's what the writer/director Mike Robertson said about my delicate laugh - a cackle....). The hobo aesthetic in script and concept and the way the actors attack this piece is ridiculous, in a very good way. Sure, it could be tighter, but really, would hobos make a tight, crisp show? I don't think so... Kudos to the tree/moon man - we loved him.

Jake's Gift - I heard about this show 2 years ago and was unable to get a ticket so I made sure I got one when I heard it was back. It was truly worth it. Like Shimmer, it was an amazing performance of one actor playing many roles with seamless transitions. Simple, yet beautiful.

I also missed my last show of the night. Be careful when you get your tickets. 15 Minutes might not be enough time to get from one venue to another, especially when one is a BYOV that has a little more freedom to creep over its time allotment and when you trip on the way and bang your big toe, causing you to limp... It was probably better that I get home early.

I also saw Bash'd yesterday - OUTSTANDING! You probably can't get tickets for this one, but hopefully it will be held over.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fringing...

I am off to the Fringe again today. I will be seeing Bash'd, Night Sweats, Hoboheme and Jake's Gift today. The first two are in the afternoon and the other two are in the evening.

I am very pleased with my Fringe experience this year. Every show has had something to recommend it. Some were more successful in delivery than others but that's going to happen. I have so far avoided any outright duds! Yay! At this point my top "Word of Mouth" recommendation is Shimmer, but remember it all depends on what you look for in the Fringe experience. I look for a solid theatrical experience - good writing, great acting and direction and a clean show. It isn't necessarily the production values (cost of the set, costume, etc...) but rather the unity of the concept and how much it engaged me.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Four Good Shows

You know, usually Fringe is hit and miss but today I managed to see 4 shows and all of them were good shows. Not bad, not bad at all.

The last one I saw today was Forget Me Not, which was more of a story with music than a play, but the music was phenomenal and the story was one I connected to strongly due to my personal circumstances. It started off as a story of the girl that got away from the storyteller's grandfather, but ended as a love story to her Grandmother Margaret. Almost a year ago to the day, I lost my Grandmother Margaret and as the story turned, so did my mind, to recollections of the beautiful person that I loved so dearly and lost at this time of year last year. I spent the last 10 minutes of the show sobbing in a body shaking way, grieving and yet rejoicing in the wonderful person I knew and would always think about. I love you Margaret Ann Strand, and I miss you. I think of you every time I write a letter and every time I wear your red hat or see the Grandpa Bear that you made for me with Grandpa's shirt. Tonight I will make a cup of tea and drink it from one of the delicate teacups you passed along to me and I will think of you.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Lovely Afternoon with Women Talking about Babies...

I had a lovely afternoon at a baby shower for Magnolia. I like baby showers and they make me feel wistful about possibly having another child. It is doubtful in my advancing years that I will, but who knows. It was fun to shower gifts upon the mother-to-be in our anticipation of the new little life! I do love the rituals that bring women together to talk and laugh and share whatever wisdom they might have. I also appreciated the lack of silly shower games as I prefer the visiting.

Tomorrow (Sunday, Aug 15) I will be back at the Fringe. I am going to the following shows, so if any of them interest you, buy a ticket and I will sit with you!

12:00 – The Way of All Fish
2:00 - Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat
4:15 PM - Dying City
7:00 PM - Forget Me Not

I am looking forward to returning to the Fringe tomorrow. I think I have paced it out right and I appreciate not having to pay twice for parking!

Things to Keep Me Really Busy!

Yippee! It's Fringe. I have seen 7 shows in 2 days (Simple Simon, Famished, Happy Whackin' Jim McCrackin, To HELL With the Rules!, Shimmer and Tornado: The Musical). I am having a great time seeing the variety that Fringe has to offer. Most of these were on the funny side and a couple were serious. All had great moments and some were super tight and very, very well done. Shimmer was very cool. A true example of how phenomenal acting, direction, writing, lighting and movement can sustain a show and even elevate it without the need for a huge production budget.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A little bit stir crazy...

