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Monday, October 31, 2011

Cowardly Kiss Theatre Presents Night Time - No Cowards Here!

I took some time to chat via email with Andrea Beca about Cowardly Kiss Productions, Night Time and what is on the horizon for this company in Edmonton. I am always excited when people commit to what they believe in and take risks while enriching Edmonton's theatrical community so the announcement about an entire season from this company was welcome news for me.

Andrea, you are the Artistic Director of Cowardly Kiss Productions. I have seen a few of your shows at Fringes and last year's Bunburying in the regular theatre season. Can you give us a bit of background on yourself and the company and what you have done in the past? Sure! I've been writing my whole life, from my own "radio" show when I was in grade 1 (my mum still has the tapes I recorded - good lord!) to novels in elementary school. I started writing plays seriously when I was around 16, which was also the first year I got involved with Nextfest at Theatre Network. Everything sort of snowballed from there: I went to the University of Alberta and got my BA in English Literature and Creative Writing. I also started working at Theatre Network during my second year of uni, which really boosted my theatre education on so many levels. I founded my theatre company, Cowardly Kiss, that same year and decided to apply for the 2007 Fringe. Between 2007 and 2009, I wrote, produced, and directed four successful plays at the Edmonton Fringe: B, or, Unless You Steal Her Pen! (2007), Sylvie (2008), She Came From Planet X! (2009), and 00:00AM (Zero Ante Meridiem) (2009). In the Autumn of 2009, I moved to Glasgow, Scotland, to pursue my Master's in Playwriting and Dramaturgy at the University of Glasgow. Since returning to Edmonton, I've really expanded Cowardly Kiss: I produced my Master's thesis, BUNBURYING, this past Spring, as well as an experimental Fringe play, (Real) Gone (Girl), and now I'm embarking on producing Cowardly Kiss' inaugural season, which begins on November 4 with Night Time!

What do you see for the future for Cowardly Kiss? I have lots of plans to continue expanding Cowardly Kiss. We have our season, of course, which is comprised of four plays: Night Time (November 2011), The Maids (April 2012), A System of Pulleys (Summer 2012), and Happy Homes, Perfect Children (Summer 2012). We'll soon be branching out to include a bit of short film work - I have a couple of web series in the works, which I'm hoping to start production on soon. Cowardly Kiss will also be offering freelance dramaturgy very soon, from our two resident dramaturgs: myself and Margaret McCall. (Keep an eye on our website for further info.) In the meantime, I'm also nearly ready to introduce something that has been in the works for the last two years: the children's branch of the company. But that's all I'm going to say for now - more soon, I promise!

Which brings us to Night Time... I couldn't find any information in English on the piece - where did you come across it? Well, not much has been written about Night Time, save for a few reviews of the original production, because it's only been produced once in the past. I'm guessing that what you did find was probably written in Selma's native Croatian! Night Time premiered at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe at the Traverse, Scotland's new work theatre. Selma (the playwright) was one my two playwriting mentors at the University of Glasgow. The other was Philip Howard, who was the AD at Traverse for over a decade, so I was extra attached to the play while I was at school. After working with Selma, I really wanted to read something she had written, and I wasn't disappointed.

Why this piece for your company? For Edmonton Audiences? Night Time is such a quiet, beautifully written script. Upon first reading, the story seems simple, almost uneventful, but with an uneasiness looming over every word. The more you read it, the more you uncover about what's really going on, the more complicated it becomes, and the more eerie and haunting the characters become. I chose to put it in the inaugural Cowardly Kiss season for a few reasons: first, it's a script I love and it's a challenge to stage; second, the core of its story is one that audiences from anywhere in the world can identify with; and third, I really wanted to bring something from Glasgow home with me, and even better that it would be a play no one has ever heard of before. I learned so much while studying in Europe, but one of the most striking things I learned was just how many incredibly talented playwrights there are whom we have never heard of in Canada (and vice versa, which is why I forced everyone I spoke to to read some Daniel MacIvor)!

