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Monday, May 28, 2012

JTMF West - Artists For Life

I had a great time for a great cause on Saturday Night.  JTMF West held it's 3rd Annual Artists for Life event at the Catalyst Theatre.  The theme was divas and the entertainment was fabulous.  We were treated to musical sets from Lindsay Walker, Lesley Pelletier and The Fab Tiff Hall; Send in the Girls showed us pretty much everything with their sizzling burlesque routines; Three lovely ladies from Rapid Fire Theatre made it on the spot with some improv; and we ended the evening with a whole lotta dancing to the Bridget Ryan Hare Band Experience.  Best of all, the charity raised a lot of money for HIV Edmonton and Camp Fyrefly.  So great to have such a fun evening helping people!

* This marks #23 in my 2012 theatrical goal - I count it because of the kinds of things I saw and I was in a theatre!

Walterdale - Season Launch!

Last Wednesday Walterdale held it's season launch.  You can check out the new season here at my Walterdale Blog.  I was happy to participate, but little did I know that I was being recorded.  Here is the link to the clip of me singing the title song from next year's musical Anything Goes as posted on Sound and Noise.  It's not a bad recording considering I was not mic'd.  I feel okay about it to post it here!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Check out some Dramaworks...

Every second summer Theatre Alberta puts on Dramaworks in Edmonton.  The workshops offered are in different areas of dramatic discipline and cater to people at a variety of levels in their theatre career.  There are workshops targeted to the beginner, the enthusiast, the teacher, the intermediate and the professional.  I will be participating in Dramaworks this summer - taking a course from Vern Thiessen in Playwriting - and I encourage you to take one as well.  I believe there are some sessions that are already full, but there are others that have space.  Check it out.

For those of you who are musical theatre performers, this is one I highly recommend: Kim Mattice Wanat's Unleashing the Expressive Voice.   I was fortunate enough to take a workshop with Kim a few years ago and as a singer/performer I found it very valuable.  The instruction had some general components, but it also addressed specific issues of each of the participants.  I found that it released me some from very bad habits and gave me a confidence I never knew I had.

I think that Theatre Alberta and their programs like Dramaworks and Playworks Ink and Artstrek do a phenomenal job of providing ongoing training for every level of theatre artist in Alberta.  Check it out.  I was glad I did many, many years ago! I hope to see you there.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sound of Music Sing-A-Long!

In a previous post I said that the Citadel should really do a sing-a-long night for their production of The Sound of Music and lo and behold THEY ARE! I am very excited about this!  It's this Sunday evening (May 27th) at 7:30 p.m.  and they close out the run with it.  What a fabulous idea and what a great way to end the season!  I hope to see you there singing your heart out!

New Work at Walterdale - From Cradle to Stage 2012...

This past Saturday and Sunday I checked out the work being presented at Walterdale Theatre for their annual new One Act Festival, From Cradle to Stage.  It is the first year in a while that I have not been involved in the Festival as I had hoped to submit and then didn't and then with Nine on my plate on one end and my University work on my plate on the other end I didn't have time to contribute in another way.  The Festival holds a special place in my heart, as it is one of the few ways that 'late emerging' playwrights can get their work produced.  The formalized system in place to work with dramaturges (Tracy Carroll and Brian Dooley) has also meant that those playwrights selected for production can get real, concrete help with developing their work. It's a fabulous experience (I went through it a few years ago when I submitted Pieces in 2007) and for someone over 30 who doesn't qualify for Nextfest or who might not be ready to self-produce at Fringe, it fills a gap in the development process.

The two produced shows were quite different from each other, as is often the case. The first, Apocalypse, Saskatchewan by Dion Huel, was a funny piece about three elderly men in a small Saskatchewan town who get carried away with the idea that Zombies are attacking. There were many laughs, and although I feel the piece as written was actually a two-act play (it ran at about 95 minutes) it was well-received.  The second, The Carrying by Jennifer Robinson, was a fascinating pieces about two women carrying mysterious bags to an unknown location.  An somewhat abstract piece with movement and intentional repetition, it was well-directed and performed and it was one of those plays that you think a lot about afterwards. I quite liked it.

On the Sunday afternoon, the festival wrapped up with readings of the four other finalists.  There were 6 finalists selected from a pool of 37 entries.  The afternoon demonstrated the wide variety of the submitted plays.  Ostensibly staged readings there was also a wide range in the degree of the staged component.  The four plays ranged from being pieces about relationships (The Loneliest Number and Magpies) to a  modern fable about abuse begetting abuse (Poor Defenseless Creatures) to an historical piece (Mary!).  All in all, they were four works in development that will be interesting to watch for in the future.