I like it when I am busy, busy, busy. I think that is my preferred state of being. It gets challenging, because when I am busy it means I can't always do everything I'd like because of commitments and such, but I recognize it totally is my naturally preferred state of being. So, this summer, I deliberately took time off. I didn't enter anything for the Fringe. I turned down a couple of opportunities for the Fringe and I was determined to not do anything between Whorehouse and Rabbit Hole (other than normal AD duties). So here I am, anxiously awaiting Fringe because I need to be doing something and at least I can watch shows and enjoy them and be doing something. I do have a design meeting with my set designer next week for Rabbit Hole and that is exciting, but I am going a little crazy here. There are things I want to do around the house, but every time I start one I get interrupted repeatedly by the warring tribes of Oliver and Gibson. Next week when they are in camp I will get a better handle on those projects.

This is actually how I get over-committed. I get stir crazy and then I commit to multiple projects yet to start and then when they do I am swamped. I have to learn to wait it out, because in a few weeks school will start and so will my class at the Uni and we will have to get a move on with Rabbit Hole and the new season for Walterdale and it will all start rolling along.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Time on My Own...

This weekend Mark took the boys to a Finlay Family Reunion while I stayed home alone and enjoyed the alone time. I was not just being a party pooper, but I have had a month of weekends with 'stuff to do' on all of them (Final Tech Weekend, Show Opening/High School Reunion/company staying at my house, Show Closing/Family Reunion, Visit from Sis and Bro-in-law/Double kid's birthday party) and I needed a major break. Yes, I know, it has been 2 weeks since Whorehouse closed, but I spent a couple of weeks in there with the boys and one of those weeks was rainy (so we were housebound) and the other was sunny (so we were majorly out and about) and I felt exhausted. Plus, being in between projects is always a challenge for me. I have done some work on Rabbit Hole, but I am happiest when I am actively working on something.

The reunion was out at a lake, complete with campfire, mosquitoes, and fishing - for some this would be heaven - for me, I find that more stressful than you can ever know. I am NOT a campfire in the woods person. Anyhow, the boys and Mark had a good time. I got some major cleaning done and tonnes of laundry and cooked and watched two of my movies that I have had on the shelf for a while (Atonement and Slumdog Millionaire). I finished my book (The Book of Negroes) and I did some errands. I slept in and stayed up late and I enjoyed the silence. No DS game sound. No YTV on in the background. No kids yelling at each other in either play or fight.

They are home again and the DS Players are in full force and I have had to ask Gibson 4 times to turn the sound off. Timmy Turner is on the TV and there has been one minor skirmish. Ah...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nature's Own Light Show...

Went and listened to Prairie Nights (formerly Drew Malcolm and Lindsey Walker duo) at The Carrot on 118th Avenue last night. Just after the opening act and just before their set the power went out. However, since it's a small room and Lindsey has a big voice, they started the show in the dark acoustically. The lightning provided a delightful show behind them and about 4 songs in the power came up and they brought tow other members of the band to the stage and finished the show. It was a nice night.
It was good to see and visit with Lindsey since I have not seen her since Whorehouse closed. We briefly talked about plans for the show she is writing. Nice to have a project percolating even if it is a ways away.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Back to the 80's


Went to see St. Aggie's 84 last night at the Old Cycle Building on 118 Avenue. This is the production that Strathcona High School is taking to the Edinburgh Fringe. I went with Magnolia and we met Lisa Brownie there and the three of us had a grand ol' time. I also drove Lisa home afterward so we got an extended visit. The show was a lot of fun. I do hope that the stage they play on in Scotland is a little bigger, or at least wider as I think that with that many bodies on stage more space would have been better. There were some great things on stage. The core groups of girls and guys were very strong and well-matched, and the supporting story with the Spanish students was very funny. I think the playwright maybe tried to follow the source material too tightly as I think the show would have been stronger if it were to end on either the first or second false ending instead of the third, but it may not be finished in that respect. You can always fine tune as playwright and edit as you go. It did, however, feel like Fringe had started (even though it's 2 weeks away) as we watched this fun, new musical in the hot box of a theatre space and laughed at the 80's references and enjoyed the story and the dancing!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lazy Days of Summer...