Tell us about the people you are working with. Who have you cast and who rounds out your production team? I'm lucky to be working with an amazing cast and crew! The cast is comprised of Nicole Schafenacker (CHRIS), Brennan Campbell (FRANK), Patrick Errington (THOMAS), and Cody Porter (BOWMAN). Ainsley Hillyard has brought her astonishing choreography to the piece, which was not an element of the original production, but which fits so beautifully with the sparingly written script. And last, but not least, Trent Crosby is our fab stage manager.

Where can people go to get more information on the show and purchasing tickets? The Cowardly Kiss website is always up to date with the latest - www.cowardlykiss.com! You can also find information on the Catalyst Theatre website, which is where the show is being produced - www.catalysttheatre.ca - and you can purchase advance tickets through Tix on the Square - www.tixonthesquare.ca!

Is there any other things that you want people to know about the show? It's such a fascinating piece - even among our cast, we had several different interpretations of the story, so I'm very excited to see how each audience member interprets it. I'd love to warn everyone now that it's 90 minutes long without an intermission, so pee when you get there! (I want you to have the opportunity to be first in line for the bathrooms.) We're actually fully booked for volunteers (yay!), but stay tuned to our website and Facebook page - we have an IndieGoGo campaign coming up to raise funds for the next show of the season, Jean Genet's The Maids!

Thanks so much Andrea. I am looking forward to seeing this show and the other work that you will be bringing to Edmonton this season!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Snow Globe Festival - Filling the need for Quality Children's Theatre in Edmonton in the Winter Months

Recently I noticed a lot of buzz on Twitter and Facebook about a new theatre festival for children happening this winter. The Festival was called The Snow Globe Festival and was running the week prior to the Christmas holidays in the Avenue Theatre. As a mother of 2 elementary school aged children I have long wished for more theatre programming throughout the year. I get my kids out to the Fringe and have occasionally been able to take them to productions at FTA, The Citadel and Concrete Theatre, but have always wanted more choices for them. And, as they age, I have discovered that I need more variety and options for them. This Snow Globe Festival seemed right up our alley.

I took a little time to ask the festival's creator, Ellen Chorley, some questions.

What is the Snow Globe Festival? Who does is serve and why did you think it would be a good idea for Edmonton and the 118th Avenue area? The Snow Globe Festival of Children’s Theatre is a new Edmonton Festival created and produced by Promise Productions (an independent TYA company in Edmonton). The festival will take place in Edmonton’s Avenue Theatre and will feature student matinees and evening shows of three full length plays and a musical lobby show over five days-Tuesday, December 20, 2011- Saturday, December 24, 2011.

I wanted to a do a festival in the 118th Avenue area because it was really important to me to create both affecting and affordable theatre. I noticed that there a lot of awesome events that happen in Edmonton right before Christmas, but most of them seem to be pretty expensive. The Snow Globe Festival offers affordable tickets so the whole family can attend. It is also is in line with the Arts on the Ave Initiative: "We Believe in 118"- where arts and family oriented events are important. 118th Ave is a great neighbourhood full of people who believe it can be a safe, vibrant area. I wanted to give families and schools in the area a really, fun, affordable festival for the holidays!

Finally, the Snow Globe Festival allows my company Promise Productions, to branch out to producing scripts with bigger casts and production values, as well as take care of 32 artists over four different projects. It's a big challenge and I felt like I was up for it!

Tell us about yourself. Who is Ellen Chorley and what is her background in theatre? In children's theatre? My name is Ellen Elizabeth Chorley and I am a workaholic obsessed with creating theatre.

Indeed she is. Here is an excerpt from her Bio:

Ellen Chorley is the Founder and Artistic Director of Promise Productions and the Festival Producer of the Snow Globe Festival of Children's Theatre. For Promise Productions, Ellen has written, produced and performed in: Cinderella the Wizard (Edmonton/ Athabasca/ Calgary Fringe 2007), The Too Tall Princess (Edmonton Fringe 2008) , The Twelve Dancing Princesses (Edmonton Fringe 2009) and The Tortoise and the Hare (Promise Productions @ FTA 2010) and The Fairy Catcher’s Companion (Edmonton Fringe 2010) as well as writing and producing The Not Evil Stepmother (Edmonton Fringe 2011).

