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Friday, July 29, 2011

Feeling Better... not 100%

This week was far more productive than last week. First of all I am feeling better so that helped. I still am a little froggy, but nothing like what was hitting my head last week so that's all good. Oliver's birthday meant that I had to get moving Monday to be ready for Tuesday. I also had to get some of my work done for Fringe (Pieces) since I had neglected to get it done the week before. I did Toys R Us and picked up the Dairy Queen Ice Cream cake and made up loot bags for Oliver's Drama Camp. That handled the birthday. I offered to have a party earlier in the month but Oliver said all his friends are away on holidays so I just took the two boys to Chuckie Cheese for game playing and pizza. They were fine with that. I know that Oliver might think about the fact he doesn't get the boat-load of toys that other kids do because his summer birthday has meant very few birthday parties, but I know my kids have a lot of stuff. They don't need much more and he seemed quite happy with what he got. I'd rather that than too much stuff!



I tackled the media stuff for Fringe. Brent finished the poster and I love it. I hope you do too! The media kit is massive - so massive that it won't send via email. So I made a decision just to send the Media Release and we will have hard copies of the Kit at the Fringe Media Launch on Tuesday. No use clogging up the in-boxes of all those reporters. I figure most of the information they need is in the release as well. It must be hard with all these shows for the media folk to sift through it all. I cannot imagine. The program is almost done. We are waiting on a section from the Alzheimer's Association. That will come in on Tuesday. I am out of my comfort zone with this stuff, but if you aren't stressed, you probably aren't learning, right? I also balanced this with painting on the sunny days. I have some more to do, but I am hoping tomorrow or Sunday will be sunny so I can finish. I have Wed and Thursday next week as well. I have a few little prop things to find and then we are good. We had a great meeting for tech with myself, Erin (Sound) and Kim (SM) and with those two I feel so relaxed about the tech, that it's all good there!



Now, let this all begin! Oh, and come see the show!!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Mother... my most significant relationship(s)...

Ten Years ago today, right now, I was in labour but not progressing. With each contraction the heart rate of my unborn child was dropping. In a couple of hours, if things didn't progress, they were going to give me a c-section. I didn't so they did. It was fine. I made jokes once they did the spinal (and I could feel nothing below my arms - ahhhhhh). Mark argued about having to sit during the procedure as 'he had seen a c-section before'... the nurse insisted - 'that was not your wife' and 'they didn't want to have to pick him up off the floor if he fainted'. So he sat and watched. Oliver Lester Finlay arrived ten years ago tomorrow morning about 1:30 a.m. Mark did all the preliminary stuff with him as I was down in the recovery room waiting for my toes to move.

10 Years a Mother - hard to believe. The manners were better when he was 5. I see the teenager to come though and I think he will be an interesting, if challenging, kid. Right now he still loves Lego (Harry Potter this year) and is not into 'girls'. This past school year he had the 'puberty' lesson and he didn't giggle because their teacher told them they weren't allowed to be immature. He still likes Webkins, and Pokemon rules the world and his latest DS Game is Plants vs. Zombies. He is tall for his age but a bit lazy but I do have him trained to put his dishes in the sink and his dirty clothes in his hamper. I understand him terrifically, but sometimes that doesn't do much when he's cranky or wants his way. He is my first born and he grows more interesting every year. The job itself gets both harder and easier, as well.

The Tale of My Illness...

So I put the kids in camp last week so that I could have a bit of time to get some stuff done, however, illness struck and I spent a lot of time actually medicating and sleeping to try and kick whatever foul bug infected my system. I realized that I had not gotten much on my To Do List done, so on Thursday I registered them for camp this week as well. I am still sick, but I only have a limited amount of time to get these things done for Fringe (FinallySauces presents Pieces) so I worked on the media release, painting my set piece and some other general Fringe housekeeping today. I also painted the Romeo and Juliet signs for Walterdale's bathrooms. They actually turned out quite well, so I will not be embarrassed for people to know I painted them. Whew! I wish the sickness would leave. The cashier at Safeway pretty much described what I have and said it hung around for 3 weeks for her. I hope I am luckier and can be better sooner than that!! I need to get better so I don't infect my cast when we resume on Monday!!!