Yesterday I took the boys to the Spray park at Glengarry. I have to keep them doing things or else they invade each other's territory and the punches and tears start. It's not constant, and in fact I tend to get several hours of good play before an altercation, but when it does happen it always seems to be at a critical point in my work. I wonder, do these kids have special radar for when the absolute worst time to fight would be?

Anyhow, the spray park was great and even tempered the rest of the day as there were very few moments of high drama for the rest of the day. Nothing like sun and water to sort out a child's day! We are going to hit a few more spray parks this week. I am mixing it up but going to different ones. They long to go back to West Ed, but a couple of things stop me from doing that. First, the outrageous price and second, the thought of my butt in a swimsuit in public. Maybe after I lose about 50 lbs... but even then it would still be so very, very expensive for just a couple of hours of fun. They would have stayed longer yesterday and it was all free so why waste the money?

I have put away the LOST DVDs until Season 6 comes out. I re-watched all the seasons and even the special features and the deleted scenes and all that but now it is time for a rest. I need to be reading more. Finished up a book yesterday and started a new one. I also need to be writing. Hard with the distractions of summer...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nine Years Ago Yesterday...

I became a Mom. Oliver turned 9 yesterday and we spent this entire weekend in birthday mode. My niece Ariana turned 3 last Monday but since my sis and her husband were in town this weekend the birthday party was held on Saturday afternoon (complete with bouncy castle and sprinkler). Sunday we celebrated Oliver's birthday at my Mom and Dad's. It was more low-key as we were expecting my brother and his family but they were held up at the lake. But the time they got there my nieces were wiped out. In any case, we played a new game (Quirkle - given to Oliver from Auntie Annie and Uncle Greg) which was a big hit. We also enjoyed the DQ Ice Cream Cake, which is a perennial favorite!

It is hard to really think that I can quantify my being a mother in time. It was easier to do that when I was newer to the job, but now it feels as though I have always been a Mom. I do enjoy the changes and evolutions in my children as they grow into different people. 9 seems like it will be an interesting year with Oliver.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Week to Get Stuff Done...

Boys are in camp this week so I have been getting stuff done. I spent time at the theatre (and will spend more this week) sorting and purging Props with Alli and painting the stage floor (what I could get to, anyways - about 4/5 of it). I also took a couple of big bags of clothes to the Goodwill and a box of baby toys. I will continue to do more of this kind of thing tomorrow. My sis and her husband come to visit Friday and this weekend has birthday events for my niece and my eldest son so I will be busy with family stuff from Friday on. I have to get some birthday presents and a cake...

I am thinking about Camp for the boys for another week since I feel like I am working hard but still have so much more I would like to get done that I haven't gotten to...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A SOLD OUT Run...


Feels pretty good. I am so very happy for Walterdale and my cast and for me, because I want to share in the joy of the full houses! We ran out of hairspray so I bought more today and will take it in tonight. I am very, very glad I bought MY tickets early!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review of Whorehouse - Nothing to write home about...

Well, we got a review. It isn't great, but it isn't terrible. Some of the criticisms are more related to the script and you can't really do much about that. I also think, based on the specific criticism, that the reviewer came to Opening night as I think we have since worked out the balance and timing issues with the band and singers. We had a few glitches on Opening Night in that regard. We made a conscious decision not to mic and I still think that is right for the space, but it certainly made balance a bigger challenge.

A review is what it is. Whorehouse does not have the conventional Musical Theatre Arc so it challenges expectations. I, too, prefer the second act, but for reasons that are intangible. As with all reviews - I analyze and learn from them, but take them with a grain of salt. They are, after all, only one person's opinion of a show they saw on one particular night and by no means do they reflect everyone's reactions.

http://vueweekly.com/arts/story/bigger_is_better1/

Monday, July 12, 2010

Reunions and Opening Weekends...


