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Friday, September 30, 2011

So Much for a Lull...

Well, I have been saying that there is a lull in my theatre life between September and April (basically between A Little Night Music and Nine), however, I have managed to fill some of that time up this week. In addition to working a couple of casinos (Shadow Theatre and Theatre Yes) I also auditioned for the Drama 483 midterms and was cast in one of them, as well, I interviewed for and received an offer to direct for New Works at the U of A. The 483 scene is for the play Mrs. Packard. I do not know which role I will be playing at this point. I will find out Sunday. And the New Works script is also a mystery. I have my fingers crossed for one in particular but will be happy to work on whatever they want me to! I am excited. I think I should pause now before auditioning for anything else. At this point the time is filling up. Since I am also Master Painter for Wyrd Sisters at Walterdale I am running out of free time. But it is parcelled out nicely.

I also wanted to mentioned I am working on a scene from Marion Bridge by Daniel MacIvor for my Drama 257 scene. This makes me happy as I really connect to the writing and the characters in the piece. I only wish we were presenting after Playworks Ink when the experience of actually hearing MacIvor speak would potentially enrich the project.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Is This Going to Be the Year of the Citadel for me?

Due to a happy circumstance I once again was able to see a show at The Citadel last night. This time it was a Preview for Death of a Salesman on the Shoctor Stage. A few years ago I saw a very well done production of this play so I wasn't sure how I was going to receive it. It is always hard to judge when you have seen and enjoyed a piece before. However, this production was everything it should be. Although Tom Wood, as Willie Loman, was clearly the anchor for it, it was a true ensemble, with stand-out performances from Wood, John Ullyat (Biff Loman), Brenda Bazinet (Linda Loman) and Tim Campbell (Happy Loman). But that's not really even fair. Not one actor onstage felt miscast or lazy. I could list them all, really, it is really that the core of the play is the family itself. I will admit, I am a bit of an Arthur Miller fan, however, I had a couple friends tell me at intermission and after the show how much they had hated the play when they studied it in high school and how this production reversed their opinion of it. That's impressive.

As is almost always true of The Citadel, the set and lighting was brilliant. The past literally floats in (stunning) and it glows in contrast to the drab present. I found myself haunted by the score which punctuated the piece with it's moodiness. And from Willie's rumpled brown suit to Miss Forsythe's red dress to Happy's mad-men suit, the costumes were letter perfect.

Why this play now? Well, it's perhaps more relevant today with the economic down-turn in recent years and advent of the entitlement generation. Just last week I heard a statistic on the radio about how likely you are to be hired if you are over 54 years old (not very). It speaks to the little guy just trying to get ahead and comments on those who want the short cut, who constantly try to figure out what the secret is. Well, all I know is that in terms of this production, it was well-liked by me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Taking My Theatre Volunteering Out of the Walterdale...

This season is going to be interesting... that's what I keep telling myself. I already feel the lull between projects. This is something I hadn't felt for the last 2 1/2 years because there was always something to do with Walterdale. Even if I didn't have an active project on the go I often needed to be helping in coordinating upcoming events and helping others to fill out their teams. There was little down time. I liked that. But this season will be different. Night Music wrapped up and my class at the U of A was on the go - so there was that. I threw in an audition (which I will admit was not up to my best - too tired from Night Music at the time and woefully unprepared). I also signed up for Shadow Theatre's casino and for working FOH for NLT's first show of the season, Heroine. After all, there are many theatres in the city who benefit from volunteers and, hey, I got the time.

The Casino was fun. Worked a shift with a couple of friends and some other nice people. I generally find casinos pretty easy work, although late at night, and I love counting the money (I know, it's weird - but I love working the money counter!). I will be working a casino for Theatre Yes this week. I think casinos are so easy compared to the alternative (BINGO - Shudder).

Last night I worked the FOH shift. It was the simplest volunteer shift I have ever worked in my life. Literally 20 minutes of tearing tickets and I got to sit in and watch the show. Not bad. The show was interesting. A little more exposition in the script than I was expecting, but well performed and it's kind of cool to see women sword fighting instead of just guys. I imagine it was an arduous physical rehearsal process. Not only were they sword fighting, but they rolled around, fought hand to hand and climbed the set in various configurations. The piece was an interesting juxtaposition of the two pirate women (Ann Bonny and Mary Read) who chose unconventional ways to live in a man's world. Similar life choices, but done in very different ways, with Bonny living as a blood thirsty woman and Read disguising herself as a man. Interestingly enough, Read seemed more feminine (or what we might think of as traditionally feminine) - she was quiet and mannerly whilst Bonny was lusty and loud and aggressive.