Ellen has written many plays for young audiences including Lost and Fever Pitch (Evergreen Theatre), Mixed Up (co-written with three other writers for Centre Stage Theatre), The Heights of Love (Calgary’s Heritage Park) and two original high school plays The Albright Pact (Central Memorial High School) and Highlands at One Hundred (Eastglen High School).

Along with her work with Promise Productions, Ellen also serves as Artistic Associate for Edmonton's Northern Light Theatre, and between 2005-2010 worked with the Calgary emerging theatre company Mob Hit Productions as Head of Research and Development/ Playwright in Residence. Ellen also is a co-founder of Edmonton’s new theatre burlesque company Send in the Girls Burlesque.

Ellen has worked for the past twelve years as a drama teacher- starting her career as a teaching assistant at Edmonton’s Stage Polaris Academy for the Arts, Foote Theatre School at the Citadel Theatre and Theatre Zocalo. Now, Ellen teaches drama to all ages as a teacher at the Foote Theatre School, as a guest artist for the City of Edmonton, the City of St. Albert, and the City of Fort Saskatchewan, and as an artistic residence leader for Centre Stage Theatre (Calgary), Alberta Opera, and her own theatre company Promise Productions. In the fall semesters of 2009 and 2010, Ellen lead long term drama residencies in high school in Calgary’s Central Memorial High School for the Performing Arts (2009) and Edmonton’s Eastglen High School (2010). In each of these residencies, Ellen wrote and directed full length and tailor made plays for the students she worked with.

Ellen was nominated for the Emerging Artist Award at the Edmonton Mayor’s Evening for the Arts in 2008 and is the recipient of the 2011 Enbridge Nextfest Emerging Artist Award and Ellen was nominated for a 2011 Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding Fringe New Work (Award to Playwright) for her script The Fairy Catcher’s Companion. At the Edmonton Fringe 2011, Send in the Girls Burlesque received the first ever Staff Choice Award for their production of Tudor Queens: A Burlesque.

You've written, directed and performed in Children's theatre quite a bit. What draws you to that particular form? When I was six, I told my mother I wanted to be princess when I grew up. Then when I was twelve, I told my mother I wanted to be writer on broadway. Then when I was sixteen I told my mother I wanted to go to theatre school and become and actor. Doing children's theatre has allowed me to do all three.

What are the shows? What should audiences expect to see? Are there any specific age recommendations for the individual shows?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, adapted by Joseph Robinette When four children- Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are shipped off to country estate to escape wartime London, they stumble upon a magical land in a wardrobe called Narnia. Narnia is ruled by an evil white witch who makes it so it is always winter and never Christmas. What Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy don’t know is that their arrival in Narnia aligns with an ancient prophesy calling for the end of the White Witch’s rule and the return of the King Aslan. This story of love, faith, courage and giving, with its triumph of good over evil, is a true celebration of life. Target Age Group: 5-14 years old

The Fairy Catcher’s Companion by Ellen Chorley
Back by popular demand! After a sold out run at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Promise Productions remounts their 2010, Sterling award nominated hit The Fairy Catcher’s Companion. The Starling Sisters have been waiting for their father to return home from war, but after two years without a letter, they are beginning to worry. Finally, an official typewritten letter arrives imploring Charlotte and Beatrice’s mother to travel to collect their father. Beatrice and Charlotte are shipped off to live with their stern Aunt Bernadette at Prince Manor- a dark, drafty countryside manor. Charlotte and Beatrice are at their wits end waiting to leave Prince Manor, until they find a peculiar-looking book called “The Fairy Catcher’s Companion” and use it to catch a real-life fairy named Fusser. But could having a fairy friend be more trouble than it’s worth? Target Age Group: 7-12 years old