The show (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) opened this weekend. It has been a fabulous first half of the run as all five of our shows have SOLD OUT. You always want the show to be successful, but I try not to focus on that as a measuring stick. Instead I tried to focus on making the show really good, and fun and to promote it as best I could so that we could get people out to see it. It is so gratifying to see the audiences come out and to see them be so appreciative. I saw the show Opening and then returned yesterday afternoon for the Sunday afternoon. On Opening we had a nice strong show but I knew the cast was a little nervous and tentative... they have certainly loosened up and are sinking their teeth in with confidence and pure enjoyment - it is so nice to see the show grow without seeing it go off the rails!


Also this weekend I had my 25th High School Reunion. For the two previous reunions I was Chair (10th) and heavily involved (20th) but for this one I could not put as much time in. I was involved in all the discussions and passed along information and handled Facebook and the nametags but that was about all. But you know, since this was our third, we actually kind of know what we are doing so I will take credit for groundwork... Anyhow, the weekend was a lot of fun. I unfortunately was a bit sick (still am) but I managed to get sleep deprived in any case. I loved seeing and visiting with everyone. I always feel blessed that we had the class that we did. I know not everyone has a Grad Class that they actually like and stay connected with - but I did and I am grateful. Already there is talk of the 'the next one' (a good sign) and that makes me happy.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Opening Night - SOLD OUT


Those are lovely words to see when you go to the Tix on the Square Website. I know that we have quite a few comps tonight, but even with that, Opening Night usually has about 80-90 people. Sold Out means we will have 143! Yee Haw! I am excited for my cast and crew. They have had two lovely Preview audiences in which to get used to audience reactions and to work out the bugs in scene and costume changes. I look forward to seeing the show again and hope I can relax on their behalf and just enjoy! It's the kind of show that demands a big house, so let's hope tonight is not a fluke and the run does well. I promise enthusiasm and a dedicated and talented cast dressed in fabulous costumes on a gorgeous set...

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Final Dress


Last night was our Final Dress. It's all there. I had picky little notes, but that's it - all we need is an audience. Today we clean and do some stuff where we need to tweak lights and sound, and then tomorrow is a day of rest and we have our first Preview on Monday. Here we go! Yee Haw!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

2 Weeks to Opening Night


Whorehouse is moving along. We are in great shape. There is some tightening in a few crunchy places, but generally it is small potatoes. Now we are waiting on the other details, the completion of the set, the acquisition of all the show props, the lights, the costumes and the make-up. We add the musicians on Sunday at the Sitz Probe which will be fun. Dry Tech happens on Monday night (no rest for me or the rest of the Production Team, but the cast gets a night off!), and we begin a 2 night process of Q2Q on Tuesday. We have done our work on the acting, singing and dancing and now we have to be patient while the technical elements get incorporated. I am anxious and nervous and excited. It's all about how close it will look to the picture in my head. I have a great team, so I have great expectations about how that will all turn out.


We have had a few issues - illnesses, work issues, lates, the usual - we are dealing with it all and it seems to be that a calm head and good preparation is working miracles to solve everything as it comes. Let's hope that all the illness is over and done with and that no more unexpected work emergencies pop up! I do feel that everyone is invested in the show and that is half the battle!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fabulous Rehearsal Last Night... Now if I Could Just Sleep...


We had a great rehearsal last night for Best Little Whorehouse. It was a stumble of Act Two and it was really in pretty good shape. There were a couple bumps but we are still 3 weeks out from Opening so those will get cleaner as we keep working. Then we taught the Aggie Song/Dance to our two new Aggies. I am so happy we solved that problem. Injuries scare me. The last thing I want is for an actor to get injured, but we needed the bodies for the dance. The 2 new guys picked it up fast and we have another hour tonight to clean it and again we have 3 weeks to Opening.