So, tomorrow, I need to finish working on the Set Painting. It looks better now, but I can tell it is not finished. It is a bit too rusty looking and darker than I want. I will experiment tomorrow to lighten it up a bit. I also need to adjust some costumes and meet with my SM and Sound Designer this week and get on my poster designer's case (he's working on it, but I want the artwork for the media package so if I could just get that by Wednesday night....). All those little things to do! Oh, and get healthy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Pieces Photo...

Young Joan (Lindsey Walker) and Ben (Justin Deveau) plan for the future. Photo by Janine Hodder.

Pieces Pictures... a couple of media photos to share...



We took photos for media purposes at our Pieces rehearsal the other night. I am blessed to have Janine in the cast, in that she is not only a great actress who always gives 110% to her work, but she is also a phenomenal photographer. Here is a sample...


In the above photo, Diane (Anne Marie Szucs) calms and comforts her mother Joan (Francie-Goodwin-Davies) who suffers from dementia. Photo by Janine Hodder.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A To-Do List Builds...

We have a wee 2 weeks off from rehearsing Pieces (Fringe 2011) while 2 of our actors are away and I am not accumulating an unanticipated To-Do List. I should have anticipated it, but sometimes I have to put my brain into the 'let's just get the next thing done' mode or I would get overwhelmed. Anyhow, the next two weeks will be about media materials, photos, posters, media releases, programs, etc... and I think I will be able to handle it. The once relatively free calendar is filling up (ugh), but the boys scoot off to camp next week so I should have much more time in the daytime to do any running around required. I am really thinking hard about a camp the following week, but in August they go three weeks straight in various camps so I am hesitant to do that. Somewhere in there I want to get a haircut...

The show itself is in good shape. The arc defined and present, but the big thing now is lines. It's tricky because of the overlapping dialogue so I do not pity the actors having to work on it in a vacuum over the next 2 weeks, but we will go hard in August when everyone is back. I will also work with anyone who wants a line running partner (I'll even do different voices for the different characters!). I am happy with where I have brought the script to. It could likely go further but I would have needed more time. It is a challenge to schedule with the my own schedule and the schedules of the people involved (a couple of them are in 1 or more other Fringe shows and then there are holidays and workshops - it is summer). In any case, I feel the script has taken leaps and bounds from where it was and my cast is very committed to making it work.

Last night I had rehearsal for A Little Night Music. We did a run of the show, off book. It was my first time off book for the whole show. I had put in some time on the lines earlier in the day, but the run told me I have some work to do. I generally know what I have to say, but I will need the reinforcement. We don't go up until September, so I know the task at hand is well within management. We run the show once a week for the next few weeks until after Fringe and then after Fringe we get serious. I feel like we are in great shape there.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Set Gets Another Mention...

The Vue Review... my Whimsical Set!

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

I have gotten a lot of positive feedback on the set and the show as a whole. It's very funny and appropriate for children (my boys loved it). I haven't met anyone who hasn't liked the show. A fine finish to a 2 year term!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Nice Review, a Wedding, Family and Exhaustion...

The Gateway had a nice review of Village of Idiots and they even mentioned my set:

http://thegatewayonline.ca/articles/arts-entertainment/2011/07/10/absurdity-rules-walterdale-s-wacky-world-idiots

Thought I would share. There was a pretty good review in the Sun as well, but they didn't say anything about the set, so I didn't post the link. This Blog is about me, after all... Well, really this review is better so why not just read it?

I got back from my San Francisco/Berkeley trip for my cousin's wedding on Sunday evening. I had left Thursday morning and enjoyed the 3 1/2 vacation slash family reunion slash wedding. It would have been the perfect trip to take the boys on since there were dinosaurs at the wedding and a whole bunch of kid cousins, but I did my best to enjoy it without them. I did a lot of visiting, but it always feels like you don't get to do enough. I was wishing I had made my return on Monday instead of Sunday so I would have had that one last day... but alas...