Miss Electricity by Kathryn Walat


An electrifying, educational and entertaining comedy for all ages! Violet is a normal fifth grader who would much rather be breaking a world record than studying for her geography test. But when the world record attempt goes array, Violet walks home in the rain feeling sorry for herself, only to be hit by lightning, not once but twice! Now Violet isn’t a normal fifth grader anymore, she’s Miss Electricity- a super hero who can control electricity with her thoughts. An off the wall comedy with a great anti-bullying message about finding strength in yourself!Target Age Group: 4-12 years old



The Holiday Half-Time Show Baby, it’s cold outside! So stay inside the Avenue Theatre and let Holiday Half-Time Singers keep you warm and entertained. Enjoy your favourite winter songs before and after every performance at the Snow Globe Festival of Children’s Theatre, and you’ll be back in your seat for another show in no time at all. With voices sweeter than sugar plums, tunes toastier than hot toddies, and music merrier than mistletoe, who could ask for a better way to get ready for the holidays? (Evenings only) Target Age Group: All ages



What can parents tell their children before bringing them to the shows? Are there any special etiquette that they should be aware of? I think it's so great for parents to talk to their children about theatre etiquette! I would say the things to cover are:


- there there are any scary parts, it's just an actor, so don't worry! (and in fact usually the actor on stage playing a scary character also plays a good guy too!)


- make sure you go the bathroom before hand


- unlike watching a movie, watching a play means that actors can see and hear you! so to make the play enjoyable for everyone, try to keep quiet during the show, that doesn't mean that you can react to the play, but it does mean that you probably shouldn't shout "hey look behind you" to an actor on stage



Tell us a little about how people can support the festival. Is it more than just attending? Are there volunteer opportunities? Is there a way for people who want to see a Festival like this succeed to help out?



We need any support you can offer, especially since The Snow Globe Festival is NOT being funded by grants or government funding bodies like AFA or EAC this year.



First of all, anyone can donate to the festival though out IndieGoGo fundraising campaign at http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.indiegogo.com%2FThe-Snow-Globe-Festival-of-Childrens-Theatre&h=dAQEopa5AAQHCGsr8Fz-6fmhIo0zbpejNJPB64Cuz6fIT7A any donations made through this campaign will go directly to the 32 artists working on the shows!



Secondly, you can support us by buying tickets at Tix on the Sqaure by clicking http://www.tixonthesquare.ca/event/subscription/detail/134/ You can buy passes to the festival or singular tickets.




Third, we will be needing volunteer ushers and box office people, so if you are interested in volunteering check our website at http://www.promiseproductionstheatre.com/ or our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ellen.chorley#!/pages/Promise-Productions/134007796617404


Finally, we still have a few student matinees left to fill, so if you think your child's school might like to see one of the shows, you can talk to you principal and have them visit my website http://www.promiseproductionstheatre.com/


Thanks so much Ellen, for answering all my questions. This sounds like a wonderful way to spend time with our kids over the holiday season. I know I am glad to have the option and will be taking my kids!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Great Opportunity for Edmonton Playwrights of All Levels...

Alberta Playwrights’ Network is proud to announce the start of the:

Edmonton Playwrights’ Gym

Want a creative workout? Want to kick-start for a new project? Or maybe you’d like to take a chance and try some new approaches to your writing process? Playwrights’ Gym is unique opportunity for playwrights to exercise their crafts via a series of in-class and take-home writing exercises, weekly discussions and sessions with senior Canadian playwrights and dramaturgs. Topics and writing assignments will give participants creative workouts in crafting dialogue, building characters, using structure, driving dramatic action, unlocking intuition and editing.
There will be homework each week, sharing, and timed exercises in each class. Playwrights are encouraged to work on a new short piece or use the class to enhance something they are already working on, but this is not necessary. Playwrights at all levels as invited to participate.