Now if only I could sleep. I have screwed up my sleep pattern because my brain isn't shutting off when I get home. I am either buzzing with thoughts of the Whorehouse or of LOST - sometimes both. Two nights ago I dreamt I was directing a hybrid LOST/Whorehouse travelling show (don't ask for details, but Matthew Fox was delightful to work with and Terry O'Quinn was a bit of a diva)... Anyhow, I couldn't fall asleep until 3 AM and then I was dead this morning. I have to get it to shift back and soon. It is not convenient.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Life is Either at the Zoo or in a Whorehouse Right now...


And I am not talking metaphorically!


I had a planning meeting this morning with the other Camp Counsellors for the "Acting Like Animals" Camp that I will be working at this summer at the Zoo. It was fun. We had one of the counsellors from last year there and he gave great input and the girls seem fun and enthusiastic and I think we will all work together well. I am excited about this and need to get to work on the plays for the camp. I have the stories and resources, now I have to write the scripts.


I am also at a very important phase in Whorehouse rehearsals. Last night we started putting the pieces together. We have everything choreographed and blocked and last night we stumbled Act One. It was choppy, especially in between scenes, but it is all there and now I can clean it. I am a little stressed about injuries because I don't want to have anyone hurt, but we have a plan to help avoid that and still keep the integrity of the number. Speaking of the dance - it is so good. I find it hard to believe that they learned all that so recently. We have some work to do, but not as much as we could have. It was nice for everyone to see what has been done - since I work in pieces this was the first time some people saw any scenes outside the ones they are actually in. It was great to hear the laughter and applause from the cast in the house for the cast on the stage. Lovely, lovely, lovely!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Live Together, Die Alone...

After the final episode of LOST was aired a few weeks ago and once I recovered from my very teary reaction to watching it (more than once) I decided I wanted to watch the whole series from start to finish. I know, I know, I will have to wait on the final season, but it should be out by the end of the summer. Anyhow, I have now watched Season 1 and 2 and located Season 3 today so I will commence the viewing of that. It is funny how so many lines have new significance after seeing the final season. Most importantly for me is the concept of Live Together, Die Alone which I think is a brilliant approach to any society, whether you are on a desert island or large city. We have to find a way to live together or we will die alone. So we have to appreciate what everyone brings to the table.

Pardon me, I am a little obsessed at the moment...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sometimes I Shake My Head and Wonder About People...

Have you ever been in a meeting/social setting/general gathering of people when someone says something to you that makes you just shake your head? Like you want to say, "Did you really just accuse me of that? What the...? That's insulting and idiotic." but you don't because of the social conventions that there are other people there and the sheer disbelief of them accusing you of it to begin with. It amazes me sometimes the kind of crap people get away with saying because they know that 9 time out of 10 people are going to be too flabbergasted or polite to respond or challenge them. I could do without that kind of crap.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Updating my Resume...

No, I am not looking for work, but it is always good to periodically add things before you forget what you did. I was also contacted about teaching a Drama camp at the Zoo this summer so they need my resume on file so I had to make sure it was up to date. I was amazed by how much theatre stuff I have done since I moved to Edmonton. Last year I worked on 7 Productions - primarily in prominent roles (Director, playwright, actor). I have already racked up 4 projects this year and it is only 1/2 way over. I think that will be it for this year, except I will start work on Rabbit Hole before the end of the year. I will also be at the University and continuing with the ADship so it will not be like I am sitting on my butt.

I looked into what was required for me to return to teaching, but I think if I do I would just be a substitute because it is hard to deal with child care and running around for the store if I am also working full-time. But it is nice to know that everything is in place if I wanted to do it. I think I would like a year or two to get the house in order. I keep saying I am going to do it, but I only seem to get to it in piecemeal. There is so much stuff (baby toys, clothes, books) that I should be purging from the house. I have started, but I need more time!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Moving forward in great strides...


Ahhhhh....


It is so nice to finally feel like we are moving forward. We had some solid chunks of the script completed but this week with the addition of choreography and the availability of certain key actors increasing we have just been moving along. I am finally moving at the pace I like and I am liking what I see. It is also echoed by the move into the space. There is certainly something about being in the theatre feeling like *bang*, now we're moving!