I am now tired. I have had rehearsals for Pieces (Fringe 2011) this week. Tonight was very giddy. We are off-book so that is good, but there is still a lot of "line" so work is needed. I am happy with where we are at and now we have a 2 1/2 week break until we can rehearse again. And then we go hard! Tonight we did media photos and from what I saw on the camera they looked pretty good. One of our cast is a very good photographer and she took some lovely shots. It really takes a village... Next week I meet with Sound Designer Magnolia and my lovely SM Kim and we have a track through the script for cues, etc... so we can figure some of that stuff out before we hit the space. I want to be ready when we walk in there.

I am so tired. I am pretty sure it is all the overlap of multiple projects and the travelling and all that, but today I shut my eyes and opened them and it was 2 hours later. I need to get my energy back! As of this weekend one project will be done (Village) and my ADship will be technically over and I will have a break on Pieces so I can work on my lines for A Little Night Music. I am missing a Production Meeting for Wyrd Sisters tomorrow night because I have Night Music rehearsal, but I told them what I think they need to know at this point so I am good there. I am only Master Painter for that show after all...

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Full Circle...

In the Summer of 2005, I relocated to Edmonton from Fort McMurray. It was a tough move for me. I was very happy in Fort McMurray and found it to be a rich life, filled with opportunity to act and direct and even write (I had written my first play and had it produced in 2003-4). I knew Edmonton as a theatre city from my University days, but primarily as a spectator/audience member. I knew there would be a lot of things for me to see, but I was not sure about what I would be able to do. This worried me. I had no plans to teach as I had two young children, one of whom had a speech delay, and the constraints of Mark's new work-schedule would make child care challenging. In any case, we made the move. The first few months were hard - for those of you who know me, I like to be very, very busy - I was not busy at all. Then a friend recommended ELOPE and I auditioned for and got in Fiddler on the Roof. While in that cast, one of the other cast members recommended Walterdale. I auditioned for and got into Lunatic at the 2006 One Acts. I found a home. I liked this place. So I jumped in with both feet, joining the Board of Directors as Secretary. I also auditioned for Steel Magnolias directed by Linette Smith. I was hopeful, I loved the play and thought that maybe I could be used in it. How absolutely delighted I was to be cast as M'Lynn, my dream role. I knew I was a little young for it, but Linette saw something in me and cast me. That show turned out to be a marvelous experience for me. I felt I grew leaps and bounds as an actor. I also worked with 5 wonderful actresses and made real friendships with everyone on the team. It cemented my connection with Walterdale. Here was a place for realizing potential! Now it is full circle for me. It is 5 years later and it is Opening Night for my final production as Artistic Director and how wonderful, Linette Smith is directing the show. Not only that, but Pat Eyford (who was SM for Magnolias) is also SM for Village of Idiots, and Erin Foster-O'Riordan (who played Truvy in Magnolias) is Sound Designer. It feels right. Full Circle...

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Looking Forward...

Tomorrow (Wed, July 6th) is Opening Night of Village of Idiots. I am excited and sad about this. It marks the last Opening Night of my tenure as Artistic Director, so there is a sadness about seeing this journey end. I have learned a lot and met a lot of friends over the last few years. I have made mistakes, and learned from them. I hope that I am passing on what is needed to the incoming AD. I have been trying to do so, but I also don't want to be overbearing or come across like I am trying to still do the job. I will miss it. I know that this job and what I learned from it will serve me in the future, but like anything 'unknown' it is scary to move on. I am also excited about the Opening. Openings are always fun and because I got the opportunity to design the set I am anxious to see the reception of that.

I also have to pack tomorrow. I am going on a wee holiday to San Francisco for my cousin's wedding. I am so looking forward to seeing my cousins and siblings and aunts and uncles who will be there. I have a list of things to do before I go... when I come back, I dive right back into Pieces and A Little Night Music and finishing the run of Village... I am looking forward, but the path is cluttered...