* These two events mark #21 and #22 in my theatrical goal for the year 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

I'm On The Top of the World...

This weekend I travelled to Jasper with AM for a lovely weekend of rest and wine and lots of talking about the stuff of life.  It was delightful.  AM had won a wonderful prize at last year's JTMF Artist's For Life fundraiser for 2 nights at the Jasper Park Lodge (along with some other perks - it was a really great prize and is available for winning this year!). I was fortunate to be able to join her on the adventure.  We had enough discussions on the ride and at the Lodge about FinallySauces to make our plans for the company for the next year. We saw Elk and Deer and Sheep and Coyotes and Canada Geese galore.  We took lots of pictures of the beautiful mountains. We sang along to the piano during dinner and were applauded by a table of Australians that we did not know were listening.  We drank wine and ate fabulous food.  We walked and shopped and napped and read. I got my hair cut and love it.  I drove there and back and we talked... lots.  It was wonderful.  There was something about the air, something about the mountains,  something about running into a pair of Elk on the way home after a gourmet dinner, something about the staff who addressed AM as milady as he brought in our luggage... there was something wonderful about the whole weekend...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Road is Scary Sometimes...

I spend more time than I would like driving in the city.  With our store being in the McKernan area and us living in the North end and with the kids going to French Immersion school and with me rehearsing all over the place, I am in the car a lot.  I don't love it.  I have never loved driving.  It is one of those necessary things in my life. I am also an obsessive rule follower.  In certain areas I think the rules help keep us all safe.  Certainly on the roads of Edmonton this is true.  So, it is particularly frustrating and scary for me when I find I am sharing the road with all sorts of rule-breakers.  Yesterday, I might have killed someone because they weren't following the rules of the road.  They were in the outside-right hand lane in the traffic circle North of Westmount.  I was in the inside-left hand lane.  The only option for them was to go straight - it's very clearly posted.  I had the option of going straight or pulling into one of three different left hand turn lanes. I was intending to turn into the furthest one forward, however, out of the corner of my eye I sense the car to my right shifting into the same lane.  The rules do not give this car that option.  She also did not put on the signal light indicating she was turning.  If I had not sensed the movement of her vehicle I would have hit her.  If I had intended to go straight, I would have t-boned her.  Luckily I was slowing down for the turn.  Luckily I saw the shift in her path.  I honked and waved in frustration.  She gave me the finger. We rolled down our windows and yelled at each other.  I yelled "You just about got yourself killed! What you did was illegal!" - my child in the back seat prevented me from yelling worse things.  She was not so restrained as she yelled something to the effect of "You should be watching where you're @#%@ing going!".  She's lucky I was. I have been so angry about this. About the what-ifs.  What if I had killed her? I'd have to live with that - even though it would have been her fault. It's like the pedestrians around the University who dash into the road during the countdown.  I am not going to be surprised if one of them gets killed - I am more surprised no one has been already.  Too many people, be they drivers or pedestrians or cyclists, rely on other people to keep them safe while they do not follow the rules of the road.  I am exhausted keeping watch out for them...

Oh, and to that woman in the Citadel Parkade who cut into the line of people who had been waiting to get out for over ten minutes after being in her car for less than a minute - Karma will get you... I'm hoping for some sort of disease that cuts you down in your prime...

Man, I hate driving....

Saturday, May 05, 2012

More Daniel MacIvor for a Certified Fan - In On It at Theatre Network!

I caught Opening Night of In On It at Theatre Network on Thursday night.  I am a true MacIvor fan so this is written with prejudice.  I really, really, really, really liked this play and production.  A deftly written and well-performed two hander, directed by Bradley Moss and starring Frank Zotter and Nathan Cuckow, it was full on laughs and little magic moments and sadness.  As a playwright, I came away with so many ideas about how to put together a narrative which features many more than two characters but is performed by only two.  As a director, I saw possibility for shifting staging out of realism using lighting and sound and only 2 chairs in a simple black box. I was impressed by it's fluidity and it's humour and the way these two guys switched from character to character, from now to 'the play', to the past, to the present.  It wasn't easy to follow all the time.  I don't think it's supposed to be.  You get the information in non-sequential bits and pieces, so you have to put it together.  My friend who was with me said that she sometimes had trouble figuring out where and when and who they were, however, based on her follow-up statement, I don't think that's a bad thing, because she said she wanted to go see it again to figure it out.  She wanted to be 'in on it' from the beginning.  Can't be a bad thing if you want to go see it again, can it?

By the way, the theatre was absolutely packed - I would suggest getting your tickets earlier rather than later.  It's one to see!

* In On It marks #20 in my 2012 theatre goal - halfway there and it's only May!