We are a week and a half from having everything blocked and choreographed and then we have a delightful amount of time to clean and make this baby sparkle! Very, very fun!


Now, if only I could fix the issues I have with people who show up late, or read the schedule wrong and don't show up at all, or get sick (don't get sick, people!), or get injured (don't get injured people!) then I would be totally happy.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Trying not to be so cranky...

I am trying, really, to not be so cranky. I think once I am caught up on sleep I will be able to let it all go. People are people and it ain't my job to fix them - just live with them...

On the upside - EXCELLENT REHEARSAL TONIGHT for SIDE STEP! Much joy in the building and watching and my cast rocks the house! Love the show now that choreography is started. I feel like we are moving along!

Did your mother raise you right?

Personally I think that if you are over 18 then you shouldn't have to be asked to clean up after yourself. You also shouldn't assume that other people should have to clean up after you, that you are somehow too good to take the initiative and join in without being "asked politely". I'm not your mom. I shouldn't have to ask.

You may not agree. That's your perogative, but realize that everyone is judged on their own behaviour and you may not come out so good in the judging. Suck it up and be a better person. And the next time you see your mom, you might want to ask her why she didn't teach you right.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Great Debate

Just spent a bit of time discussing/debating with Mark about Arts Funding. He believes that art should work on a business model and be commercially viable and not rely on public funding. I want a shift int he way we fund, but I believe in arts funding to a certain degree because I think that if all art is commercially viable then we will have art collapse into mediocrity and all we would see is the safe, boring, been there done that stuff. I am tired of seeing the same movie over and over again (War of the Worlds = 2012 = Armageddon = Independence Day) and people investing their own private money want to be sure that they are going to get a good return so they will only invest in a proven commodity. Granting allows for those who take risks to do so and that's when things get exciting for me.

Anyhow, we do not agree on this, but it was an interesting discussion. We are only married, we are not the same person so we can disagree on things - even though I am right...

Getting Level

Despite lingering tiredness, we had a great rehearsal last night. The first real scene of the play (the one that starts the present day action) wasn't working as I originally blocked it. Part of it was just getting everyone used to the dynamics and part of it was that I had some over-choreographed sections that weren't working. We pulled in the 4 ladies we needed and they had so obviously done the homework I had assigned them and it now is working so much better. I am so anxious to get to next week when we will have everyone and we can really jump into work on the show. So far it has been like little jig-saw puzzle pieces, but tonight we start choreography and I am excited to grab big handfuls of the play and put it all together! I am really enjoying having Stacey there as Assistant Director. She is sharp and has an eye that complements my own so I think it is a good team at the table. After so many years of not having an assistant director I am finding that they are a very valuable thing to have. I am glad that I went with my instinct and asked her!

I am also feeling more level, less tired and actually did some cleaning today. My house has been sorely neglected as of late and I need to get on top of the mess! Purging of toys and clothes and other junk will follow next week!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Prehistoric Exhaustion...

We took a little trip as a family to Drumheller this weekend. Mark closed up the store early and we drove to Threehills on Saturday and then spent the day in Drumheller at the Tyrell and at a number of playgrounds in the area and generally had a good time. We were all a little sleep deprived. The boys were because they wanted to go and go and go and we were because the boys were... if that makes sense. I am tired today despite sleeping in. I am still making up for a week ago when I was wiped out because of going out after Hamlet and then going into a tech weekend while rehearsing another show.