Classes will be convened by Director/ Dramaturg Heather Inglis with special guests, Daniel McIvor, Colleen Murphy, Mieko Ouchi, and Brian Dooley. See below for more information on the special guests.

When: Classes will be held Mondays 7-10pm
Where: All classes will be held in the Workshop West Theatre’s 3rd Space*.
Fee: $250.00


Course dates are:
1. November 14th, 2011
2. November 21st, 2011
3. November 28th, 2011
4. December 5th, 2011
5. December 12th, 2011
6. January 9th, 2012
7. January 16th, 2012
8. January 23rd, 2012
9. January 30th, 2012
10. February 6th, 2012


Participants will be given a complete syllabus at the start of the first class.
Please note: The maximum number of participants for this class is 10, so register now to avoid disappointment!


For more information or to register, please email Michelle Kneale at dramaturg@albertaplaywrights.com <mailto:dramaturg@albertaplaywrights.com>
*APN gratefully acknowledges the support of Workshop West Theatre for this program.






Heather Inglis is an award winning director, dramaturg, producer, and educator whose career has taken her across the country. Over the past 15 years Heather has worked with countless playwrights and lead over 100 play development workshops and staged readings. Heather has formerly been both the Dramaturg at Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre and the convener of the Playwrights Development Centers of Canada. Some of Heather’s recent dramaturgical credits include serving as guest Dramaturg/Director for Scripts at Work in Red Deer (2011) and as guest Dramaturg at Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre’s Annual Playwrights Colony in Sackville New Brunswick (2011). Heather currently leads the Citadel Theatre Playwrights Young Company and is the Artistic Director of Theatre Yes in Edmonton.



Daniel MacIvor is playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. For 20 years, he and Sherrie Johnson ran da da kamera, an internationally respected company that toured his work to Australia, Israel, Europe, the UK, and extensively throughout Canada and the United States. With Daniel Brooks, he has created the solo shows House, Here Lies Henry, Monster, Cul-de-sac, and This Is What Happens Next. Daniel’s play In On It garnered him an Obie Award and a GLAAD Award. Daniel is a recipient of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama and the Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize for Theatre. www.danielmacivor.com


Colleen Murphy is the 2011 Canadian Playwright-in-Residence at the Finborough Theatre in London. In 2008, she was shortlisted for the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre. She is currently working on four plays: Deliver Me (National Arts Centre), Armstrong's War (Banff Centre), The Birthday Boy (Shaw Festival) and Pig Girl (Factory Theatre). She has also begun work on a new chamber opera with composer Andrew Staniland. Her play The December Man (L’homme de décembre) won the 2007 Governor General Literary Award for Drama Winner of 2008 CAA/Carol Bolt Award for Drama, the Canadian Authors Award/Carol Bolt Award, the 2006 Enbridge playRites Award and was nominated for Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play 2007. Other plays include The Goodnight Bird, The Piper, Beating Heart Cadaver (nominated for the 1999 Governor General’s Literary Award), Down in Adoration Falling and All Other Destinations are Cancelled. As well as being a playwright, Colleen is also a filmmaker. Her distinct films have played in festivals around the world and garnered a total of eight Genie nominations. They include Putty Worm (’93), The Feeler (’95), Shoemaker (’96), Desire (’00), War Holes (’01), Girl with Dog (‘04) and Out in the Cold (’07). Colleen is 2011 Writer in Residence at the University of Guelph and a writer in residence at Factory Theatre in Toronto.

Mieko Ouchi
is an actor, writer, and director who works in both theatre and film/TV. Her plays The Red Priest (Eight Ways To Say Goodbye), The Blue Light and The Dada Play have been produced across the country and in the U.S. and have been short-listed for the 4 Play Series at The Old Vic in London, the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award and the City of Edmonton Book Prize, winning the Canadian Authors Association Carol Bolt Award. The plays have also been translated into French, Japanese, Czech and Russian. Her documentary, narrative and experimental films have played over 30 festivals and aired internationally. Mieko is a co-founder and Artistic Co-Director of Concrete Theatre and was the inaugural Faith Broome Playwright in Residence in 2009 at the University of Oklahoma. Mieko’s new play Nisei Blue premiered at ATP playRites Festival in 2011. It recently won a Betty Award for Outstanding New Play and has just been nominated for the 2011 Carol Bolt Award.