Anyhow, I was glad to help out. It's time to step outside, I think.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Penny Plain - EXTRAORDINARY Theatrical Experience

I was lucky enough to catch a Preview of Ronnie Burkett's Penny Plain this past Sunday at The Citadel. What a fabulous show! Yes, it's all marionettes (wait, there were a couple of hand puppets in there too), but it was a fascinating story of a distopian future all told by Ronnie Burkett through many characters. I thought I would be distracted by the puppets, I was not - I was so in I often could have sworn there were tiny little people inside each of them. The mannerisms were subtle and individual and the story itself, although dark, was compelling. You wanted to know what was going to happen. You were shocked and entranced by the changes in the characters. You cared about them.

It was more than just a play in so many ways. Just the fact that one person was creating the voices and characterization for all the characters and you totally believed them, was pretty cool - but the seemingly effortlessness of the movement was brilliant. There were a few exceptions of Preview night glitches that were dealt with masterfully and if anything underscored the complexity which Burkett made seem so easy. We were all along for the ride and if anything, those bumps brought us more into the piece. It was beautifully lit and scored. All in all, a lovely, conceptually complete piece of art. I highly recommend.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Educational Journey Has Begun!

Today was class three of my Fall course, Drama 257. I was a little leery (as usual) at the beginning, but I am really enjoying it. The 'kids' are nice and I like the style of our instructor, Donna Marie, and I think that I can get something out of it. I always worry about those things when I take classes at the Uni now. Being that I am 20 or more years older than most (read: all) the other kids in class and I might even be older than the instructor, I tend to worry about how I will fit into the dynamic. However, this group of students seem to like me and accept me as one of them (whew!) not just 'the old lady' in the class. The first two Projects that we presented I think demonstrated that I am not just a dilettante, but that I am serious about this and that I have something to offer.

I am anxious for script work. I understand the vocabulary of intention and specificity and choice and being present, so I want to apply that to some script work. I am curious as to who I will be paired with. As I have done in my previous acting classes, I am trying to work with as many different people now to get a sense of who they are. I can definitely tell there are stronger and weaker students in the class and students who will be easier or harder to work with (they unfortunately do not all match up). I think I offer a variety to scene choices for the instructor as I am older and that contrast in age and maturity will mean different situations to explore. I hope that she pushes me from where I am now, not from where the majority of the class is. I think that if I feel she isn't, I could easily talk to her about and she would be keen to do so. Anyhow, it is going well. Thursdays are like my Fridays and I am enjoying the rhythm of the Tuesday/Thursday schedule. Let's go!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunset, Sunrise...

A Little Night Music closed yesterday. It felt strange. Closing on a Sunday Matinee never really feels like a closing, but it was. I loved doing this show. I really enjoyed the character and the music and although I would have loved to sing more than I did in the show, considering how much I had on the go, it was probably a good thing I didn't! I also loved working with the cast. There were only 16 of us on the stage and we also had a nice close-knit crew. It was a delight. The best of theatrical experiences! It is now done and I have only the memories...

So now what? I have my class and I am getting started with my school volunteering. I am also waiting to find out when the boys activities will be so I can plan the rest of my life. Today was a bit of a write off. I did get some stuff done, but I am very, very tired from the last week. Exhausted. Tomorrow will be better. I have an audition tomorrow night that I need to prepare for and a props drop at the theatre that I need to look after. The rest of the week is pretty slow so that is good. I have some writing deadlines that I am waaaaay behind on. On to the next project, right? Just have to figure out what that is...

Friday, September 09, 2011

Opening Night - Check!

Last night A Little Night Music opened. The show was solid and we thrilled to the response from the audience. A few jittery hiccups here and there but that's live theatre! I truly enjoyed playing the 'bitchy' Charlotte and getting laughs for my barbed lines. Tonight is show 2 and we only have 4. Most of the people I know are coming on Saturday night. It has been a great adventure so far and I am sad that we only have 3 more times to do it! In any case the audience really seemed to enjoy the show and that's what it's all about! I hope to see you there.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Excited about Sondheim!

We are getting closer to A Little Night Music opening! I am getting excited. Between last night and tonight I had a pretty awesome show (take the best sections from both). All I got to do is put it all together. The show has really gelled in the last week and a half. All that work stretched out over so much time have truly paid off and in a strange way the length of rehearsal time has reduced the stress. Tomorrow we have a media call and I have to get my hair on for that and head out to Festival Place in the morning! Hopefully I can sing as well at 10:30 a.m. as I can at 8:30 p.m. at night!

We only have 4 shows for this. I am anticipating a good turn out since the Christmas show consistently sells out and they have many, many more shows. The cast is also so incredibly strong. Everyone can sing and is well cast. I love the fun that is happening both onstage and off. The show has beautiful music (Sondheim! Squee!) and is funny (a bedroom farce, if you will) and I have the most delightfully sarcastic lines (my favorite!). I hope that you all can make it to see this lovely show!

We run from September 8th to 11th. Evening shows are at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinee is at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through Festival Place.