With regards to exhaustion I am realizing that I have to get this under control. I had a fantastic offer last week that would have taken up a lot of time and I was both relieved and disappointed when it fell through (they asked too many people expecting some to say no, but apparently everyone said yes so they had to deliver bad news to a few - since I took a bit of time to think about it I figure I was lower on the list - no worries - it sounds like I might get to do it in the future, just not this year). I look at the calendar and know that I have a month and a half of incredibly busy time ahead of me and then relative calm. I shall use this summer to rejuvenate. Next season at Walterdale should be easier time wise. I won't be required to do all the reading and putting together another season and I have a show that won't have the massive cast of my current one. I already have that rehearsal schedule mapped out for the Fall so I feel like I might be a bit more relaxed. I also may just need to nap if the body is asking for it. I can do that. I should do that, if I need to.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Some Other people's thoughts on things I think alot about...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2008/aug/26/inthepastmonthive

http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/21852/rsc-seeks-greater-involvement-with-amateur

http://susan-oncemorewithfeeling.blogspot.com/2010/01/professionalamateur.html

Interesting thoughts from people on professional vs. amateur. The whole debate in theatre reminds me when I was a teacher and I would be frustrated because we were supposed to be professionals, but because we were also in a union the aspects of contracts and working to rule meant some teachers didn't necessarily approach the work as a professional but more as though it were just a job. I think that how you approach the work of theatre can be the same thing. If your approach is to attempt a level of excellence (whatever that would be for you) it is very different than if you just do the minimum.

Burning the candle at both ends...

This past week I have been out every night for either From Cradle to Stage or Whorehouse. Rehearsals, Production Meetings and Opening night loaded up my nights. I unfortunately combined that with having really full days as well as I supervised field trips for both boys and did Child Check. Monday was free in the day but I had a bit of running around to do - last minute gift buying, some props to acquire, that sort of thing. Anyhow, it all caught up with me and I was so delighted to get to sleep in this morning. I don't feel 100%, but I am getting there. I will know for sure when my left eyelid stops twitching.

In any case, the Opening for From Cradle to Stage went well. I hope that the audiences are what they deserve. It is a strong evening of theatre and I am so pleased with how tight all three pieces are. I know that there will be some people who prefer one show or the other, but I also am confident that it will not all be the same show. I think that speaks to the strength of the evening. Truly there is something for everyone. I am glad I will get to see it again on Closing Night. I look forward to seeing how it has grown.

I am looking forward to disconnecting a bit this weekend. The boys have no piano lesson tomorrow and due to horrible schedules there is no Whorehouse rehearsal on Sunday so I am off duty until Monday night. I shall certainly appreciate the family time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Safety City!

Went on a field trip to Safety City with Gibson and his Kindergarten Class this morning. Very fun. Gibson declared the day AWESOME! Hard to corral those high energy Kindergarten kids and mine was no exception, but they did love driving the mini-quads!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

There's a Sign Across the street...

...from Walterdale Theatre that says something about the Varscona offering Professional Theatre all year round and it makes me pause. I don't pause in an "us and them" way, but in a way that wishes that all artists, whether paid or not, could recognize that it is the work, not the compensation, that matters. I have seen wonderful theatre on both professional and amateur stages. I have seen some not-so-wonderful theatre on both types of stages as well. I also know that a lot of the amateur actors and designers and directors that I have worked with go to and pay for a great deal of professional theatre.

Last summer, Trevor Schmidt wrote a piece in Theatre Buzz ( http://www.theatrealberta.com/documents/Summer_2009_newsletter.pdf page 10) about how theatre in New Zealand worked. He talked about how there was no separation between professional and amateur theatre, that sometimes you got paid and sometimes you didn't and that was how it worked. He said more than that, but I liked the idea that people just respected each other as artists and didn't judge or rate the legitimacy of the art based on whether you get paid or not. I know that I work just as hard and strive for the same level of quality in my performances whether I am paid or not. If I do get paid, I am happy, to be sure, but I don't value one more than the other. That's the way it should be. Art is art. Now I am sure that the Varscona is merely trying to highlight what they do and applauding people who support and appreciate professional theatre. I am pretty sure that the sign is not meant to be malicious in any way. I just hope that they realize that since they are right across the street from a Community Theatre, that many of the people who do their work there might feel slighted by the sign rather than encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Countdown...