Brian Dooley
is a Producer, Director, Dramaturg, and Actor. Mr. Dooley has participated in many workshops and development projects for new plays for a variety of organizations including Playwrights Workshop Montréal; Factory Theatre in Toronto; The Banff Playwright’s Colony; The National Film Board; and Le Centre des Auteurs Dramatiques (CEAD) in Montréal.Early in his career Mr. Dooley was Associate Dramaturge and Director of the Young Playwrights Program at the Playwrights Workshop and has been a guest instructor at various colleges and universities across Canada. Mr. Dooley maintains a long-standing relationship with the National Theatre School in Montréal having been involved as an instructor and coordinator for many years. From 1990-94 Mr. Dooley led the Directing and Self-Start Programs of the National Theatre School and was an Acting Instructor from 1983-94. Mr. Dooley has a diploma from the National Theatre School (’80; Leo Cicery Award recipient), and is a graduate of Bishop’s University (B.A. Honours, Drama ’77; O.B. Thornton Scholarship recipient). He is currently the director of Play Development at the Citadel Theatre.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Busy Week - then I get serious about writing!!!!

This Friday I will be onstage for the Drama 483 scene I am in. I am enjoying the people I am working with and my director is positive and organized. We run too much, but that's my knees talking. Oliver has an additional basketball practice tonight to help get the team in better shape before Saturday's game. I have dress rehearsal for my midterm Drama 257 presentation tomorrow and I have to get a handle on it. I am doing it okay, but I want to be far more 'in' than I feel. I also have this tiny monologue that is kicking my butt for some bizarre reason. Once this week is over I shall have some breathing room. Hopefully I will no longer be sick (it's hanging on - grrr) and I will get to writing.

At least that's the plan. In the view of my lack of focus recently I am trying to figure out where I want to go. If I am honest with myself it is the writing. However, I do enjoy the acting and directing, as well, and feel that those things enrich my writing, but the time they take interferes. I might have to scale back. I cannot just NOT do the Mom stuff and the Store stuff because the kids would suffer and we have to pay the bills, so the areas I need to cut back on are in acting. I am committed to, and excited about Nine, so I will be ready for that, but I will work hard to ignore other offers until then. I will also think carefully about what I want to do in terms of writing workshops. I want to do this intentionally, with purpose and quality. I cannot do it on the fly or in tiny bits and pieces. It might be time to think about applying for grants...

Monday, October 17, 2011

What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?

The last few weeks have felt very strange to me. I have been sick, that hasn't helped, but I have also been in a weird kind of funk about what my focus is right now. Because the last two years I had a purpose and artistic vision through Walterdale, now that my term as AD is complete I am realizing I need to find that same kind of purpose for my own life, but I am not sure how. I know I need to really focus on my writing, but I am not spending the time I should on that. There are other personal things I need to be doing with regards to my health, but I am not spending the time I should on that, either (being sick has not helped there). I feel stretched thin with my kids - trying to encourage them and help them and get them to practices and the like, but I feel like I am not doing that well. I must admit a bit of regret for the basketball because its irregularity upsets my sense of planning and scheduling, but I see it's potential for good things for both my boys. I do regret that I haven't found a way to fit in piano yet...