I always say this to myself: once this is done, I will have so much more time, and I always hope that it will be true. Let's hope I stick to my resolve to not audition for any Fringe thing and to just be the audience this summer. I am looking forward to seeing Uncle Robert's Funeral, Kiss Within a Kiss and Sea of Green onstage and I am also looking forward to them being done so that I can focus on Whorehouse exclusively. I have found a way to compartmentalize so that I feel I am in the right place both physically and mentally. So anyhow, I am in countdown again for one thing or another - juggling parenthood and theatre and writing and ADing and all that stuff, knowing that there will always be the next thing and the countdown is completely a way to fool myself!

Today I looked into what I need to do to return to work as a teacher in the Fall if I so choose. I am not sure what I want to do as I am busy as it is, but it might be good to have the option to sub and get back in there that way. I know that there are not a lot of people who have my bag of tricks with regards to subjects who are subbing so I might be able to book some work here and there and maybe that would be good OR there might be a part-time position that would work nicely for us. I don't know - it's early days.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Beautiful Music...

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I was treated to a lovely breakfast prepared by my husband and cards and gifts created by my children. As well, Mark's gifts were Nathan Fillion themed (Season 1 of Castle, a Nikki Heat book, and the Dr. Horrible DVD). It was a lovely morning. Then I tripped off to the theatre for a check-in with the One-Acts and a little photocopying and then to Alex Taylor for Whorehouse musical rehearsal. Oh my! The cast sounds so good! They worked on Side Step and Hard Candy Christmas, two of my favorite songs from the show. First time working on both and both were so good. No one will be able to complain about the music in this show, that's for sure, not when they sound like that!! I will have to make sure that my direction maintains the promise of their voices.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Rehearsal High!

We had a fabulous rehearsal tonight for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. We basically stumbled about 2/5 of the play and we have only been at this for about 2 and a half weeks. The cast is so sharp and fun. I am having a blast. We still have some choreography to fill in the blanks, but it was nice to feel that we are on the right track so early! Right now we are missing a few people due to conflicts, so when we fill in the cast members and the choreo it is going to sing! Yippee! Or should I say Yee Haw!?

I have made my choices and I respect yours, just tone down the vitriol...

In doing some online research into arguments on both sides of the abortion debate for a script I am working on I came across pages devoted to people writing about their decision not to have children. These pages were called things like "I Hate Kids" and "No Kids", etc... Now, I understand the need for community and having discussions with people who have made similar choices or have similar views and belief systems. People need reassurance that they are not alone in the wilderness. It's why many people join parenting groups when they have children. However, the vitriol on some of those pages was astounding. I have kids but I would never expect everyone else to have kids. I also expect that there are times when having my kids around is not appropriate but there are times when it is appropriate and someone else's decision not to have children should not mean that they should never have to interact in a situation with children in it. After all, wasn't everyone a child once? Make your choice, that's fine. If you really can't handle kids at all, avoid places where kids are and suck it up when you are in a situation where kids are. Remember, some of those kids will be wiping your butt one day when you are in the nursing home - if they didn't exist you might have some major issues in your twilight years!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Scheduling Nightmares....

Well, I got the Whorehouse Schedule done, and then problems rolled in. Part of it was a miscommunication about available dates from certain people, part of it was a misinterpretation on my part, part of it was people finding new conflicts after the fact. It is what happens with a cast of 31 people and a production team which has two key members working on different shows that run very closely in time to ours. It's a 2000 piece Jig-saw puzzle to begin with so I didn't expect it to be easy. I did expect it to be easier than it was and is.

I am confident that the show will be good and that it will come together, it is just that everyone has to realize that the 'ideal' situation with regards to scheduling is not going to be possible and that we will get it done in a different way. Trust me, if I had my druthers, we would be working chronologically with choreo at the beginning of the rehearsal period and with built in review. That is not in any way possible so I will make it work. I have done shows with kids with schedules that were just as bad so I can make this work!

So, let's hope this current schedule works with no major issues. I am anxious for June when it is the only thing on my plate!