I know I need to sit down with myself and figure this out. A few more weeks feeling like this and I am going to lose it. I am looking forward to Playworks Ink and hoping that weekend time will provide some clarity for me. I even bought a few more colours of highlighters to help me organize my day timer in case that is what I need. I am worried, because there have been a few opportunities come my way that I had to pass on because they didn't feel right, but I worry that I will stop getting offers if I keep saying no. On the one hand, I do not want to be volunteering my time for something I do not want to do 100%, but on the other hand I do not want to miss out on fabulous experiences. I wish I could just roll a die and make my choices that way...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Theatre as Writing Workshop

Tonight I took in Michel and Ti-Jean at Theatre Network. It was a very well-executed production of George Rideout's play with a gorgeous set, pitch-perfect soundscape and phenomenal acting. The script itself doesn't follow a traditional arc - it's an imaginary meeting between Michel Tremblay and Jack Kerouac - but instead becomes a very cool formula for a lesson in storytelling. I have to recommend this for any writer. I have to. It still has my brain buzzing with ideas about storytelling and character. There's more to it than that. The analysis of Les Belles Souers is the absolute best and should be required viewing for anyone taking a Canadian theatre course. Brian Dooley as Kerouac and Vincent Hoss-Demarais as Tremblay are exceptional actors and have true chemistry together onstage.



I feel lucky to live in this city. I have seen so much good theatre this season and it is only the second week of October!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thinking about the Ugly in people...

Last night I went to the Opening Night of Reasons to be Pretty by Neil LaBute at Walterdale Theatre. Overall the show was done as you should do any LaBute show - out there, unapologetic and not hiding the ugly side of human nature, but this is not a review. This is more a discussion of the content of the play and other works by LaBute. This is the second LaBute show I have seen - the other one was a poorly directed, but generally well-acted production of The Shape of Things that I saw a few years ago. I really have a hard time with his work. I know there are people who love his stuff. They love delving into the more despicable aspects of human nature. I just have a hard time with it all. I always leave thinking 'are people really like that?' I hope not. I know there are people out there who have baser, more selfish, and more superficial reasons for doing what they do, but I guess I have a hard time going through life thinking about people that way. I try to be positive and honest and think the best about people's intentions. I'd like to think that most people do too. Maybe I am wrong. That's okay. But if those kind of people are around me they do not stay there for long.

I'd like to think that LaBute writes these plays to reinforce the idea that those people who are ugly of nature should not be rewarded. That we should shun them and call them on their behaviour. That both people in a conversation are responsible for communication. That we should be striving NOT to be those kinds of people. I'd like to think that. I hope he isn't just saying that's just the way people are, get used to it and don't be a chump or you lose. Sometimes I worry that is what people take away from his plays.

Go see the show - tell me what you think he's trying to say.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Making Connections...

One of the things that I loved about being the AD at Walterdale was that I often got requests from people to help them find someone for their project. Walterdale has a diverse membership and often has people of ages and demographics that are useful. I liked searching through the membership and connecting the right people to the right opportunity. Sometimes this took a bit of time, but usually if someone explained what they needed I could think of a few people to suggest to them. Despite no longer having that position, I was pleased this week to be able to continue with that and I think I might have connected a very talented person that I met through Walterdale with a fabulous opportunity (maybe even two opportunities). This is exciting for me. I like getting talented people to the right places. It was a good thing. I hope I can continue to do things like this!

In other connections news, today I met with the Playwright and Dramaturge that I will be working with for New Works at the University of Alberta. I was happy to get assigned The Playmates by Bevin Dooley for New Works and the Dramaturge is fellow student Hans Potter. We had a good first meeting where we discussed roles and communication pathways and, of course, Bevin's wonderfully mood-filled script. I am excited about this. Bevin and Hans seem very invested in creating good theatre and I think this will be a good team to work with.

Another connection happened this weekend. I was at the Uni waiting for my first Drama 483 rehearsal and I ran into someone who recommended I audition for Romeo & Juliet. I hemmed and hawed, knowing full well my schedule is pretty yucky, but I decided to do the audition anyhow. I auditioned yesterday and had a fabulous time. I don't know if I will get it (again, my schedule sucks), but I had such a great time working in the audition with the Director, Jessica Carmichael. It was like a mini acting workshop. I would love to be able to work with her. It washed away my bad feeling about my last audition when I was so unprepared. I was nice to feel like I still got it. Either way it goes, I was happy to have had the experience of the audition.